+++ Opinion +++
In Episode 1 of She-Hulk, series creator Jessica Gao spends a lot of time fleshing out the relationship between title character Jennifer Walters (Tatiana Maslany) and her cousin, Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), known as the Hulk. But while the bickering between the two left me pretty cold, it subtly deepened another MCU relationship that I never anticipated in She-Hulk. The new Disney+ series also surprisingly explores Bruce Banner’s relationship with the late Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), making his heroic sacrifice in “Avengers: Endgame”So even more tragic.
» “She Hulk” on Disney+*
So far I’ve never had the feeling that Tony Stark and Hulk have a particularly deep friendship. But after “She-Hulk” I see the relationship between the two with different eyes. The bar that Bruce Banner built as a retreat somewhere in Mexico serves as a last reminder of his one-time “Avengers“-Companions. The episode repeatedly sets small pinpricks that bring out the emotional pain caused by the loss of Iron Man:
- Bruce Banner explains that Tony Stark had the expensive lab built for him below his bar so he would have a place to work on his Hulk problem.
- Iron Man’s destroyed helmet is prominently placed in the bar.
- Bruce talks about building the bar with Tony.
Whenever the Hulk mentions Tony, there’s a heaviness in his features. The mood is suddenly subdued. These few moments are enough to show how close Bruce and Tony really were and how much the Hulk felt about his death Avengers-colleagues mourned. All of this becomes apparent without having to be explicitly stated. This is how good storytelling works!
When Iron Man in “Avengers 4” to save the world from Thanos, it was an extremely emotional moment when I first saw it. Over a decade of MCU history suddenly came to an end here. Tony Stark was the figurehead of the franchise. But with a few exceptions, such as Peter Parker, Pepper and Tony’s daughter, I never had the impression that too many of his companions would also mourn the private person Tony Stark.
For the others Avengers Tony was first and foremost Iron Man. A hero to stand shoulder to shoulder with on the battlefield, but maybe not the one to hang out with after the work is done. But after the first episode “She-Hulk” I think about Bruce and Tony building a bar together, maybe having a drink or two and having a good time. Not as Avengersbut as friends. And that makes what might be the most emotional MCU moment even better!
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