NOTE: This article contains minor SPOILERS for Thor: Ragnarok
When Thanos comes for the Avengers in Infinity War, only the Hulk can prepare them for an evil on this scale. The villain is presumed to have revealed himself at the end of Thor: Ragnarok (or his spaceship at least), before pummeling the god of thunder into space, and likely acquiring one Infinity Stone from Loki. With Thor forging a new weapon with some help from the Guardians of the Galaxy, it falls to Bruce Banner to return to Earth and unite the heroes of the MCU. After Civil War, that's a task easier said than done.
But nothing reunites some feuding heroes like a villain of cosmic proportions, and with two Infinity Stones in the possession of MCU heroes, the battle is going to get personal - fast. As we learned on our visit to the Infinity War set, not only will Bruce Banner see firsthand what Thanos can do... but his Hulk half may actually be an admirer.
There are still questions about what takes place between Thor: Ragnarok's ending and Infinity War, and how Dr. Bruce Banner comes crashing into the Sanctum Sanctorum of Doctor Strange. Whatever it is, fans can assume it's the same event that sees Thor left for dead but saved by the Guardians (and Loki removed from the story altogether, apparently). Bruce may not know it, but in the current state of the MCU, Doctor Strange may be the Marvel hero best equipped for the job.
Speaking with Mark Ruffalo on the set of Infinity War, he confirmed that Bruce Banner will quickly become the Thanos expert of the Avengers. Which, in this case, means convincing Earth's heroes that something unlike any villain before is approaching:
Mark Ruffalo: Banner knows more about Thanos than probably anybody and he's really trying to impress on everybody how dangerous he is. It's a little bit of a Chicken Little (scenario). He comes in screaming bloody murder... He's seen what damage he can cause and how powerful he is and the entire group is in disarray so he's also getting caught up on what's happened here and is trying to get them to transcend their differences and impress upon them how much danger they're actually facing.
To this point, fans focused on analyzing trailers and TV spots have had a difficult time deciphering the Hulk's role in Infinity War. After fearing that transforming into the Hulk one more time might be the end of 'Dr. Bruce Banner,' it seems Ruffalo's character is still in control. Which is good news, since it's hard to imagine the Hulk constructing a compelling argument for the Avengers to set aside their differences.
Yet the talk continues of Bruce Banner and Hulk's story being integral to all of this Thanos madness. As the one Earthbound cast member of Avengers 3 who has actually seen Thanos up close, Bruce seems successful in uniting his friends (new and old). Of course, there's also the question of exactly what Hulk gets up to by the time the movie ends, assuming the struggle for control continues from Ragnarok to Infinity War. When we raised the question with Ruffalo, his answer proved more intriguing than expected...
That sounds like a good Banner reaction, but does The Hulk feel any differently?
Mark Ruffalo: The Hulk is also mightily impressed by Thanos.
Read into that comment what you will. Could Ruffalo be suggesting that Banner and Hulk don't just have different desires, but different opinions of Thanos? Or could this incredible threat be what's needed for Banner and Hulk to forge some kind of peaceful partnership?
Either way, the fact that Hulk can be "impressed" by anyone shows the big green brawler may growing up after all.
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018