When was the last time we got a Hulk movie where he was the star? That would be back in 2008 with Edward Norton as Bruce Banner and Liv Tyler as his famous love interest Betty Ross. His movie was meant to be the second installment to kick off the Marvel Cinematic Universe after Robert Downey Jr. and Jon Favreau started that very beautiful fire with Iron Man earlier that May. It didn’t exactly receive the same positive reception that Iron Man got, but people saw it and a good amount really enjoyed it. I mean, it had Edward Norton as the lead, who perfectly resembled Bruce Banner. Aside from him, it also gave us William Hurt as his arch-enemy, General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross. Boy, talk about some perfect casting. I know all of you have probably forgotten about it by now, but remember when Ang Lee made a Hulk movie back in 2003? You probably don’t because it wasn’t very good. In fact, it wasn’t too good at all. He managed to bag a talented cast with the likes of Eric Bana as Bruce Banner, Jennifer Connolly as Betty Brant, and Sam Elliot as Thunderbolt Ross, but he fell pretty short with the story and script. When I say short, I really mean short. Imagine you’re watching a Hulk movie and you’re waiting for him to duke it out with someone very big and very strong. What did Ang Lee give us? Three mutant dogs infected with too much gamma radiation.
Okay, we can get past that, but who was the main villain? You can argue that it was Thunderbolt Ross, but the real main antagonist was Bruce’s father, David Banner. So their first step was to cast Nick Nolte, which was a good idea. The thing is, he wasn’t much of a supervillain. By the end of that Hulk movie, he turned into a rather uninteresting version of the Absorbing Man. He got into a big fight with his son in the end and he literally blew himself up from absorbing all of his powers. It was not a good fight, because frankly, it was too short and we didn’t really see much of the Hulk really being the Hulk. The cast did their best, but the whole story was just very underwhelming. 2008’s The Incredible Hulk with Edward Norton was a big step in the right direction for the character. It didn’t focus too much on his origins and got right into his struggles with being a fugitive. Oh, and that final battle between him and The Abomination? Now that’s what we need to see from our favorite green hero. I can’t wait to see the Abomination once again in the upcoming She-Hulk series on Disney+. Speaking of that, it should also be pointed out that Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner will be appearing. That’s expected, but I’m wondering what his future will be like in the MCU.
Does anyone else ever wonder if we’ll ever get another solo Hulk movie in the MCU? Honestly, it’s kind of hard to consider The Incredible Hulk to be a part of the MCU. Edward Norton was only Bruce Banner for that one movie and then we saw Mark Ruffalo take over in the Avengers. You could buy that those two were connected, but the difference in the actors makes a difference. The only connection we saw with The Incredible Hulk and the rest of the MCU is Thunderbolt Ross in Captain America: Civil War. That’s okay, because we’ll be seeing the Abomination again in She-Hulk. And as for what happens after She-Hulk, some interesting rumors are boiling up about her cousin Bruce. If you’re itching for another solo Hulk movie, we might be getting one. Rumors suggest that after the events of She-Hulk, Bruce Banner will have his own solo movie once again. Guess what storyline Marvel will apparently be adapting? Oh, only his best story ever, World War Hulk. Okay, that’s a lot to take in. Yes, I’m talking about the story where he comes back to Earth after his family on Sakaar dies and he’s on a mission of burning vengeance. You think you’ve seen the Hulk mad? Oh, you ain’t seen nothing until you’ve read World War Hulk.
For the sake of not spoiling anything, I won’t give away too many details. Seriously, just go read it. Yes, it’s that good. I just want to talk about the chances of this supposed movie really happening. Now we need to be real, there’s no definitive source to these rumors. It honestly sounds like a lot of fan speculation, but this does get me hyped. I mean, who the heck doesn’t want a World War Hulk movie? There are, however, a lot of variables to consider for this topic. The elephant in the room is distribution rights. Yes, Universal, not Marvel, still owns those rights to the Hulk. Will Marvel really commit to making a movie they can’t financially benefit from? Probably not, unless they work out some kind of deal with Universal. It’ll take some pulling on some very big strings, but it can happen. The other issue is the size of the World War Hulk story itself. You know how many characters are in that story? Oh, just about everyone.
On the Hulk’s quest for revenge, he’s out for literally everyone and anyone who had even the smallest part in his family’s deaths. The top of that list is the Illuminati, which includes Iron Man, Mr. Fantastic, Doctor Strange, Black Bolt, and Professor Xavier. Once the Hulk arrives to Earth, he takes on literally everyone and the heroes defending Earth go to some extreme and desperate lengths to stop him. It’s a real banger, but that’s because it’s loaded with characters. For a World War Hulk movie to work, it’s got to have a lot of characters. Is the MCU ready for that? Maybe not yet, but it can be in the future. Who can possibly take the place of Iron Man to spearhead the defense of Earth from the Hulk’s invasion? Maybe it’ll be Mr. Fantastic after the Fantastic Four make their debut. There’s a lot to consider, but as of now, I don’t see a World War Hulk movie happening. It certainly can happen and I want it to. Yes, Thor: Ragnarok was the closest we’ll ever get to seeing the Planet Hulk storyline, but I have no doubt Marvel can put their own spin on World War Hulk. And let’s all join in and say, it would be super awesome to see the Hulk actually be the Hulk again. There is no better way to do that than to do World War Hulk.Sam Elliot
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