The God of Thunder takes center stage in Thor: Ragnarok, but he does share the spotlight with another classic hero. The Incredible Hulk has been featured prominently in the commercials hyping the new Thor film. The Hulk isn’t the brutish beast of Avengers films. The Green Goliath speaks and shows he is a bit smarter than the lumbering, silent giant of previous film appearances.
Director Taika Waititi noted The Hulk was made “smarter” in order to make him more “engaging” in the film. Giving The Hulk the ability to speak allows for more interaction with Thor and other characters. There is only so much that can be done with a Hulk that limited in his ability to interact with others.
The silent version of The Hulk was not a Marvel Comics creation. It was the CBS Incredible Hulk television series that went with a non-speaking Hulk. The movies followed this concept. When The Hulk debuted in the early 1960’s, he not only spoke but came off as a calculating and sinister anti-hero. In time, The Hulk took on a child-like personality. Eventually, The Hulk returned to becoming a speaking, more adult character but without the air of a Mr. Hyde-style menace.
The possibility exists that The Hulk could steal quite a bit of Thor’s thunder in the new film. Even though both The Hulk and his alter ego Dr. Banner play supporting roles, they could overshadow the lead hero. Consider this ironic. For decades, Thor was barely a B-level hero in the Marvel Comics Universe while The Hulk was firmly A level. In the movies, things changes. Two disappointing solo films hurt The Hulk’s ability to carry a film. The two previous Thor films did well at the box office. The third film looks like it will outdraw every other entry in the trilogy.