As an avid Marvel Fan (Comics, TV & Movies), I think it's high time we got a Hulk solo movie. Not because it's been 7 years since we had one, but because at this stage I actually genuinely think it's necessary to the MCU to have one. In only seeing Banner / Hulk in the Avengers movies, one of the biggest problems we face as an audience is missing out on chunks of his character development.
Every other Avenger has a solo movie between films, so that we are constantly updated and inundated with their lives. Not a moment goes by where we can't say what an Avenger is either up to or has been up to. The same can't necessarily always be said for Banner.
Here's why Hulk needs a little love too.
Because we need to erase past Hulk ventures immediately. Specifically one.
Cue, Hulk (2003, Ang Lee)
That sad, soppy green blob of CGI you see up there? Yup, that's gotta go. Ang Lee's 2003 "Hulk" was painful to watch for a number of reasons. Whilst the world does a collective job of trying to actively ignore this movie, the odd pic still shows up every once in a while. Continuing and furthering the character of Hulk beyond just The Avengers movies, will inundate us with a whole new host of images, clips and gifs - better ones that are more accurate to the character, so that the emotional wounds we endured watching this film, can finally begin to heal.
This film showed us exactly what not do whilst making a Hulk movie. Wasting nearly 4 minutes of screen-time whilst The freaking Hulk fights a bunch of mutated dogs, is definitely not the way to go, especially with a character who has so much potential and possibility. Not only that, but he had numerous problems in the way of character development both as The Hulk and Bruce Banner.
Whilst Eric Bana has a name similiar in sound to the comic book character, that's where the similiarities ended. He pretty much looked either constipated, or like an angst-ridden teenager throughout the film, it was pathetic. And Hulk wasn't any better, if we're being honest here. He looked confused as hell for 90% of the movie. Couple that with the montage screen transitions, and general stupid narrative, and it makes for a pretty crappy film. But it's ok, we can learn from this people. We don't have to go down this road ever again.
Because no-one knows where The Incredible Hulk (2008, Louis Leterrier) stands in the MCU.
Admittedly, this next point could just be me. But it seems to me that The Incredible Hulk is only part of the MCU, as and when Marvel choose. i.e -
This film was infinetly better than the 2003 film, and Ed Norton actually did a good job as Banner, although, to be fair, anything after Bana would've been good. The CGI had stepped up, with the filmmakers suddenly discovering Muscles and texture to the skin of The Hulk. He may have looked a little veiny at times, but this Hulk had definition. More freedom and movement of facial expression so that he didn't look constipated and upset the whole time. This Hulk, actually had quite a scary, almost "monster-y" look to him compared to the last, and coupled with the darker tone of the film, actually made for a pretty solid movie.
Perspective with The Hulk when you have him stand face to face with a human will always be a slight issue, but for the most part, the more defined, muscled Hulk complete with bad boy hair, made for a better appearance and character over all. Norton, whilst not my cup of tea, did a good job. He was a little too much on the skinny nerdy side for me, to where the contrast between Banner & The Hulk was too much - something akin to Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.
The only real problem with this movie, is that like I said, we see footage of it in The Avengers (2012, Joss Whedon) as a reference to a backstory for Hulk, and Natasha sort of references it when she alludes to SHIELD having always kept an eye on his whereabouts, but how does Banner even know about SHIELD? Other than a post credits scene where Tony Stark visits General Ross and tells him he's putting together a team, there's no real allusion to SHIELD in the movie. And even if Stark had said it then and there outright, Banner was NOT there to hear it. When Natasha officially recruits him in The Avengers, all in all the recruitment goes pretty smoothly, with Banner agreeing to help on the Tesseract project, with very few questions asked. Which suggests that Banner knows about SHIELD, but HOW?
There's also this ,
The film ends with the allusion that Banner can control his anger, and therefore his change into The Hulk. He essentially confirms this in The Avengers with the whole "That's my secret, I'm always angry" - Cue ultimate badass transformation in 3, 2, 1.
This is great! He can control it! I took the end of the film, coupled with Banner's words in The Avengers to mean the following.
