Dr. Bruce Banner, aka the Incredible Hulk, is arguably the strongest and certainly one of the most powerful heroes in the Marvel canon. The big green rage machine has smashed and crashed his way from the pages of comic books to toys, video games, and of course the large and small screens. The Hulk has been known for his superior physical strength, his healing factor and his other insanely enhanced abilities, not to mention his nearly insatiable appetite for destruction... and at one point, for pancakes! Since his introduction into the world of television and film, fans have had the opportunity to see the Incredible Hulk brought to life in glorious technicolor, and interpreted by different directors and actors of monstrous talent.
Bringing the Hulk to life is certainly no easy task! Great consideration is required to create the right amount of destruction. Yes, the Hulk is a super-strong mayhem machine who can tear through a tank in seconds, but even a big guy like him has his limits. Of course, directors will always take some creative liberties, no matter what canon they use. It might be something minor as giving the Hulk more of a voice, as seen in the animated versions, but it can also be something completely out of left field. The onscreen interpretations of Hulk are normally thrilling to watch, but are sometimes prone to some over-powered moves... even for him! Here are just a few times the character was way overpowered on-screen!
20 SLAMMING LOKI LIKE A RAGDOLL (THE AVENGERS)
In perhaps the most iconic beat down in The Avengers, the Hulk goes one-on-one against the film’s enigmatic antagonist, Loki. Now, normally the fight scene with the main bad guy in any superhero flick is big, dynamic, and loaded to the brim with nail-biting action, right? Not for these two.
Hulk interrupts Loki’s villainous monologue by grabbing him by the ankle and literally slamming him around Stark’s penthouse like a dog with a chew toy. He turns what should be a dynamic battle with a literal god into comedy gold, leaving the puny deity lying there, wheezing on the floor.
19 PUTTING OUT A FIRE BY SUPER CLAP (INCREDIBLE HULK)
There are a lot of things fans will suspend their disbelief over, like radioactive spiders and mutant turtles in the sewers of NYC. But some things really go for the stretch, like Hulk’s “super clap” in the MCU’s Incredible Hulk. After the climactic battle with Abomination, Hulk rescues Betty Ross from a surrounding fire by clapping out the flames.
The Hulk is capable of many incredible things, but a super clap feels like the writers were running out of ideas for powers and abilities. Sure, it is an old standby in his comic book appearances, but putting it in a live action movie just comes across as ludicrously overpowered; like it's almost a deus ex machina, especially given the urgency of the scene.
18 FALLING THROUGH A SKYSCRAPER, EMERGING UNSCATHED (AGE OF ULTRON)
In the MCU, Hulk seems to be the member of the Avengers who gets the most savage beatings, but he always puts up the best fight. And there are few Hulk fights better than when he’s up against Tony Stark’s Hulk-Buster suit. The suit itself is designed to subdue Hulk, not defeat him. So it should come as no surprise that even when Iron-Man rockets him up and practically body slams him down an entire skyscraper, he survives.
What is more surprising is that hulk barely has a scratch on him! A few grunts and a roar, and he’s ready to lay it on Tony one more time. Hulk might as well have gotten up, dusted himself off, and rang the bell for round two! If Tony hadn't sucker punched him at the end of the fight, who knows how long their battle might have gone!
17 BITING A MISSILE, SPITTING OUT THE WARHEAD (HULK)
Ang Lee’s interpretation of the Hulk in 2003’s film certainly allowed a lot of experimentation with the character. From the mega jumps to the near body horror transformation sequences, the director certainly made several interesting choices. In the iconic desert fight scene, Hulk tears through tanks and destroys a good chunk of the U.S. Military’s weaponry. This includes one darn-near hilarious scene!
In it, not only does he catch a missile midair, but he straight up bites off the warhead like a Slim Jim. Much like a previously mentioned encounter with an evil robot minion, this is pure overkill. Of course, it is forgivable compared to other moments in the film; this one just blatantly sticks out. It does, however, have a certain charm.
16 PUNCHING THE HULKBUSTER'S PLASMA BEAM (AGE OF ULTRON)
As we mentioned, the Hulkbuster armor was built to subdue Hulk, not defeat him. It's massive, destructive, and can take a beating better than any of Stark's other suits. That being said, when Hulk is able to literally punch through Tony’s suped-up plasma cannon, it might be time to make another upgrade.
Sure, the blast pins him to a wall for a few moments, but he comes back ripping and roaring for a piece of Iron-Man. Hulk is immune to a lot of hazardous materials, including most ray beams, bullets, and fire, just to name a few. But seeing him literally punch his way through a beam of pure energy is absolutely ridiculous.
15 FALLING FROM SPACE AND SURVIVING (HULK)
While rewatching this film, we found ourselves asking “how on earth would he survive that?” Perhaps the biggest what-the-heck moment in this film was seeing the Hulk grapple with a fighter jet as it tries to shake him off by going up into the mesosphere, forcing Hulk to run out of air until he passes out and plummets thousands of feet into the bay below.
