The Master of the Mystic Arts takes on the bipolar rage monster in our first matchup of the MCU Madness Tournament. After just missing the cut for a first-round bye, Doctor Strange looks to advance as the top seed participating in Round 1. On the other side, the ultimate underdog as The Incredible Hulk is widely considered as a bottom tier MCU film. Will the green machine pull off the upset? Or does the Sorcerer Supreme have too many tricks up his sleeve? VOTE BELOW!
Director: Scott Derrickson
Box Office: $677,718,395
Synopsis: Dr. Stephen Strange's (Benedict Cumberbatch) life changes after a car accident robs him of the use of his hands. When traditional medicine fails him, he looks for healing, and hope, in a mysterious enclave. He quickly learns that the enclave is at the front line of a battle against unseen dark forces bent on destroying reality. Before long, Strange is forced to choose between his life of fortune and status or leave it all behind to defend the world as the most powerful sorcerer in existence.
Pros: Doctor Strange is the last true origin story we have seen in the MCU so far. The journey of Stephen Strange from an arrogant superstar surgeon to a humbled Sorcerer Supreme shows a great character arch throughout the film. Fans also get one of the most interesting and unique final battles in MCU history with the famous "I've come to bargain" scene.
Cons: While this movie has many unique moments and story devices, it tends to fall into the common trap of the origin story in structure and villain. The linear progression of a jerk, to training, to fighting the anti-Stephen Strange forces comparisons to the original Iron Man film, which may seem slightly "cut & paste". We also see a love interest with Rachel McAdam's character that does not seem to have a lot behind it, at least not yet.
Director: Louis Leterrier
Box Office: $263,427,551
Synopsis: Scientist Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) desperately seeks a cure for the gamma radiation that contaminated his cells and turned him into The Hulk. Cut off from his true love Betty Ross (Liv Tyler) and forced to hide from his nemesis, General Thunderbolt Ross (William Hurt), Banner soon comes face-to-face with a new threat: a supremely powerful enemy known as The Abomination (Tim Roth).
Pros: While this movie is considered by many as one of the worst in the MCU, it does have more excuses than most. This movie came out almost directly following Iron Man in 2008. This movie acted as a safety net of sorts to Marvel Studios president Kevin Fiege and co. in case their risky approach to Iron Man fell through and failed. The movie does feature some comic book fan-favorite characters such as Betty Ross, Thunderbolt Ross and The Leader.
Cons: Unfortunately for this matchup, The Incredible Hulk falls to the same comic book movie traps as Doctor Strange without any of the unique twists. Bruce Banner is shown gaining his powers, learning to control them (kind of) and then being pitted against his evil equivalent at the end. And if you have seen The Hulk in any movie since this one, we do not need to talk about the CGI.
Other Round 1 Matchups: