The MCU’s Iron Man Hypocrisy Can Start Marvel’s World War Hulk

The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Iron Man hypocrisy can start Marvel Studios’ version of the Hulk story known as World War Hulk. Iron Man and Hulk are two incredibly important characters to Marvel and the MCU, with both heroes being there from the start of the MCU. Marvel Studios’ shared universe debuted in 2008 with the release of Iron Man, which captured hearts all around the world due to Robert Downey Jr.’s career-defining performance as Tony Stark, aka Iron Man. Then, just over a month later, came the release of The Incredible Hulk, which starred Edward Norton as Bruce Banner and his destructive alter ego.

While RDJ’s Iron Man would go on to become one of the two faces of the MCU alongside Chris Evans’ Captain America, the Hulk would be relegated to a supporting role in other movies, even after Hulk’s face changed. After behind-the-scenes issues, Marvel recast the Hulk, with Norton being replaced with Mark Ruffalo, who debuted as Bruce Banner/ the Hulk in 2012’s The Avengers and continues to play the character to this day. After years of the Hulk falling through the cracks, the character is heavily rumored to be facing redemption in the MCU’s Phase 6, and Marvel’s Iron Man hypocrisy could play off this storyline to lead to a World War Hulk movie.

The MCU’s Iron Man Treatment Makes Hulk’s Arc Worse

Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner had to suppress his Hulk side after a series of accidents that landed the Green Goliath in hot water. The same could have been applied to Iron Man, as the character was involved in a series of controversies over his long MCU tenure. Iron Man was responsible for a fair number of villains over the years, such as Jake Gyllenhaal’s Mysterio, Iron Monger, and Whiplash. Some of the villains created by Iron Man’s existence and actions are also still active in the MCU to this day, including the antagonistic organization Damage Control, Michael Keaton’s jailed Vulture, and Justin Hammer, who is rumored to be in Armor Wars.

Tony Stark and Bruce Banner also created one of the villains that most affected the MCU, Ultron, who almost destroyed the world before being stopped by the Avengers, but whose actions led to the superhero Civil War and the Avengers being broken when Thanos came for the Infinity Stones. While Banner’s role in Ultron’s creation and the Hulk’s path of destruction leaving a mark on the character’s reputation is understandable, Tony ended up doing equal or even worse things after he became Iron Man, not to mention Stark Industries’ past as a weapons manufacturer, and was still seen by the public as a hero.

Iron Man had a journey to become more selfless, but the hero’s main traits remained intact until his last MCU appearance, while the Hulk underwent a major change. That’s where the MCU’s Iron Man hypocrisy comes in, with Tony not having to fundamentally change how he acted to be able to mature and eventually save the universe, whereas the Hulk had to let go of his berserker rage – a fundamental character trait – to become the hero others expected him to be. In Phase 5, the Hulk is still ultimately suppressed by Banner, and that could eventually lead to a breaking point: a World War Hulk movie.

The MCU Needs The Primal Hulk Back

Due to Marvel’s Hulk movie rights issue, the character was relegated to appearing in a supporting role in other heroes’ movies or Avengers films instead of getting a sequel to The Incredible Hulk. After starting his MCU journey as the uncontrollable version of the character that used to leave a path of destruction in his wake, the Hulk became a far more contained hero known as Smart Hulk. The change came between Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. The third Avengers movie sets up Banner to understand his two sides, but the next time he appears in Avengers: Endgame, he is already Smart Hulk, with his arc resolved offscreen.

Smart Hulk is a natural progression for Ruffalo’s character, with Banner finally stopping to see the Hulk as an enemy but as an important part of himself. However, that arc happening offscreen was not the best choice, with Avengers: Endgame’s bad Hulk story decision being explained by one of the film’s directors, Joe Russo, who said, “We just didn’t know what to do with him.” The decision left the Hulk’s story feeling disjointed, and after years of Smart Hulk, the MCU is ready for Banner to welcome back the classic Hulk in full force for the hero’s return as a protagonist in the rumored World War Hulk movie.

How She-Hulk Supports A Phase 5 World War Hulk Movie

Disney+’s She-Hulk: Attorney at Law introduced Tatiana Maslany’s Jennifer Walters, aka She-Hulk, to the MCU. Ruffalo returned as both Bruce Banner/ Hulk in the series, with the veteran hero teaching Walter how to control her Hulk powers. During their training montage, it was revealed the lengths that Banner goes to maintain his new zen attitude; however, that can’t last forever, and the character’s appearance focusing a great deal on the Hulk’s control of his anger serves as a great setup for a future moment where he can’t maintain his cool and is forced to let his rage come back in.

Hulk then returns to the Earth – after leaving the planet aboard a Sakaaran ship early in the season – with Skaar, his newly discovered son. In the comics, Skaar debuts in the World War Hulk event, and his first MCU appearance might be leading to a movie adaptation of that story. World War Hulk also includes the Illuminati team in a major role, and a multiversal version of the group debuted in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, hinting that a possible main MCU Illuminati team is coming. A World War Hulk movie would allow the Hulk to get back the spotlight, all starting from the MCU’s Iron Man hypocrisy.

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