Banner is always angry (his heart rate is always up?) and can therefore "control" when he turns into the Hulk, as it's not a matter of him getting angry, losing control and becoming the beast - The anger never leaves him, so that control is always with him.
But then, then we were hit with [The Avengers: Age Of Ultron](tag:293035), and the missile from the first film that Stark thought he had planted on the Chitauri? Yeah, no, he really planted that in Banner's continuity and character development.
The Banner we see in Age of Ultron, is one akin to the angst-ridden teen of Ang Lee's Hulk. That's a road we DON'T want to go down without good reason people. Age of Ultron Banner was depressed and angst-ridden as sh*t. He barely had a hand in helping the team despite the fact that if anyone could take Ultron on a few rounds as a diversion, it would be him, and NOT Cap', and on top of that, he was the centre of some weird as f*ck, out of nowhere, fan-fiction bullsh*t with Natasha. (Uh.....Betty? Is Betty still..? Are ya'll even still a thing??)
I would like to know when this relationship developed please?
The last time we saw these two on screen together, Hulk was chasing her through a Helicarrier trying to kill her, and she was running for her life. Shortly after that, 2 years had passed in the continuity from The Avengers to The Winter Soldier, and Natasha and Cap had sparked up a BFF relationship. No mention of Hulk. So, between the events of The Winter Soldier and Age of Ultron, when and how did this "spark" ignite between Widow and Banner? The downfall of SHIELD would've possibly given her some downtime, but considering her and Banner weren't all that close before, I doubt either one ran to eachother in Baywatch Slow-Mo for a "lullaby".
Or you know...to play "hide the zucchini".
So, when did this happen Marvel?
Since when did Hulk need a lullaby and a lollipop, to change back into Banner?
We, the faithful audience of movie-goers, comic book fans, and a few disgruntled DC fanboys, are confused as to how Banner now somehow...can't control his change??
We were given to understand that he could. I mean he strolled up to the battle in New York on a scooter, had a chat, and waited until the last second to change and SMASH the Chitauri into oblivion. You don't play around like that unless you KNOW you have control. So, we walk into Age of Ultron, and are expected to just...accept, that a previously in control Hulk / Banner, is now very much out of control, and the person that helps him, isn't scientist BFF Stark, or on-again off-again frenemy Thor. It's not even noble SuperSoldier Cap. No, it's the goddamn spy that he never liked in the first place, and didn't trust.
Holy Plot Holes.
The thing is, these are all small plot holes that could easily be patched up with a solo movie. Of course Marvel has their films planned for the 4-5 years, and nowhere in that is a Hulk solo movie. The last time we saw Hulk, he had begun a budding romance, or maybe a full swing romance since she was so ready to hop in the shower with him - funny thing to do with a man who can no longer control himself, but hey? As long as you have your lullaby's-
I'm sorry, I'm going off track, let me continue.
So, Hulk had a budding romance, he'd gone mad in a small town under Scarlet Witch's mind control, and had garnered a terrible reaciton from locals, which had caused him to feel terribly ashamed. He flew himself off in a Quintjet in stealth mode, so he couldn't be traced, and left Natasha to continue her BFF relationship with Cap with a whole new team of Avengers.
We've got a few movies out before Avengers Infinity War Part 1, and none of those are a Hulk solo film. Neither of the films coming out feauture a cameo from Hulk or Banner that we know of. When we next see him, it'll be years on from Age of Ultron, and once again his character development will be squashed into an action-packed, team-up film with one of the biggest and baddest villains in the Marvel Universe.
So yeah. We probably won't get much in the way of character development.
It's a real shame that this is the case, because I think we can all agree, that Marvel found a great talent in hiring Mark Ruffalo as Banner /The Hulk. He came into the franchise pretty late in the game, taking on from an actor who is a friend of his - who had actually done a good job - and completely blew people's minds with his portrayal of the character. He didn't overdo it like his predecessor's, so you can't help but feel a little peeved, when the entire MCU get's shifted for yet ANOTHER teen Spidey, and yet still we see no Hulk solo movie.
The potential is there. It's up to Marvel to tap into that.
*cough World War Hulk cough*