Anyone who’s ever got in touch with Marvel Comics and their superheroes (meaning, probably everyone in the world after the MCU became a thing) knows who The Incredible Hulk is. Being one of the most popular superheroes ever, Hulk has been a part of numerous movies and TV shows, in and out of the MCU.
And, the truth is, most adaptations of the Green Goliath on the big screen fell flat on their face, but some were just epic and unforgettable. From TV movies in the late 80s to MCU appearances of Bruce Banner, I’m bringing you a list of every Hulk movie ever made, ranked from worst to best.
I won’t be including TV show appearances, such as the one in ‘She-Hulk’ (2022) or that cringeworthy show that aired from 1977-1982, but I will include some cool animated movies, as well as every appearance of the Hulk in MCU movies – barring ‘Iron Man 3,’ where he only had a post-credits cameo. Have fun, you brutes!
12. ‘The Death of the Incredible Hulk’ (1990)
IMDb score: 5.7/10
What it’s about: David Banner has given up on being the Hulk and ran for twelve years. However, when Dr. Ronold Pratt and his wife get kidnapped, Banner is forced to end things once and for all. He is ready to be The Incredible Hulk again, which will lead to his freedom – in this world or the other…
Why is it ranked here: This has to be the worst Hulk adaptation in history, and it’s not even close. This is the final movie of a trilogy – starring Bill Bixby as David Banner (I don’t know why his name was changed) and Lou Ferrigno as his alter-ego, The Hulk – that stemmed from a Hulk TV series that ran from 1977-1982.
This version of the Hulk was quite weak compared to his comic book counterpart, but his death was the low point of the entire trilogy. You wanna know how it happened?
The dude… fell off a plane. Yes, the Hulk died from falling out of a plane. There was talk about reviving him for a fourth movie, but it was axed due to abysmal reviews of the entire trilogy – especially the third movie – and due to Bill Bixby’s deteriorating health at the time…
11. ‘The Trial of the Incredible Hulk’ (1989)
IMDb score: 5.8/10
What it’s about: David Belson (alias of Banner) witnessed a violent, brutal crime linked to the Kingpin in the New York subway. He is a key witness to the case in court, but instead, he is accused of being the culprit due to his turning into The Hulk to help the victim as the crime was taking place.
Matt Murdock, aka Daredevil, serves as David’s attorney to help him incriminate the Kingpin and free himself. Instead, David turns into the Hulk and escapes his cell…
Why is it ranked here: Now, this movie wasn’t as bad as its sequel – but it was far from good. It had its moments – like the introduction of Daredevil into live-action – but the problem was he kind of stole the show while the Hulk became a side character in the plot.
Also, the fighting sequences are just insanely cringy. Like, the Hulk flexes his muscles four or five times before actually engaging in combat. Dude, we get it; Lou Ferrigno is strong. It’s okay to watch and have a few laughs, but don’t expect anything more out of it.
10. ‘The Incredible Hulk Returns’ (1988)
IMDb score: 5.6/10
What it’s about: Banner is close to finding a cure for his condition, as the Hulk hasn’t emerged in about two years. He developed a Gamma Transponder – a device that’ll help him cure his Gamma radiation.
Meanwhile, a former colleague, Donald Blake, approaches Banner, sharing how he has a mystical hammer that allows him to summer Thor, the Viking God of Thunder. When Banner’s girlfriend gets kidnapped, he abandons his research and goes out as the Hulk to save her, with the help of Don Blake and his alter-ego, Thor.
Why is it ranked here: This was the first Hulk movie ever and served as a ‘revival’ of the Bill Bixby – Lou Ferrigno tandem from the TV series half a decade earlier. I guess it was okay, considering the plot was not great.
At least Thor – the side character – remained a side character, although his lore from the comics was changed as well. And the interpretation really makes you appreciate the MCU Thor a bit more.
9. ‘Hulk’ (2003)
IMDb score: 5.6/10
What it’s about: Bruce Banner is a prolific scientist with a troubled past. One day, however, an experiment goes terribly wrong, and a Gamma radiation explosion blasts Bruce – but he survives. The consequences are he becomes a raging green monster every time he is angry. How will he manage his condition? Is he the hero or the villain of his own story?
