HELLO AND WELCOME BACK to the MCU Countdown. If you read my Iron Man recap, you know that I’ll be recapping the entire MCU every Wednesday until the premier of Avengers; Endgame.
I’m going to start this bad boy with yet another confession – The Incredible Hulk is the one movie in the MCU I had never seen. I don’t think I’m alone on this one. It always seemed like an unconnected story outside of the broader universe. After all, Bruce was recast, and there were little to no references to his solo story other than he “broke Harlem,” and a brief appearance by General Ross.
I’ll admit, in my mind it was hard to slot this movie into what I already know of the bigger story. But, kind of like that sexist uncle you don’t want to admit is part of your family, The Incredible Hulk IS part of the MCU. This is Bruce’s origin story, whether he has the same face or not.
So let’s get to photo-recappin’!
Okay you know what, that opening was cool! I honestly thought we would spend half the movie with Bruce Banner doing science before even meeting the Hulk, but the movie dove right in with an opening montage of all the shit going down within the first five minutes. Well done, Movie! The gist; Bruce was experimenting with gamma radiation and was so confident in his research that he tested it on himself, bingo-bango the Hulk was born, flipped out, and attacked everyone. General Ross was all, “your body is mine!” but not in the fun way, and Bruce was like, “peace out forever.”
And that’s… all you need to know? You can stop reading now (I mean DON’T, but you CAN, is what I’m saying). I can see why this is the least popular of the Marvel movies. Not a lot actually happened, and everything we needed as fans was summarized in a couple of lines in The Avengers. Was the fight with Abomination cool? Sure, a bit. Did we need an hour and half of Bruce being a fugitive? Naw.
Bruce was living in Rio de Janeiro, laying low and getting paid in cash to do manual labour, even though he’s a bonafide genius. Oh, and every once in a while he steps in to save a damsel from sexual harassment.
J/K, this woman didn’t say one word. Not one. But it sure did show what a dreamy hero Bruce is, didn’t it? Oh, and she got a bit of a kiss, so there’s that, too.
Since his life was the stinky pits, Bruce had been diligently working to find a cure for himself, enlisting the aid of a mysterious scientist online who goes by the code name Mr. Blue.
Please no comments saying you don’t understand that joke. It’ll make me feel old.
Mr. Blue sent him a flower to cure him, but it was a bust, so he insisted that Bruce send him a sample of his blood, which he did (I’m sure it’s fine).
Anyway, some of Bruce’s blood got into some soda (gross), and was consumed by someone in the states who immediately got gamma poisoning. This lead General Ross to the factory, and thus to Bruce. Along for the ride was Emil Blonsky, a soldier who loves soldiering so much he doesn’t want to be promoted.
You guys, was Tim Roth a weird choice for this role? I can’t tell. I rather enjoy Tim Roth as an actor, but if someone had said to me, “who would you get to play an aging soldier who loves the fight so hard that he eventually takes a super-serum so he can get the ‘body he had ten years ago’ and continue to fight?” I’m just not sure Tim Roth would have come to mind.
The General and his minions chased Bruce around the city (it was really a very long chase, one might even suggest too long), which culminated in a fight at the bottling factory (because I guess they ran out of sets). Oh, and the douche-bros who Bruce thwarted before came back to make him pay for his stance on feminism, but I’m pretty sure they’re dead now. Anyway, the Hulk won (obvs), and General Ross and Co. packed up and went home.
Blonsky became a total fanboy for the Hulk, so General Ross told him the premise of the movie.
And so Blonsky was given a smaller dose of the experimental Captain America serum. I’m sure it’s fine.
Meanwhile, Bruce made it back to America and was staying in a pizza joint owned by an old pal, when Betty came in with her new beau.
Hahahahahahahahahhaha forever. He needed to lay low and keep his presence a secret, so he goes to the one place he and his old girlfriend used to frequent, and then doesn’t bother to look through the window before barging into a public space. I loved this moment, you guys. I went back and watched it again. The absurdity of it! *contented sigh* Plot contrivances delight me.
Anyway, he tried to get away by walking along the side of a main road. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA IT HURTS, hahaha, stop, OMG, I love it so much. So Betty tracked him down using HER OWN TWO EYES, and they were finally reunited. Where Ty Burrell went is anyone’s guess. What did Betty even tell him? Oh man. I’m having a good time. You guys having a good time?
She took him home with her and it was sweet and awkward because they both so clearly wanted to make out, but they didn’t because it wasn’t far enough into the movie yet. Instead, Betty gave him the data she had saved on a USB from the lab computers, which was very very important. Way to go, Betty!
The morning came and off they went to the train station, but OH NO, the army had been tipped off! Dammit, Ty Burrell!
A very public battle ensued, Blonsky was mortally wounded (or was he?), and a helicopter crashed causing an explosion that killed Betty.
J/K, being engulfed in flame didn’t even singe her hair because she was sheltered by the Hulk (which is… how… fire works?), who took her as a souvenir and vamoosed.
We learn later in the MCU series that Bruce and the Hulk are two separate personalities, so all of the “HULK LOVE BETTY” stuff was pretty jarring. But I did like when Bruce described being the Hulk as an intense acid trip. So some part of Bruce is still in there, not lucid enough to make decisions for the Hulk in any conscious way, but perhaps enough to influence his decisions without realizing it. I can get behind that.
