Spoilers ahead for Avengers: Infinity War
Avengers: Infinity War had a surprising little twist by pulling back on the Hulk. Previous movies have offered a solid mix of Bruce Banner and “the other guy” (Mark Ruffalo in both roles), and while they may lean in one direction or the other (Avengers is more Banner, Thor: Ragnarok is more Hulk), they both share the screen. Infinity War changed things up a bit by only having Hulk at the very beginning of the movie, and then he can’t be coaxed out again despite Banner’s protestations. For the first time, it seems like the Hulk is scared.
That’s an interesting place to take the character, and I’m hoping Avengers 4 takes a bit more time to explore it. Banner is a fascinating hero because unlike other superheroes, he doesn’t want to be super. He doesn’t get to choose to put on a suit of armor or take a special serum. He wants to do good, but the Hulk can’t be controlled. If anything, Hulk took more control in Thor: Ragnarok, putting Banner “in the trunk” for two years.
Now we see the Hulk arguably afraid to come out after taking a beating at the hands of Thanos. In some ways, this should be Banner’s dream come true. He’s always wanted to find a way to get rid of Hulk and to stop being on the run. If Hulk has decided he never wants to come out again, then Banner can just be Banner. And yet the one time Banner decides he needs to big guy, Hulk is nowhere to be found.
We’re probably never going to get another solo Hulk movie as long as Universal owns the rights to the character, so we have to take what we can get in these crossover movies. Infinity War has laid some interesting groundwork for what can be done with Hulk, and it’s possible that an arc in Avengers 4 could be Banner not just trying to coax out the Hulk, but experimenting with Hulk variations like we’ve seen in the comics.
Ultimately, I think where we’re headed with Banner is him coming to peace with Hulk, which would bring the character full circle back to Avengers, except this time he’s not on the run. If Thor: Ragnarok is mostly Hulk and Avengers: Infinity War is mostly Banner, then it stands to reason that the last movie of this pseudo-trilogy for the character would allow for a balance between the two. Even Thanos could appreciate that.
For more of Avengers: Infinity War coverage, click on the links below.
- The Biggest Spoilery Questions We Have after ‘Avengers: Infinity War’
- Here’s Why There’s Less [SPOILER] in ‘Infinity War’ Than You Expect
- Kevin Feige on the ‘Avengers 4′ Title, Marvel Reshoots, Comic-Con, ‘Black Panther 2′, and More
- How Will ‘Avengers 4’ Resolve That ‘Infinity War’ Cliffhanger?