Game Hulk SMASH Puny Movie Hulk!
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The new game, Marvel’s Avengers, inspired a big conversation. Some people felt that it wasn’t given the love it deserves, while others were disappointed with the multiplayer modes which were time consuming but mostly featureless. For a game whose popularity was likely possible due to the success of Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe, it was maybe the most important that they produce a good story. They definitely managed to do so, and the game’s campaign mode has a familiarity to it, sure, but it is also unique enough to be worthwhile as a separate entity. In some ways, it’s even better than the films. The Hulk, for example, feels like a more fully realized character.

It isn’t clear to me why Bruce Banner or the Hulk aren’t used as much in the popular movies. It could be that fans don’t like him as much. It could be that the actor who portrays Bruce Banner and his raging monstrous form isn’t as well-loved by fans, even though Mark Ruffalo is actually amazing. Maybe portraying the Hulk is too expensive? Or maybe it could be that the character is rather flat in the movies.

 

By this I mean that he isn’t that complicated of a character and you can usually guess what is going to happen with him. He’s a scientist who is polite and concerned. This makes the fact that his other side, who only comes out when he gets angry, a fun contrast but it’s the aspect of the character that the filmmakers lean the heaviest on. This makes sense as it’s an interesting aspect of the character, but it almost seems like the only note the films play. Of course, Bruce Banner revealing that his secret is that “he’s always angry,” in the first Avengers movie is a memorable and meme-able moment, and a great way to hint that he’s gotten control over the Hulk, but this notion is quickly discarded as he finds himself getting stuck as the Hulk for extensive periods of time. The Hulk can be smart, Bruce Banner can be angry.

 

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The game, Marvel’s Avengers, uses Bruce Banner in a more appreciable way, and I quickly discovered that I love the Hulk. I just don’t love what the movies have done with him. In this game, he is gentle and nurturing. He is first encountered by Kamala when he is in his Hulk form. He has been standing guard over Captain America’s shield for a while and doesn’t react well when Kamala finds it. She tries to talk him out of his rage, but it proves difficult. Once it happens, Bruce appreciates Kamala’s dilemma, and grows as a character as she inspires him. His relationship with his friend, Tony, is also in a very rocky spot, and the fighting between them almost causes him to lose control multiple times. The two of them, sometimes, feel like co-mentors to Kamala, and they bond over her and her idealism.

It’s hard to dive too deep into it without spoilers, but Hulk is put near the center stage in this game. Incorporating his presence is no harder than using any of the other Avengers. And his fighting style feels great within the context of the game. For a myriad of reasons, playing Marvel’s Avengers just might be the best way to fall in love with the character.

Benjamin Maltbie
Benjamin Maltbie

Writing Team Lead
Date: 10/08/2020

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