Two founding Avengers were noticeably absent from Captain America: Civil War, but luckily viewers will be able to get their fix of Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and the Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) with this year’s Thor: Ragnarok, helmed by New Zealand director and comedian Taika Waititi of all people (not that we’re complaining).
While we have nothing against Hemsworth’s dramatic interstellar demigod, it’s always a special treat to see Ruffalo become the impossibly strong green monster and face off against the latest villains, which is why we’re reviewing some of the Hulk’s greatest battles. This is our wish list of villains who Hulk should fight in Ragnarok.
1. Absorbing Man
This one would fit all too nicely into Thor’s world, given that Absorbing Man, otherwise known as Carl “Crusher” Creel, was given his powers by Thor’s adopted brother and rival Loki (Tom Hiddleston in the films). Bringing back Hiddleston as one of the MCU’s few memorable villains is always a good idea considering Creel’s power to change himself to the form of anything he touches — like a super-powered chameleon.
He’s fought both the Norse God and the Hulk throughout his history, proving to be an especially large threat due to his ability to absorb the Hulk’s power. Absorbing Man was adapted into the villain for Ang Lee’s 2003 Hulk, but we’ve had enough time to wash out the stink of that film by now; the world might be ready for a new Absorbing Man.
2. Red King
If ever the Red King was going to fit into the MCU, it would be within the sci-fi antics of a Thor film. The Red King, aka Angmo-Asan, inherited the throne to his planet Sakaar and ruled his people with an iron fist, keeping them in line using an atmosphere of terror as well as a hand-built cutting-edge suit of armor that turns him from a typical tyrant into a straight-up supervillain.
The Hulk (Green Scar Hulk, to be exact) ended his nightmarish reign and ruled the planet himself in the comics, but it’s easy to imagine how The Red King might be recast as a conqueror who sets his sights on Asgard in Thor: Ragnarok, sparking an interplanetary war of power that only the Hulk himself can end once and for all.
3. The Leader
With the next two villains, we’ll admit that we’re rewriting cinematic history, as these villains were featured in The Incredible Hulk but weren’t given their full due as threats. The Leader is one of the Hulk’s greatest villains — he easily support a standalone Hulk movie — but since there are none of those on the horizon, we can at least hope for an appearance in Thor: Ragnarok.
Blessed with super-intelligence and an oversized forehead due to gamma radiation, The Leader uses intricate planning rather than brute force to challenge the Hulk. However, many of his most memorable schemes could easily be adapted to the big screen.
What kind of schemes are we referring to? Some examples: Hiring other villains to do his bidding; creating an international spy ring to overthrow the US government; and creating a machine that torments the Hulk with false images of previous baddies he’s fought.
Generally, overloading a comic book film with villains is a bad idea, but it could work if Abomination and The Leader teamed up to fight the Hulk and Thor together. They make a natural odd couple; The Leader with his master intellect and Abomination with his otherworldly strength, strong enough to challenge the Hulk despite his general subservience.
Abomination is exactly what he sounds like, a KGB agent turned into a Hulk-esque monster due to even greater levels of radiation, blessing him with the gimmicky but nonetheless intimidating power to grow larger as he gets angrier. In terms of brute force battles, it would be difficult to get much more exciting than Hulk versus Abomination.
5. Dr. Doom
Now that we’ve just about accepted the fact that we won’t get a decent Fantastic Four movie (not any time soon at least), maybe 20th Century Fox can loan out the superhero team’s badass archrival to the Marvel Studios team.
Doctor Doom has enormous potential as a villain, given his status as the leader of Latveria (another of many fictional nations in the MCU?), his enormous intellect, and his abilities to create force fields or summon hordes of demonic creatures. Dr. Doom did once defeat Hulk in Fantastic Four #320 (sort of) by scrambling his brain and forcing him to do his bidding.
If we learned one thing from Captain America: Civil War, it’s that Marvel’s heroes can shine brightest when they’re duking it out among themselves rather than against an interchangeable foe like, say, Ultron. We’ve already seen the Hulk face off against the strongest suit in the Iron Man arsenal, but how would the Asgardian God of thunder fare against the angry green giant?
Since Thor: Ragnarok is his movie, we’d have to assume he’d find some way to win with the help of his trusty hammer Mjolnir or a lightning bolt, as he once did in 2001’s Incredible Hulk Annual, but seeing the circumstances of the battle and the battle itself could be a real treat for fans.
Marvel released a synopsis for Thor: Ragnarok that confirms he will battle the Hulk (albeit unwillingly):
In Marvel Studios’ Thor: Ragnarok, Thor is imprisoned on the other side of the universe without his mighty hammer and finds himself in a race against time to get back to Asgard to stop Ragnarok – the destruction of his homeworld and the end of Asgardian civilization – at the hands of an all-powerful new threat, the ruthless Hela. But first he must survive a deadly gladatorial contest that pits him against his former ally and fellow Avenger – the Incredible Hulk!
Fans got an up-close look at the formidable armor that Hulk will wear in the upcoming movie, thanks to an image taken by Ryan Penagos (@agentm) via Instagram.
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