The One Thing The Incredible Hulk Does Better Than Any MCU Movie

The Incredible Hulk is often overlooked in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it does better than every other Marvel movie in one particular area.

The Incredible Hulk is often considered an outlier of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it does one specific thing better than any other MCU installment. The second MCU movie ever made, 2008 The Incredible Hulk fails to convey the interdependent way the universe will function despite Iron Manthe success of two years ago. Instead, it tells a grittier, more traditional Hulk story as Edward Norton’s Bruce Banner embraces his violent side – but it’s that distance from the rest of the MCU that allows The Incredible Hulk to succeed in a specific way.

When Bruce Banner officially joins the Marvel Cinematic Universe in The Incredible Hulk, he is already established as the Hulk and is being pursued by the US government. Bruce is aided by General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross’s (William Hurt) daughter, Betty (Liv Tyler), as he tries to keep the Hulk in check while avoiding his father. After Hulk defeated Abomination and Thunderbolt in The Incredible Hulk‘s coda, Ross meets Tony Stark, who informs him of the Avengers Initiative, setting up the events of The Avengers in 2012.

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Perhaps due to his detachment from the rest of the franchise, The Incredible Hulk has the best soundtrack in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While critics don’t consider the film’s story to be anything close to the best of the MCU, most agree in their assessment that Craig Armstrong’s soundtrack is a highlight. Armstrong’s heart-pounding music gives the film its unique tone, feeling far more serious than anything else in the MCU since. In this way, apart from the ubiquitous Alan Silvestri avengers theme, it is perhaps the most considered and compelling piece of music featured in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to date.



The Incredible Hulk

Armstrong’s score is shockingly effective. He gives The Incredible Hulk legitimacy as a more serious take on the superhero genre than many of its MCU Phase 1 contemporaries, such as Iron Man or Captain America: The First Avenger, can gather. The soundtrack is defined by intense strings and a heavy drum layer that adds to the intensity of the chased Bruce and his much more serious transformations into the Hulk. When looking at the Hulk’s evolution, however, it’s hard to see Mark Ruffalo’s take on Banner engaging in non-comedic action with such a dramatic score behind him.


As a result, it’s a shame the Marvel Cinematic Universe hasn’t used Armstrong’s outstanding score as a theme for Hulk in other projects. However, the tone of the MCU has changed dramatically since the release of The Incredible Hulk, and Mark Ruffalo’s take on the Hulk saw the hero transform into a much lighter, more comedic figure. The Marvel Cinematic Universe doesn’t often reuse scores from past movies, but if Mark Ruffalo gets his own solo movie, and it’s darker (perhaps adapting the iconic comic world war hulk history), the Armstrong theme of The Incredible Hulk should definitely come back.


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