The Incredible Hulk is often overlooked in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it excels in one area where no other Marvel film has.
The Incredible Hulk is frequently regarded as an oddity in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it excels in one area more than any other MCU film. Despite Iron Man’s triumph two years earlier, The Incredible Hulk, the second MCU film, fails to depict the interconnected way the world would operate. Instead, it presents a gritty, more traditional Hulk story as Edward Norton’s Bruce Banner grapples with his violent side – and it’s this separation from the rest of the MCU that allows The Incredible Hulk to work in one manner.
Bruce Banner has already established himself as the Hulk and is being sought by the US government when he joins the Marvel Cinematic Universe in The Incredible Hulk. As he struggles to keep the Hulk under control while avoiding her father, General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross’s daughter, Betty (Liv Tyler), assists him. In The Incredible Hulk’s coda, after Hulk kills Abomination and Thunderbolt, Ross meets Tony Stark, who informs him of the Avengers effort, setting up the events of The Avengers in 2012.
The Incredible Hulk boasts the best music in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, maybe due to its separation from the rest of the franchise. Despite the fact that the film’s story isn’t among the finest in the MCU, most critics agree that Craig Armstrong’s music is a highlight. The film’s distinctive tone is set by Armstrong’s throbbing music, which is significantly more serious than anything else in the MCU since. It may be the most considered and captivating piece of music featured in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to date, aside from Alan Silvestri’s ubiquitous Avengers theme.
Armstrong’s music is quite effective. It establishes The Incredible Hulk as a more serious superhero film than many of its MCU Phase 1 contemporaries, such as Iron Man and Captain America: The First Avenger. The soundtrack has furious strings and a thick layer of percussion that heighten the tension of Bruce being pursued and his significantly more serious changes into the Hulk. When considering the Hulk’s growth, it’s tough to imagine Mark Ruffalo’s version of Banner engaged in non-comedic action with such a powerful score behind him.
As a result, it’s a shame the Marvel Cinematic Universe hasn’t used Armstrong’s great soundtrack as the Hulk’s theme in later films. However, after the release of The Incredible Hulk, the tone of the MCU has evolved considerably, and Mark Ruffalo’s portrayal of the Hulk has seen the hero transform into a much lighter, more humorous figure. Armstong’s theme from The Incredible Hulk should absolutely return if Mark Ruffalo gets his own solo movie, and it is harsher in tone (possibly adapting the comic books’ epic World War Hulk narrative).