In 2017, Thor: Ragnarok became the first Marvel movie to allocate more screen time to Hulk than Bruce Banner, but, the ratio was reversed in Avengers: Infinity War. The green monster made a superb entry in the opening sequence of the film, jumping into a boxing bout with Thanos, but, after getting thoroughly thrashed, he disappeared. Not just that, the monster refused to “come out” when he was asked to emerge, and that made us wonder what’s the deal with him?
We watched the MCU portrayal of Hulk in four films before Avengers: Infinity War released (The Incredible Hulk, The Avengers, The Avengers: Age of Ultron and Thor: Ragnarok). Although that is not at par with the exposure given to the other heroes, we have still learned some details about him. Especially, we know that he is not the guy who would back off from a fight. In fact, we must recall how he tried to attack a fully powered Surtur in Thor: Ragnarok. He relishes going smash at any given opportunity, to an extent due to his feeling of being confined by Bruce Banner, but, majorly because he loves to display his strength. The fact is, it is easy to jump into every battle when you believe you are the strongest being in the universe.
The Hulk’s problem might be that after that thrashing by Thanos, he suffered a great damage to his self-esteem and confidence after being beaten by Thanos. Before that fight, nobody could ever beat him, and it was a terrible end to his winning streak. Now the monster is facing self-doubts and doesn’t even want to appear on a battlefield. The solace is that Bruce is capable of operating the Hulkbusterarmor and that would be handy in the Battle of Wakanda. However, the duo has some unresolved interpersonal issues to deal with.
What makes this equation more appealing is to see it in the context of what Mark Ruffalo had stated during the Thor: Ragnarok press meet last year. Back then he had clarified that he met Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige to talk about the future of the character. Their conversation resulted in the creation of a particular trilogy narrative spanning across Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4. We think the next summer is going to witness some amazing twists.
Looking at it from an overall perspective, Thor: Ragnarok happened to be a film which put Hulk in charge, and his strength nearly killed Bruce Banner. In Avengers: Infinity War Bruce is back at the controls, but, the thing is that while he always wanted to get rid of the green monster, this is the moment when he needs him, and he doesn’t show up. This makes us believe that the next chapter would be to show them work in tandem in Avengers 4. Therefore, it might be a film where we see the power of Hulk guided by the smartness of Bruce Banner.
However, it is all pure speculation at present. The only thing working here is that Bruce Banner survived the ending of Avengers: Infinity War which keeps this idea alive. Let’s wait until May 2019 to see how things pan out when Avengers 4 hits the theaters.