When it comes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), there’s always an imminent threat, as well as overarching character journeys, interpersonal conflicts, and a long-gestating story at play in each installment. Placing infinity Stones throughout the saga preceding Thanos’ introduction was well executed. Captain America and Tony Stark’s rivalry turned loyal friendship was adequately developed. Tony Stark and Peter Parker’s father-son dynamic was a slow boil, starting in Civil War, and coming to a head when Parker slipped from Stark’s grasp, fading into the abyss in Infinity War.
While several secondary stories throughout the MCU earned positive fan and critical reception (thus, almost every installment in the Infinity Saga received positive reviews and opened to box office success), not all subplots were created equal. When it comes down to it, many MCU fans agree that the foundation for Black Widow and Hulk’s romance was weak, and the execution felt lazy and forced.
What fans have to say about Black Widow and Hulk’s romance in the MCU
While everyone loves Black Widow and Hulk and, though Scarlett Johansson and Mark Ruffalo did their best to deliver chemistry and create tension via some cheesy dialogue in Age of Ultron, the romance between the two characters just never really stuck. In an online Reddit discussion about the Black Widow/ Hulk romance, fans explained what they didn’t like. One fan focused on its lack of substantiation, stating:
…It seemed to come out of nowhere, was set up awkwardly, and had some pretty stupid details (Bruce faceplanting in Nat’s bossom, any quips about zucchini). And then it ended, because the Hulk ran off. Then we had that one scene in IW, where everyone looked at each other kind of awkwardly.Reddit User
While many fans agreed with the above sentiment, chiming in with concurring viewpoints focusing on the lack of foundation, others noted that it was a bad idea from the start and that Black Widow should have wound up with Cap. One fan stated:
It was the worst ideal that the MCU ever had and was one of the things that really damaged AoU. Every time they were on screen together the movie came to a clanging halt and when BW tries to explain why she wants Bruce you don’t believe a word she says…(IF)you wanted to have any romantic paring it should’ve been Natasha and Steve. They should have come together in WS and maintain a serious relationship throughout the films. Not only do the characters work but Evans and Johansson have been a couple in two other movies so they know how to do this.Reddit User
In short, the MCU may have been nearly flawless, with Kevin Feige’s brilliant vision guiding the entire Infinity Saga; however, it wasn’t without its drawbacks, and the 23-film narrative did encounter a few hiccups along the way. Most noticeable: the forced romance between Black Widow and Hulk in Age of Ultron. The movie already had a great deal of ground to cover — setting up Civil War and Infinity War — and, many agree, the writers bit off more than they could chew.