After seeing Thor: Ragnarok, I was disappointed and a little frustrated. I love the Hulk and I’m tired of seeing him treated like a sideshow in Marvel’s films.
In Thor: Ragnarok, I was expecting a movie featuring the Hulk and Thor—two long-time rivals—teaming up to save Asgard, with the Hulk getting lots of screen time and destroying and smashing everywhere he goes. I was expecting to see everything we saw him capable of doing in The Incredible Hulk and more, but doing it saving Asgard.
We didn’t get that. We got one good action sequence with him in the arena fighting Thor, a few comedy bits, and then pretty much nothing.
During the climax of the movie, when Thor is putting it all on the line to save his homeland, Hulk isn’t even present. Bruce Banner was flying the ship. As someone who was more excited to see the Hulk than Thor in Thor: Ragnarok, it was disappointing. The Hulk deserves better this. This Hulk fan is tired of seeing his favorite superhero constantly getting the shaft and getting his screen time stolen.
More than HULK SMASH!: Hulk's Abilities And Character
I get the Hulk is not a multi-layered character. I get that he’s pretty much only good at one thing: rampant destruction. But he excels at it. The Hulk may be a single-dimensional character, but that single dimension is done so thoroughly well, it’s a thing of beauty to watch. There’s almost a purity to it.
It’s unfortunate that in two 'Avengers' films, and now in a Thor movie, Marvel has had the opportunities to really showcase the Hulk’s abilities, and has failed to do so. Since the original Hulk movie that released in 2003 was almost completely squandered due to his lack of screen time, The Incredible Hulk has been the only film where we’ve gotten to really see what the Hulk is capable of on a physical, primal level. Every movie he’s appeared in since then, he’s been treated like a sideshow.
How powerful is the Hulk? What feats of raw, primal physicality is he really capable of when he’s put to the test? We got a pretty good taste of it in The Incredible Hulk film, but that was ten years ago. That was the last time the big guy had center stage. And Marvel doesn’t seem that interested in giving it back to him. But something to think about is, when it takes a Norse god to even slow him down, that should be an indicator of the Hulk’s potential. We want to see it.
The Unstoppable Force
The Hulk is the proverbial unstoppable force given corporeal form. The incarnation of an untamable force that is impossibly raw and savage—but not evil. For all of the Hulk’s savagery and raw physicality, he’s good at heart—and sometimes downright compassionate and benevolent. This contrast could be explored in more depth in a future Hulk movie.
Understandably, The Hulk is not as kid-friendly as Marvel’s other characters. Marvel is owned by Disney, and Disney is….Disney. The Hulk is easily the most angry and violent of the Avengers, and Disney could see that as a problem in marketing the movie to a younger audience.
However, Deadpool was a rated-R superhero movie, so making a Hulk movie that is a more on the violent side than you would get in a Captain America or Spider-Man film shouldn’t be a problem. I’m not advocating a rated-R Hulk movie (although that’s not a bad idea), something that toes that line would be appropriate for a good Hulk film.
Granted, The Incredible Hulk in 2008 was a box office disappointment, but considering Disney has given much lesser-known superheroes like Ant-Man and Black Panther their own movies, another proper Hulk movie, if done right, shouldn’t be out of the question.
And also, the original Hulk film in 2003 didn’t do as well as hoped at the box office and DVD either. But considering it came out well before Marvel and the Avengers started dominating at the box office, I don’t see that as an accurate indicator. Plus, the fact that the Hulk barely got screen time in that movie says a lot about how he’s been treated as a character. What does a superhero have to do to get the spotlight?
I don’t imagine Marvel is lacking for ideas for the Hulk, but here’s what I would like to see from future Hulk films.
Bring back The Abomination.
After literally almost having his head ripped off his shoulders by the Hulk in the last movie, the Abomination will be seeking vengeance. In The Incredible Hulk, he was jealous of the Hulk’s raw power and strength, believing he was more deserving of the Hulk’s abilities than the Hulk was. Now with Hulk’s newfound fame thanks to his time with the Avengers, the Abomination will be even more hell-bent on taking the Hulk down for good. The Hulk vs. The Abomination, Part II.
New Villain: The Leader
Generally agreed to be the Hulk’s number one arch-villain in the graphic novels, where the Hulk is all brawn, The Leader is all brains. In The Incredible Hulk, we see the creation of The Leader in Samuel Sterns, who is a friend of Bruce Banner. When Banner’s irradiated blood drips into his head wound, he begins to transform into something superhuman. This was an obvious setup for the next Hulk movie, but it hasn't happened.
Portray The Hulk as a superhero like the other Avengers.
He’s big, he’s strong, he's green, and he’s very angry, I get that. But that’s about all Marvel has done with Hulk’s character and personality up to this point. And I’m not talking about Bruce Banner either. I’m talking about the Hulk himself.
I want to see the Hulk treated like a true superhero. Remember that scene in Spiderman 2, when Spiderman saved all those people on the train? I want to see something like that from the Hulk. Just because he’s big and angry and maybe not that smart doesn’t mean he can’t be just as heroic as any superhero. We know it’s in there and we want to see it. C’mon Marvel, make it happen.
When there aren’t other superheroes around stealing his spotlight with their patriotism and sarcastic wit—when it’s just him—the Hulk is a sight to behold.
It’s been ten years since the last Hulk movie, but looking at their film release schedule for the next four years, the Hulk is not a priority for Marvel. Other than Avengers 3, he’s nowhere to be found. Marvel should really consider giving the big guy another film that is just him. Let us see what he’s truly capable of. Give us a movie with more destruction than we’ve ever seen in a superhero movie. Make a Hulk movie that makes the collateral damage we saw in Man of Steel look like a walk in the park. Show us how incredible the Hulk truly is.
In Thor: Ragnarok, the Hulk refers to himself as a raging fire. But then they failed to show us that fire. Marvel has the ultimate physical specimen at their disposal, but they seem afraid to use him. Stop treating him like a sideshow.
Marvel, unleash the Hulk.