Avengers: Infinity War reviews are fun to write because there's just so much. Over the last few days, I covered that I don't like spoilers, that Iron Man learned that fighting back was useless, and that Thor unlearned everything he had learned from his movies. Now we're gonna get into Bruce Banner and his alter ego Hulk and really learn that this movie is kinda unreviewable.
Hulk bursts onto the scene here fighting Thanos. Boom, Hulk smash right off the heels of fighting a big demon puppy thing that was supposed to usher in the end of Asgard during Ragnarok. So of course Thanos kicks his ass up and down. Chalk that up to the two Infinity Stones Thanos is carrying causing the Mad Titan to be stronger than your average bear. He's gone toe to toe with Thor and Thor starts of beaten, so sure.
Heimdall in his final act sends Hulk to New York to warn Doctor Strange. Strange gets Iron Man, which is lucky because uh oh, Thanos's children come to town. Unfortunately, Hulk won't come to play which embarrasses Iron Man in front of the wizards and Spider-man has to help. After Iron Man, Strange, and Spiderman go to space, Bruce calls Captain America.
Banner then turns up at the Avengers headquarters. One awkward moment later and they head to Wakanda. There's some science talk about Vision Mind Stone and Bruce is loaded into the Hulkbuster armor for the big fight. Hulk still won't come out, so Banner uses his wits to kill one of Thanos's children. Then there's the snap heard round the universe and nothing else happens with the Hulk.
Let me be clear. The acting is fine. Mark Ruffalo plays Banner with this weird nebbish mad scientist out of touch vibe that works. He's awkward and smart and often just a little freaked out. The one thing I have to say is that because of the weird nerdy air, his anger seems very whiny especially at the end when he tells Hulk "screw you." It works.
In the narrative, though, Hulk is useless and Banner doubly so. Sure, the characters felt awkward with that moment between Banner and Natasha, but I never felt that relationship was real. Outside of that one movie, we never saw it. No real meeting or connecting, no real moments of them as a couple. Their shared moment encapsulated most of what I felt was wrong with Age of Ultron, too little.
The only people we've ever really seen Banner have a relationship with are Tony Stark and Betty Ross. Stark and Banner's relationship, even in the context of being Vision's parents, has never been explored and Betty Ross got dumped hard from the MCU to the point where General Ross doesn't even seem to give a shit about Banner anymore. You'd think there would be at least one awkward Thanksgiving joke.
Again, this is only half a movie. I hope that Avengers 4 finds Banner and Natasha as a cute couple now that he won't Hulk out when they sex it up. I hope we get him inventing cool things in the hopes that they can reverse what Thanos did. Finally, I hope that we get the Professor Hulk with Banner's mind in Hulk's body. That would give his relationship some trouble (or not, sex joke here), and create one of the funniest things to me about that period of Hulk comics: Hulk's rage filled mind in Banner's weak body pounding on superheroes who are all "dude, what are you doing?"
Update: I didn't mind the little head shot in the Hulkbuster armor where he says they are screwed. I think it was supposed to look bad and was kinda funny.