So before we start, you know by now from the title that this article contains SPOILERS for Avengers: Infinity War:
Ok, if you are still here, you’ve either seen the movie or don’t care about being spoiled.
Avengers: Infinity War had an unexpected arc for Bruce Banner. After Hulking out at the very start of the film and losing badly to Thanos, the Hulk then refused to come out to play for the rest of the movie. Thus Banner himself had to use the Hulkbuster armor to help defend Wakanda from Thanos attack.
It’s fair to say audience expectations were probably for Banner to Hulk out for the final showdown — he was in the money shot of that first trailer, after all. Therefore, it was a surprise when the Hulk refused to appear, even at the end of the movie. (I have a theory on Hulk for Avengers 4, but I’ll leave that for another piece.)
The Russo brothers, speaking at an event for the Smithsonian Associates this past week, talked about their decision to keep Hulk away from the action.
Joe Russo had this to say about the decision to have Banner himself front and center of this movie:
“We have to be very careful with the character of Banner. Because if every time he’s in trouble Hulk saves him. Hulk becomes the hero and he becomes whiny. We wanted to force Banner to be the hero.”
The Russos also explained that the decision to have Hulk appear in the trailers during the battle of Wakanda was a deliberate misdirection to prevent fans from fully figuring out the movies final act. This would indicate Hulk was never supposed to be a part of that final battle. Normally, I would accept the Russos at their word on this one. However, toys and other marketing all showing Hulk busting out of the Hulkbuster armor at the climax makes me think this was a change made much later in the process. I would also highlight the frankly ropey CGI on some of the later Banner Hulkbuster scenes as evidence that this may not have been planned as far in advance as the Russos would have us believe?
Personally, I think keeping Hulk away really helped to allow Thor’s entrance to have a bigger impact. It’s likely my favourite moment of the movie, as the hairs stand up on the back of your neck when Thor appears with Groot and Rocket and starts kicking butt.
What did you think of the decision to keep Banner from Hulking out in Avengers: Infinity War? Let us know in the comments below.
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