Why Didn't The Hulk Turn Up In The Battle Of Wakanda?
One of the most surprising arcs in Avengers: Infinity War is the Hulk's. Beaten down by Thanos in the film's opening scene, the Hulk refuses to come out and play for the duration of the movie. The Hulk doesn't even participate in the Battle of Wakanda, even though he appeared in the trailer's "money shot." "We have to be careful with the character of Banner," Joe Russo explained. "Because if every time he’s in trouble Hulk saves him, Hulk becomes the hero and he becomes whiny. We wanted to force Banner to be the hero."
Most viewers have interpreted the Hulk's recalcitrance as fear; that he'd never been beaten down as badly as he was by Thanos before. The Russos, however, favor a different interpretation. They see this as a continuation of the Hulk's arc in Thor: Ragnarok, with the Hulk stressing that he is a person in his own right, and refusing to do Banner's bidding:
"I think people have interpreted it as Hulk’s scared. I mean, certainly, that’s not a — I don’t know that the Hulk is ever… he’s had his ass kicked before, and he loves a good fight. But I think that it’s really reflective of the journey from Ragnarok. Is that these two characters are constantly in conflict with each other over control. And I think that if the Hulk were to say why, it’d be [that] Banner only wants Hulk for fighting. I think he’s had enough of saving Banner’s ass."
This particular narrative thread was particularly surprising given there had even been promotional action figures teasing the Hulk smashing out of the Hulkbuster. The Russos seemed to imply that was something that happened in earlier scripts; they suggested action figures and promotional material are organized up to a year before filming, while the script is still being worked over. As a result, sometimes there's a "disconnect" between the merchandise and the final movie.
Why Wasn't The Reunion Between Steve Rogers and Bucky An Emotional One?
Bucky Barnes is Steve Rogers's closest friend, his only link back to the time he originates from. As a result, some viewers found the brief embrace between Captain America and Bucky to be a short, relatively low-emotion scene in Avengers: Infinity War. Joe Russo explained that there's a simple reason; this wasn't the first time Cap and Bucky had met since Shuri awoke the former Winter Soldier from cryogenic suspension. "I think [Cap's] made his way to Wakanda a couple of times," he explained, "and that is how we directed that scene, that was not the first time that they were seeing each other since he woke up." While it made for a less emotional scene, it was presumably necessary in order to maintain the film's pace.
What Happened To Black Widow And Bruce Banner?
Another underwhelming reunion in Infinity War was the one between Bruce Banner and Black Widow. Avengers: Age of Ultron saw director Joss Whedon introduce a surprising romance plot between the two. The Russos elected to largely ignore this relatively unpopular relationship, simply showing Bruce and Natasha share a deep, meaningful glance. As they pointed out in an interview with Happy Sad Confused, a lot of time has passed for both characters. "There’s a sort of unspoken truth that there’s no need for a spoken resolution," Joe Russo explained.
What Happened To Scarlet Witch's Accent?
Scarlet Witch was easily one of the most powerful and prominent characters in Avengers: Infinity War; her romance with Vision was one of the driving forces of the film's plot, and she was portrayed as second only to Thor in terms of power levels. But attentive viewers noticed one major change to Wanda: Elizabeth Olsen had dropped the Eastern European accent. Speaking on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Joe Russo explained there was a very good reason for that. "We intentionally tried to strip that accent away for a couple of reasons," he noted.
"One is that you’ll notice at the beginning of Civil War, Black Widow is training her how to be a spy. Two, she has now been on the run and one of the most distinguishing characteristics she has is her accent. So if you’re going to try to disguise yourself and not be caught, you’re going to try to limit those trigger warnings that would make it easy for someone to identify you which would be inclusive of her accent."
Why Didn't Thor Kill Thanos?
Thor got another power-up in Avengers: Infinity War, gaining Stormbreaker - a tool with which he could kill even Thanos. However, he failed. Had Thor taken the headshot, gone for the instant kill, then half the life in the universe would have been saved from death. Why did he go for the body instead? To Joe Russo, the answer is rooted in Thor's humanity. "[Thor] wanted to tell Thanos that he got his revenge," he observed. "These are choices that characters who are feeling immense pain make and hopefully, the audience can learn to empathize with those characters because they can grow through stories." Driven by grief and a desire for vengeance, Thor struck for Thanos's chest rather than his head, and so sealed the universe's fate.
To the Russos, Thor is one of the characters who made the wrong choice at the wrong time. They equate this split-second decision with Star-Lord's grief-stricken rage on Titan, and seem more than a little amused that viewers are angry with Star-Lord, but not with Thor. "It gives us rich territory to explore with those characters," Anthony Russo told Happy Sad Confused.
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