One of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's most prominent taglines makes a simple, yet powerful statement:
"It's all connected."
But when it comes to director Louis Leterrier's The Incredible Hulk, however, it would appear some MCU entries are less connected than others.
Due to some hazy rights issues with Universal, Marvel Studios has essentially relegated the film to purple-panted stepchild status within its interconnected franchise, a disappointing outcome for what is easily the MCU's most overlooked gem. With The Incredible Hulk fast approaching the tenth anniversary of its release, let's take a look back at what makes it so criminally underrated, and well worth a more esteemed spot within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
One of the best decisions that The Incredible Hulk makes also happens to be its first.
Eschewing the standard formula that most superhero movies follow, the film elects to not have its protagonist's origin story occupy the first act. Instead, the audience gets a brief recap of how Bruce Banner first transformed into his massive counterpart via glimpses shown during the film's opening title sequence. It is an elegant solution for a problem that has far too often plagued other superhero franchises. (How many times must we see the Waynes being gunned down in an alley, for example?)
The Hulk's origin story is a tale that the core audience is already very familiar with, and this is even more prevalent for Banner's story in particular, as Ang Lee's Hulk had just provided a rendition of the character's origin just five years earlier. By not boring its viewers with information they already know, the choice allows the narrative to more quickly reach rising action, and creates better pacing out of the gate.
The structure would later be echoed just as successfully in Spider-Man: Homecoming, much to the delight of wall-crawler fans everywhere. Both films prove that when it comes to superhero backstories, less can sometimes be more.