Of course, Hulk survives this no problem. But the mind boggles with what was going through the creative team’s collective heads when they made this decision. Again, he technically has done this in the comic books, but on the screen, it just becomes an exercise in near-farce... regardless of how cool it is to watch!
14 DIGGING OUT OF A S.H.I.E.L.D CONTAINER (AGE OF ULTRON)
It’s a pretty good rule of thumb that once S.H.I.E.L.D. gets involved, things get pretty serious. Hulk, however, must have missed the memo. After laying waste to the city of New York, the S.H.I.E.L.D. team has Hulk surrounded and proceeds to attempt to trap him in a large metallic container, clearly designed to quell his rage.
This works for a few moments, until Hulk literally punches a tunnel through the concrete and makes his escape, temper and nostrils flaring. Though this ability is entirely plausible, as he has done it many times in the comics, the fact that Hulk could stay calm long enough to formulate this idea is highly suspicious.
13 ONE PUNCH MAN (AVENGERS)
Now we go from one big monster to something decidedly more kaiju-sized. This time, the beast in question is a leviathan -- a sort of sentient, biological airship -- released by Loki and the Chitauri to attack new York. When Iron-Man “brings the party” to the Avengers, Hulk brings the armored monstrosity down with one smashing punch, and the beast goes down hard.
Fenris we can accept a little more, because he’s only a gigantic wolf in the film (undead though he may be). The leviathan, however, is a titanic alien war beast with armor plating and a thicker hide. It seems a bit far-fetched that a monster that size and that battle-ready would go down as easily as that. But hey, Hulk is Hulk!
12 EXPONENTIALLY INCREASING SIZE (HULK)
It’s common knowledge that the angrier the Hulk gets, the stronger he becomes. Simple theory, right? But how strong is too strong, and does Hulk have a strength cap? In this film, apparently not. We literally see Hulk get engorged on fury, even making most of his escapes just because he’s too big to be contained.
By this logic, if he were stimulated properly, Hulk could reach kaiju scale and possibly put up a fight with Galactus. That notion alone is unbelievable, even by comic book standards, though his size has been known to change significantly in the comics, too, depending on how angry he gets.
11 BITING THROUGH ULTRON (AGE OF ULTRON)
There are moments in superhero movies that are ridiculously over-powered, then there are those that are just pure overkill. During a particular fight scene against Ultron’s robotic minions, Hulk is wailing away at the metallic monsters, smashing and crashing, doing what he does best. It’s a great scene, but it ventures hard into OP territory when Hulk literally bites the head off of one of Ultron’s goons.
In all seriousness, he chomps it off with a smile and a satisfying crunch. While this is not a drastic amount of overkill, it certainly adds insult to injury. But that doesn’t mean it’s not fun to watch.
10 USING IRON-MAN TO CRUSH ROBOTS (HEROES UNITED)
Seeing our favorite superheroes come together to fight evil is always a pleasure. So it’s no surprise that when Iron-Man and Hulk came together in this animated movie, sparks flew in the absolute best way. In the film, Hulk and Iron-Man duke it out with Zzaxx, a malevolent energy monster who gains control of a Hydra laboratory.
When Zzaxx possesses a small army of robots, the fight is on! Now, anyone would like to see Hulk fight robots with Iron-Man, but how about fighting robots with Iron-Man? Hulk literally bashes the robots to pieces using Iron-Man as a rocket-powered club, like he’s playing a game of killer Whack-a-Mole. OP? Perhaps... but still pretty funny.
9 SMACKING ABOMINATION WITH A VAULT DOOR (HEROES UNITED)
There are different rules for the MCU vs. the realm of animation. In the latter half, you can certainly get away with more over-the-top sequences, but there is a fine line between comic book action and Looney Tunes physics. One such example is the fight between Hulk and Abomination in this animated movie. Abomination had been smacking Hulk senseless and laying waste to a small mountain town, until he hurls ol' Jade Jaws into a bank vault.
Hulk rips off the door and smacks Abomination out of the park with distance worthy of a Goofy Holler. This action is completely cartoony, and more slapstick-soaked than "epic superhero fight." All that was missing was an Abomination-shaped splat in the pavement.
8 STUNNING NIGHTMARE IN HIS BEAST FORM (WHERE MONSTERS DWELL)
This Halloween special from Disney/Marvel’s Animated Universe is a very entertaining romp through the Marvel canon. It opens viewers to heroes and villains not yet seen in the MCU, and exposes them to new arcs and events. In the special, Hulk, Doctor Strange, and the Howling Commandos go toe-to-toe with Nightmare and his monsters from the Dream Dimension.
At the climactic fight on the streets of NYC, Nightmare takes a horrific beast form in the real world and survives a lot of damage from Doctor Strange and the commandos. It’s only until Hulk stuns him with a hunk of brick wall, of all things, that he becomes phased long enough to be defeated. Who knew bricks were a dream demon’s kryptonite?