Bruce couldn’t go all the way with Betty because he can’t get his heart rate up too far and wait does this mean BRUCE HASN’T HAD SEX SINCE HE BECAME THE HULK??? Is this still true?? Oh man, this is huge news. I’m so sorry, Bruce. I’m so sorry, Betty and Natasha. I’m just so sorry across the board.
Meanwhile, look who wasn’t dead!
This boy is now obsessed with the Hulk, and wants a rematch, which is totally sane, don’t even worry about it.
Bruce and Betty went to New York to meet with Mr. Blue, who had replicated Bruce’s blood, which he kept in a room like some kind of creepy shrine. On the up side, he had a possible cure to prevent the Hulk from being in any other major motion pictures (good luck, pal).
And it worked! Bruce was about to Hulk out, but they pumped him full of the mystery cure and he shrunk down to a reasonable Ed-Norton-ish size again. Although, Dr. Sterns was pretty unclear whether this was permanent, or just a one-and-done. *wink*
Ross and Blonsky had tracked them down again, and yet another chase occured, which resulted in the capture of Bruce, who didn’t turn into the Hulk, because who even knows if he CAN anymore?? *wink* Oh, and General Ross was all, “if you took it from me, I’m gonna put you in a hole for the rest of your life,” solidifying his role as this movie’s legitimate villain.
The two of them canoodling on a military helicopter like it was their first date, in front of a bunch of soldiers taking them into custody and HER DAD, was very funny to me.
Meanwhile, Blonsky had gone full bonkers now and wanted more power (don’t they all?), so he politely requested that Dr. Sterns level him up with some of Bruce’s blood.
Stern got some Hulk blood on him and his head got all weird, but seeing as there was never a follow-up, and the MCU seems hell-bent on ignoring this movie, we’ll never know what that was about.
Anyway, Blonsky/Abomination rampaged through Harlem, which made the news up in the helicopter. Since the Hulk is the only one who could stop it, Bruce decided to jump out and hope for the best.
Bruce wasn’t sure if he’d transform, which made him panic on the way down, which was a pretty funny moment. I’ll give them that. Then a battle ensued that involved a lot of destruction of public property, Blonsky trash-talking, and the crashing of yet another helicopter.
Betty did a lot of worried watching, which is a main occupation of love-interests throughout history. In the end Hulk won because of his love for Betty (she was in DANGER, he had to SAVE HER!).
And off he went into the sunset, fleeing a world that won’t accept him, and a government who wants to use him.
This ending was weird. Was Bruce… TRYING… to bring out the Hulk? I don’t get it. Did this imply he was trying to control it? Ugh, I don’t know. Maybe it was just a cheap way to tease a sequel that would never be. But it did set up Bruce’s introduction in The Avengers. They stayed true to the end of this movie, rediscovering him where we last saw him, on the run in the middle of nowhere.
Oh, and Tony Stark told Legit Villain General Ross that he and some pals are putting a team together, and by golly it was nice to see him.
And there we go! What did you guys think of this movie? Did you actually see it when it first came out? Be honest.
- I’m not saying that Ed Norton can’t do comedy. In fact, he’s done comedy very well (Death to Smoochy was a masterpiece). But I will say this; the Hulk would have had a very different vibe if Ed had stayed on as Bruce Banner. Mark Ruffalo brings a playful charm to the character that I think we would have missed.
- Bruce accidentally saying “You won’t like me when I’m hungry” in Portuguese was a good bit.
- The fact that Bruce learned to fight has been retconned in the further MCU movies, right? I mean, he OWNED those Brazilian douche-bros, but I just can’t imagine the Bruce we know and love today engaging in fisticuffs.
- The fight at the bottling factory made me feel bad for the nice bottling factory owner. I hope he had insurance!
- The Hulk was slimmer than I’m used to. I guess he began stress eating between movies.
- That one guy on the news saying he looked like a big “Hulk”, and that’s how his name was born. *sigh* Okay, fine.
- I’m sorry, Movie, but if he swallowed that USB stick of data, there’s only one way he’s retrieving it, and it’s not by throwing it up.
- Did Betty ever break up with Ty Burrell, or are they still a thing? Bruce is gone, so I guess what happens when you’re on the run with a literal monster, STAYS on the run with a literal monster.
- Speaking of our girl Betty – she’s a bonafide genius, too, right? Her and Bruce met in Harvard, and she was a part of the sciencey-stuff that turned him into the Hulk? And yet her helpfulness didn’t include her intellect in any way. She helped by soothing him, giving him cash, and staring at him worriedly. A GENIUS.
- Hulk clapping at the fiery helicopter to make the fire go away… sure, fine. But Betty was still engulfed in flame for a couple of seconds. Should we be looking into Betty’s possible superpowers? Girl is impervious to fire. I feel like that deserves more attention.
- I was wondering what happened to Abomination after being defeated, so I looked it up. Apparently he’s frozen in a SHIELD cryo-cell, which was revealed in a throwaway line by Coulson (the love of my life) in Agents of Shield.
- Stan Lee’s cameo as the guy who accidentally drinks some of Bruce’s blood in some Brazilian soda. ❤
OKAY THAT’S IT! See you guys soon for Iron Man 2! Stay safe out there!