Marvel Studios to Redeem Hulk Following ‘Avengers: Endgame’

Avengers: Endgame was a cinematic masterpiece — a narratively satisfying, emotionally stirring, action-packed, and visually captivating spectacle (even if a few scenes felt forced). The movie provided the perfect denoument for Tony Stark, as his sacrifice embodied the culmination of his long-gestating character arc from selfish egotist to selfless savior. 

Mark Ruffalo (Hulk) at Avengers: Endgame Premiere
Mark Ruffalo attends the world premiere of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures ‘Avengers: Endgame’ | Amy Sussman/Getty Images

An elderly Captain America relinquished the mantle to Falcon. Black Widow put Hawkeye (and the preservation of his family unit) before herself, and the list goes on and on. 

When it comes to the six OG Avengers, most of them were treated with the respect they deserved. However, many fans argue that Hulk was stripped of his dignity and reduced to the film’s laughing stock. Thus, Marvel Studios has some mending to do when it comes to Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner. Before venturing into how Marvel plans to repair the damage done, let’s discuss why fans were disappointed with Hulk in the final installment.

Why fans were disappointed with Hulk in ‘Avengers: Endgame’ 

While Hulk — because of legal issues — cannot make his way to the silver screen in a standalone installment, that hasn’t stopped Marvel from adequately developing his character over the Infinity saga. However, fans argue that the Russo Brothers dropped the ball in Endgame, aiming for humor over dignity. One fan explained:

The problem isn’t that he doesn’t have solo films, he had plenty of good moments and development during Phase 2 with the first two Avengers films.

The problem is that the MCU is wasting his screentime now going for stupid “funny” stuff like having him dab or wearing Tony Stark’s clothes. He’s been in three films in the past three films and it doesn’t feel like we’ve seen the Hulk at all during that time because he’s been written like a joke!

Reddit User 

Other fans chimed in with support, noting that the development for Professor Hulk was subpar; rather than seeing brains and brawn adequately fused, fans received a smart Hulk resilient to the smash and stomp behavior that has iconicized the character throughout history.

He needed more screentime, as one fan explained; more exploratory opportunities. Rather than being an OG Avenger worthy of equal treatment, he became another vehicle for comic relief, did not contribute equally to the action sequences, and lacked the development needed to become the so-called “new and improved” Hulk we saw. 

How will Marvel improve Hulk in the MCU moving forward

Bruce Banner will presumably play an important role in She-Hulk. In the comics, he is responsible for turning Jennifer Walters into She-Hulk; however, even if the movies go astray, Bruce Banner will likely serve to groom Jennifer Walters and introduce her into the MCU. 

If Bruce Banner introduces Jennifer Walters into the MCU, he will pave the way for her to team up with the A-Force following Avengers: Endgame. Furthermore, since he is one of the OG Avengers, he will likely provide a thread to the saviors of the past, while acting as a mentor to the new heroes who join the party. 

Marvel will have the opportunity to combine brains and brawn appropriately — allowing the Hulk to dish out words of wisdom and advice (from his years as an Avenger) while utilizing his physical capabilities in tandem. He will take on a fatherly role in the franchise, coming to emulate the importance Iron Man and Captain America retained.  Rather than becoming a funny and smart Hulk who dabs, he will become a wise Hulk with a sense of humor, who still packs a punch.