Why is it ranked here: Ang Lee wanted to make something different – a unique, more artistic version of the Hulk that is more than just a big brute. And, yeah, the idea of him being more connected to nature and whatnot was great in theory but fell flat on its face in execution.
The pacing is completely off – at one moment, you can barely hold on to what’s going on, and then there are 20-minute sequences of nothing, lulling you to sleep. Also, the CGI is seemingly impeccable in some scenes, whereas, in others, it looks as if two toddlers are throwing their action figures in front of the camera.
My review? It had potential, but it was all wasted.
8. ‘Hulk Vs.’ (2009)
IMDb score: 6.9/10
What it’s about: This Marvel Animated Features film is a two-part animated movie featuring two stories about The Incredible Hulk. In one, Wolverine is sent to track down the Hulk who crossed into Canadian territory, but along the way, he realizes that others are trying to hunt down the Hulk for their own nefarious reasons.
In the other, Loki brings Banner to Asgard with plans to unleash the Hulk on Thor as an act of revenge. However, once the Hulk is unleashed, he goes out of control, and now Thor and Loki have to work together if they want to save Bruce Banner and prevent the Hulk from destroying the entire Asgard and all of its residents.
Why is it ranked here: I found this feature film – both stories, actually – to be incredibly amusing and incredibly well done in terms of staying loyal to the source material. The Hulk and Wolverine faced off in the comics a million times, and I absolutely loved the Loki-Thor story that we also got to see in the MCU.
Apart from this particular film, I highly recommend you check out other Marvel Animated Features as well – hardly any of them aren’t epic!
7. ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ (2018)
IMDb score: 8.4/10
What it’s about: The Mad Titan is on a quest to gather all six Infinity Stones to wipe out half of the universe with a snap of his fingers. On the other hand, the Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and other heroes are on a quest to try and stop him. It might prove to be more difficult than they ever imagined…
Why is it ranked here: Now, if I’m ranking the movie as a whole, ‘Infinity War’ is by far my favorite MCU film, and I’d put it at number one. But that isn’t what we’re doing here, right? We are ranking Hulk movies – and the Hulk was nowhere to be seen in the entire film.
He appears in the beginning, only to get smacked into oblivion by Thanos – meaning, the Hulk served as a tool to display how insanely powerful The Mad Titan is. After that, he refuses to show up, and we only see Banner throughout the rest of the film.
So, although I absolutely love ‘Infinity War,’ the Hulk’s role is reduced to nothing, which is why it can’t be higher up on the list.
6. ‘Planet Hulk’ (2010)
IMDb score: 6.7/10
What it’s about: The Hulk is banished from Earth by other superheroes due to his uncontrollable nature and gets sent to Sakaar, which is led by a tyrannical ruler named Red King. Once there, the Hulk is forced to become a gladiator, fighting against other super-powerful beings.
Slowly, he befriends his fellow gladiators in a bid to overthrow the Red King and become the new, more just ruler of Sakaar.
Why is it ranked here: This is the second – and final – animated movie on this list. It’s by far my favorite comic book storyline featuring the Hulk – and even better executed than what we saw in ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ if you ask me. In the Thor film, Hulk’s time on Sakaar is reduced to comedy, while in Planet Hulk – and the comics – it’s one of the most intimidating Hulk storylines ever.
He is unfathomably powerful as it is – which is why he gets sent to Sakaar in the first place – but there, he trains and trains to be a gladiator, meaning he’s not only strong but skilled. ‘Planet Hulk’ ends before the catastrophic event that turns him into World War Hulk, filled with rage and grief, but the story up to that point is pretty much on-point with the comics.
The difference is our Green Goliath gets a happy ending in this film.
5. ‘The Incredible Hulk’ (2008)
IMDb score: 6.6/10
What it’s about: Bruce Banner gets into a Gamma-radiated accident, becoming the Hulk in the process. Now, he must find the cure before things get out of hand and more people suffer. However, the emergence of the Abomination might prevent Banner from executing his plans – and make him embrace the Hulk like never before.
Why is it ranked here: I mean, ‘The Incredible Hulk’ is not great, but it’s not as bad as people make it out to be. Edward Norton could be an epic Hulk, but the direction in which the movie went kind of prevented him from showcasing both sides of the Banner persona – meaning, his performance was limited not by his skill but rather by what he was allowed to do.