7 SLICING A HELICOPTER IN HALF (INCREDIBLE HULK)
Once again we find Hulk wrecking and crunching everything General Ross can throw at him, even using two giant pieces of shrapnel as a pair of blades. It’s only when he uses one of these blades to take down a flying Apache helicopter that things really get serious.
There’s no question that the Hulk has the ability to do it; what is questionable is the accuracy. When Dr. Banner goes full-Hulk, only two things are usually on his mind: Hulk and smash. So it’s unusual to see such deadly accuracy as he hurls a giant slab of metal into a missile-armed chopper. Uncontrollably strong is one thing, but skilled is something else entirely!
6 SONIC CLAP II: ROBO BOOGALOO (HEROES UNITED)
Again, Hulk’s apparent clapping powers make an appearance on the list. This time however, it seems Hulk has taken a page from Guile from Street Fighter and now has a sort of sonic boom ability. It seems when he’s not using Iron-Man as a mallet, he’s able to destroy a line of robot minions with a sonic clap that fries their circuits.
Yes, this is still an animated feature and the rules of action are different, but this is one of those OP moments that have new fans shaking their heads in disbelief... though the more seasoned fans among us probably saw it as the dusting off of an old finishing move. Still, that is one overpowered thunderclap!
5 CHOKING A MUTANT DOG WITH A BICEP (HULK)
As we mentioned before, Ang Lee's Hulk from 2003 made some interesting choices. Some of his powers are fantastically displayed, while others are utterly ridiculous. A perfect example of the latter half comes into play when the Hulk is trying to save Betty from a pack of dogs mutated by gamma radiation. Let's start by saying that the image of Hulked-out dogs is laughable enough... but then it gets even better (or worse, depending on your outlook on life).
The only thing more ridiculous than the Hulk-hounds is the Hulk actually beating one by flexing his muscles. No joke, the dog literally lunges and bites on to the Hulk’s shoulder. Not able to reach him, the Hulk growls and flexes, snapping the dog's jaws like a dry twig. We get that the Hulk is incredibly strong, but beating a monster dog just by flexing on him? Dang!
4 LEAVING A DENT IN A VIBRANIUM PLATE (AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Though he makes no physical appearance in Marvels Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Hulk does leave an appearance in a very obvious easter egg. In the series, a cabin known as The Retreat makes an appearance in the second season. It is used both for special agents and superheroes to get some R&R, and to keep them (and those surrounding them) safe. Agent Skye, while she is visiting, discovers a large, fist-shaped imprint in a Vibranium cell. Now who could be capable of that?
This obviously alludes to the suggestion that Hulk can damage even something as notoriously impenetrable as Vibranium. That, while very impressive, is enough to make the hardcore MCU fans question its validity. It seems the toughest element in the Marvel universe has one big, green weakness.
3 BODY SLAMMING FENRIS (THOR: RAGNAROK)
Thor: Ragnarok is perhaps the best movie in the Thor series, as well as perhaps the best Hulk outing in the MCU (so far). We see Hulk pull some incredible stunts, but the biggest comes towards the end of the film on the rainbow bridge.
While Heimdall defends civilians on the Bifrost, Hulk goes up against the demon wolf, Fenris, whose sheer size makes Hulk look like an action figure. Hulk grabs him by the tail and full out suplexes him on the bridge. This is only the start of a tremendous fight, but it’s a pretty big opening move compared to the rest of the battle, especially since, in the comics, Fenris snuffed Hulk out in one deadly bite!
2 DEFLECTING A ROCKET (HULK)
Dr. Banner has been captured by Major Talbot, escaped his cell in full Hulk form, and wasted the guards before finally being subdued in some cementing foam. This, of course, enrages him and causes him to grow again, both in strength and stature. Talbot fires a rocket from a shoulder cannon at him, only to have it bounce back and incinerate him in a fiery blaze.
This is being overpowered at its absolute finest. Not only is the Hulk temporarily immobile, but he literally does nothing to deflect the projectile; it just bounces off of him. The Hulk is so overpowered in this film, he can actually stand and do nothing, yet still come out on top.
1 THE FALLS OF DR. BANNER (INCREDIBLE HULK / RAGNAROK)
Practically the deus ex machina of the film, Banner pulls a stunt that would make anyone seem overpowered. Before the final battle with Abomination, Dr. Banner jumps from a helicopter onto the streets of Harlem below. Despite having previously taken a serum made to subdue the Hulk, he still tries to force him out while plummeting to the earth. He shows no signs of being able to transform until after he hits the ground, emerging as the Hulk from a pile of rubble!
Something similar happens in Thor: Ragnarok, and is played up for even bigger laughs, as Banner jumps from a spacecraft and lands, limp and lifeless, in front of the Fenris Wold. He had thought he would change before he hit the ground -- something that would kill any other man -- but up he popped later as the Hulk, seemingly immortal (just like in the comics).