Well let's get this out of the way very early. Throughout this series, there will be some controversial comments and perspectives so we may as well get the first one out of the way right off the bat... I like 'The Incredible Hulk'.
Inexplicably to me, this film has developed a considerably bad reputation and perhaps ranks fairly low amongst the films on offer within the MCU. But there's genuinely a lot I like about it. I thought Ed Norton did really well in the role - unfortunately due to whatever reasons there were, he was unable to continue as Bruce Banner - but despite his fairly dignified silence regarding the split, he clearly had a vision for the role that contradicted what Marvel had in mind.
There's something about every live action iteration of Hulk which involves him being chased - from the TV series to Ang Lee's 'Hulk' (2003) - and while this film doesn't deviate from that template, there is a lot of firsts that we did get, namely, Hulk in an actual fight. Tim Roth's Emil Blonsky was perfectly played as the past-his-prime marine hungry for the limitless power being wasted by Banner and their final confrontation, with Blonksy having evolved into Abomination, still makes for a great watch today.
While we know that William Hurt's General Ross reemerges in 'Civil War', unfortunately there are a lot of loose ends in the movie including the notable absences of Liv Tyler's Betty Ross and the Tim Blake Nelson's The Leader who have not even warranted a mention in subsequent MCU movies which, bearing in mind we've not had another Hulk movie, I suppose is understandable.
Conversely though, the film does deliver on planting seeds towards MCU's future: the introduction of the super soldier program that Captain America is born of makes its debut by demonstrating its darker characteristics, namely the negative effect it has on Blonsky. And then there's the introduction of Tony Stark at the film's conclusion - the first character within the MCU to cross over into another movie was such a big deal at the time.
His scene ends with the tantalising line of "We're putting a team together" which, in some ways, could be argued as being a little ambiguous. When 'Iron Man' came out, there were rumours that the upcoming Avengers movie was actually to pit Iron Man, Thor and Captain America against the Hulk before, I imagine, ultimately aligning with him. I don't know if that was ever a legitimate plan but it was an intriguing one.
As I say, for me, this is a really good movie and I think a real shame that we've not had a follow-up standalone movie for Hulk. If you're someone who put this in the thumbs down camp, it would definitely be worth an open-minded reviewing as you may have a different perspective this time round.
The 4Ever team...
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