When it comes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), standalone installments often serve to flesh out characters — providing internal reflections and developing intricate interpersonal relationships on which to build the foundation for mash-up films likeCaptain America: Civil War and The Avengers.
Steve Rogers, Tony Stark, Peter Parker, Carol Danvers, and even Scott Lang have received solo movies. Fans watch these heroes take down fierce adversaries all by their lonesome, while they struggle with differing familial relationships and friendships. However, some Avengers who deserve solo treatments have yet to receive them. One, in particular, has failed to enter the spotlight alone due to legalities.
Universal has a “first-dibs” situation with Hulk, which allows Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk to appear in MCU team-ups; however, as for a solo feature, it’s a no go for Disney. However, recent news from We Got This Covered suggests that Marvel may soon have “full control of Hulk.”
MCU Cosmic’s Jeremy Conrad recently reported that he has heard a rumor from a “very reliable” source that Marvel has gained full rights to Bruce Banner. If this is true, he is the one hero who deserves a standalone installment, and the MCU would greatly benefit from giving the Jade Giant a spotlight of redemption.
Why Hulk deserves a standalone installment (but not an origin story) in the MCU
Many fans agree that Avengers: Endgame turned Bruce Banner into a laughing stock — a dabbing Professor Hulk, resilient to use his might and secondary to the primary saviors. The character lost his dignity, and while Professor Hulk is supposed to be a merging of the two polar identities — Banner and Hulk — the depiction implied that Banner had come to “control” the Hulk, rather than coexist with him.
Not to mention, the Worf Effect is often exploited via Hulk — maximizing a foe’s formidable nature, while minimizing the Jade Giant’s potential and strength. The Worf Effect refers to a narrative tendency, in which writers portray a new character defeating a character who is known to be extremely powerful, immediately placing the new guy towards the top of the power rankings.
When overused, the “old strong” character becomes the Worf — a Star Wars character who gave the effect its name. However, rather than going back in time, with an origin story, the MCU would benefit from proceeding forward from Avengers: Endgame.
Why the MCU’s Hulk narrative should proceed ‘Avengers: Endgame’
If a Hulk standalone movie featuring Mark Ruffalo is a possibility, Marvel Studios should capitalize on the redemptive capacity. Meaning, an origin story is a waste of time, as the character has been adequately developed from such a perspective. Instead, a follow-up to Avengers: Endgame, in which the Hulk is shown grappling with the fact that he is one of the only original saviors left, would be more impactful.
A follow-up to Avengers: Endgame could feature Professor Hulk truly accepting his stomp and smash alter-ego, allowing him to exist openly when need be. Banner should not be ashamed of the Hulk’s tendencies, but rather proud of what he is capable of. A Hulk solo movie could fix the mistakes Endgame made with the character, giving back a little respect the lastest narrative seized.
If a Hulk solo movie proceeds Avengers: Endgame, the movie could portray Hulk stepping into a leadership position, as new and untrained saviors come to accept the hero’s journey. He will definitely introduce She-Hulk, but he could also serve to introduce and mentor other characters destined to be New Avengers.
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