If you weren't there to see it all come together in real time, it's hard to accurately convey how exciting it was to see Nick Fury show up at the end of Iron Man and hint at the idea of a full-on shared universe of superhero movies. When The Incredible Hulk hit theaters a month later, however, it didn't seem quite as exciting—even when Tony Stark dropped in after the credits to lay the groundwork for the Avengers.
In all honesty, The Incredible Hulk isn't bad, it just happens to be the most forgettable movie in the entire franchise. It's the one nobody ever remembers, which is a real shame when you consider that it does so much right. For one thing, if you're going to make a movie about a nerdy scientist with anger issues so powerful they could level a whole town, getting the guy who starred in Fight Club to play Bruce Banner is a pretty solid move.
For another, even though it took a lot of care to distance itself from Ang Lee's Hulk, the filmmakers realized that since it came out only five years earlier, audiences didn't need a full-blown origin story to get up to speed. Instead, what we get a revised origin tied into Captain America and the Super Soldier program, which serves as a first stumbling step towards building the full-on shared universe that these movies would eventually inhabit. Unfortunately, it just didn't quite land. After two movies in as many months, it would be two more years before the MCU would get another film, and four years before the Hulk would return, with Mark Ruffalo taking over from the role from Ed Norton.