The Incredible Hulk has become the black sheep of the MCU, but it's important that Avengers 4 directly acknowledge it for the Green Goliath's sake.
The Incredible Hulk Synopsis
The explosive, action-packed adventure in one of the all-time most popular superhero sagas unfolds with a cure in reach for the world's most primal force of fury: THE INCREDIBLE HULK. We find scientist Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) living in shadows, scouring the planet for an antidote. But the warmongers who dream of abusing his powers won't leave him alone, nor will his need to be with the only woman he has ever loved, Betty Ross (Liv Tyler).
Upon returning to civilization, our brilliant doctor is ruthlessly pursued by The Abomination (Tim Roth)--a nightmarish beast of pure adrenaline and aggression whose powers match The Hulk's own. A fight of comic-book proportions ensues as Banner must call upon the hero within to rescue New York City from total destruction. And on June 13, 2008...one scientist must make an agonizing final choice--accept a peaceful life as Bruce Banner or the creature he could permanently become: THE INCREDIBLE HULK.
If at first you don't succeed, try again. Marvel seems to be under the impression that their first Hulk movie was a flop of Serenity proportions, so they've tossed everything related to it out the window and come up with something completely different for their big green superhero.
Except the first Hulk wasn't really a failure, merely somewhat disappointing. Even now, after the world seems to have turned on it, it still holds on to a middle of the road 60 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. That means more positive reviews for it than negative ones. Then there's its 2003 take at the box office. It made $245 million internationally, and only cost $137 million to make. I'd call that a tidy profit.
So why has Marvel decided to throw their muscley green baby out with the bathwater? Blame fans. Since the movie's theatrical debut that mild disappointment in a solid but ultimately mediocre film has turned into massive overreaction. The further Hulk-a-holics get from the film, the worse it seems to become. Now it's inexplicably become a punchline, a container for capturing all the worst outpouring of anger comic book nerds feel at the way Hollywood has botched a lot of their favorite properties. All that hatred they should be feeling for movies like Elektra has been funneled into Hulk. It's not hard, he's a pretty big target.
The only way out of being a bad Pollock joke for Marvel was to call their new movie a reboot, and pretend the other one never happened. Except it's not so much a reboot as a continuation with an all new cast, crew, and a completely different tone. Shh, don't tell anyone. They're much too busy burning the old movie in effigy to notice.
As it turns out, rebooting may be for the best. Whether you liked Ang Lee's version of Hulk or not, it's hard not to notice that this new Incredible Hulk kicks the other's ass in vital stats. Grab a pencil and play match up the cast. On paper, there's every reason to believe that this version of the Hulk will be even better.