WARNING!!! SPOILERS AHEAD!!!
Avengers; Endgame is a 2019 superhero action film directed by Joe Russo and Anthony Russo. Starring an ensemble cast including, among others, Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth and Mark Ruffalo, the plot revolves around the surviving Avengers reeling from the aftermath of the decimation of half the universe by Thanos and their quest to restore everything back via a ‘time heist’.
2 down, 4 more to go in the O.G-six series. Next up is a character who didn’t have much of an inviting arc in the recent Marvel film as Hawk-Eye’s or Black Widow’s nonetheless, he played an important role in the ‘time heist’ mission; some would say, the most important role of all. You know him best as the gamma radiation specialist with a rather outspoken temper issue and one half of the ‘science bros’.
Bruce Banner/Hulk is a character who I believe deserved a bigger piece of the M.C.U story-line pie than he’s gotten up until this point. I can’t blame Marvel Studios for this because their hands are tied thanks to another famous film studio company in Universal. Basically, Universal owns the rights to any standalone Hulk movie, however the character can appear in Avengers movies where his name isn’t in the title. What a load of nonsense I must say.
This tie in with Universal, I believe, excessively prevented much of the character’s story from being told hence he’s always been sort of a side character as from 2008’s Incredible Hulk going forward. The latter film, though not perfect, had some interesting aspects that I think could have been explored in the M.C.U over the last 10 years i.e his life as a fugitive after the battle of Harlem, his on and off relationship with Betty Ross, the return of the Abomination, the list is endless. We would have gotten all this and much more through a couple of Hulk sequels, easily.
That said, I love how Marvel Studios has maneuvered through the issues associated with the Hulk and managed to develop the character either way. In the first Avengers installment, he was just a runaway ambushed by S.H.I.E.L.D and brought on to help track the stolen Tesseract. At that point, he had had a long streak of not turning into the green guy because of his acceptance of who he was after previously trying to kill himself as well as his desire to keep the monster at bay.
The events that transpire from when the Helicarrier is attacked and his alter-ego wrecks havoc rekindles his original struggles all over again. Even though the Hulk does a lot of good in the movie in fighting the Chitauri army, he also does a lot of bad in the next installment when he ploughs through a section of the populated New York City in an uncontrolled rage.
Later on, he fights an army of robots and saves the world nonetheless, knowing that he can be corrupted and used as a tool, he exiles himself and goes to Sakaar where he can be much less of a threat. On the planet, he meets Thor and they embark on an incredible mission to save the Asgardians. It’s a mission that he eventually fails at with the coming of Thanos who ends up beating the Hulk so bad that he unexpectedly fails to make an appearance when Banner needs him the most in Infinity War.
The point I am trying to put across in all this is that Banner and Hulk have been through a roller-coaster ride of events. The latter have been characterized by a wave of emotions that have made them drift even further away from each other. On one hand, we have Banner who thinks of Hulk as a disease that needs curing but at the same time wants to use him as a pawn. On the other hand, we have the Hulk who belittles Banner as someone who is defenseless and only uses him as a tool hence his desire to be in control of things.
Sooner rather than later, Banner was bound to bend to the Hulk’s will but he does it on his terms. He uses his genius-level intellect to create a win-win situation; putting the brains and the brawns together hence creating a merge of the two entities, Professor Hulk. It’s a merger that not only helps the two entities co-exist but also helps the Avengers restore back half of life in the universe. Why? You ask? Well, let’s face it, there is no way the Hulk as a separate entity would have composed himself enough to snap his fingers. Only Professor Hulk could have the power and rationality needed to do it.
Though Endgame makes a massive comic relief character out of him for a better part of the film, his act of valour in the beginning of the 3rd Act perfectly culminates the character’s journey throughout the M.C.U. A journey of self-identity that ends up being integral to the fate of the universe.