Anyways, ‘The Incredible Hulk’ was the second MCU film that kind of got forgotten after Mark Ruffalo was recast as Bruce Banner. Still, it’s worth a watch, although it’s far from the best MCU movies.
4. ‘Avengers: Endgame’ (2019)
IMDb score: 8.4/10
What it’s about: After the Snap, Scott Lang, aka Ant-Man, believes there’s a way to reverse what happened by time-traveling through the Quantum Realm. The remaining heroes team up to do just that as they manage to get everyone back and defeat Thanos once and for all.
Why is it ranked here: ‘Endgame’ might be the best culmination of franchise-defining events we’ll ever see in cinematic history. Over a decade’s worth of movies went into what we witnessed here, and it was nothing short of spectacular.
That being said, this wasn’t my favorite Hulk version we’ve seen, as we got to see Professor Hulk – the merger between Bruce Banner and the Green Goliath, combining strength with the brains, as he said.
Don’t get me wrong, it was awesome, and he played a major role in bringing everyone back and defeating The Mad Titan, but the ‘merger’ felt sloppy at times and could’ve been, in my humble opinion, executed better.
3. ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ (2015)
IMDb score: 7.3/10
What it’s about: Tony Stark and Bruce Banner create Ultron as a peacekeeping AI program. However, once Ultron is awakened, he learns everything about the entire human history in a matter of seconds – and decides he won’t be there for peacekeeping but rather for the complete destruction of humankind. It’s up to the Avengers to stop him from doing so.
Why is it ranked here: I ranked ‘Age of Ultron’ this high not because the Hulk was so awesome here – but because the character was so well-executed here, in my opinion. We saw the best and the worst of both Banner and the Hulk.
For instance, Tony Stark and Banner were responsible for ‘waking up’ Ultron initially, but their intelligence led to his eventual defeat. Also, the Hulk had some of the best action sequences in his entire MCU history in this movie, but he also lost a battle to Iron Man’s Hulkbuster, which basically never happens in the comics.
All in all, ‘Age of Ultron’ deserves a Top 3 spot on the best Hulk movies list, not just because of the Green Goliath, but his super-smart mild-mannered human alter-ego.
2. ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ (2017)
IMDb score: 7.9/10
What it’s about: Thor returns to Asgard to find his brother, Loki, impersonating their father, Odin. After they track Odin down, he reveals that they have a sister – Hela, the Goddess of Death- ready to return and cause absolute havoc.
The first fight between Hela and the brothers results in both of them being trapped on Sakaar, a desolate planet where residents are forced to fight against each other in a gladiator-style arena. Thor meets an old friend there, but they must quickly find a way back to Asgard to stop Hela – even if it means triggering Ragnarok and destroying Asgard in the process…
Why is it ranked here: While this version of Sakaar-Hulk is way different than what we’ve seen in the comics, I found him to be the most hilarious version of himself here. He wasn’t just a ‘tool of destruction’ but showed depth and had a prominent role. Also, ‘Ragnarok’ is my favorite Thor movie so far, and the dynamic between Thor and Hulk was just spot on.
1. ‘The Avengers’ (2012)
IMDb score: 8.0/10
What it’s about: Loki, the God of Mischief, has arrived with a colossal alien army to enslave Earth as its tyrannical ruler with a glorious purpose. Luckily, the Earth has the Avengers to defend them, even if the battle leads to numerous casualties and scars that will follow them throughout their lives…
Why is it ranked here: Last but not least, although the Hulk didn’t have a super long amount of screen time in ‘The Avengers,’ this movie gave us some of the most iconic Hulk moments we ever saw in live-action films. Like, Banner’s ‘I’m always angry’ moment that became a viral meme. Or, the even-more-viral moment of him manhandling Loki like a ragdoll.
Then there was the incredible dynamic between him and Natasha Romanoff – an aspect of the character we haven’t seen in any of the movies before this one. Overall, it was the best Hulk movie to date, even if his screen time was limited, and it wasn’t a stand-alone Hulk film, per se. Puny god for the win!
What is your favorite Hulk movie? Let us know in the comments!