WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War, in theaters now.
With over 20 different superheroes and an Infinity Stone-chasing Thanos, there are a lot of moving parts in Avengers: Infinity War. Naturally, a good portion of the film's screen time was devoted to fleshing out the Mad Titan, who had only appeared in mid- and post-credits scenes in previous Marvel films, along with a brief scene in Guardians of the Galaxy.
but as entertaining as it was to learn more of Thanos' backstory, fans were equally excited to catch up on the different relationships established between their favorite Marvel superheroes. While there were long-awaited reunions and moments, they ultimately took up, maybe, a combined five minutes of the entire film.
Whether deleted scenes or decisions to go a different route with characters are to blame, many of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's key relationships ended up falling by the wayside. Of course, this doesn't mean Infinity War was rendered mediocre by excluding these plot points, but the argument can be made that their omission -- and the film's shocking ending -- has ultimately forced fans to wait until next year's Avengers 4 for a proper conclusion.
Bruce Banner And Black Widow
One of the few love stories to weave throughout Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron dealt with the growing attraction between Bruce Banner and Black Widow. What started as a professional work relationship quickly grew to genuine feelings between the two Avengers, with Black Widow even finding herself open to the idea of going on the run with the Hulk's alter ego. However, Bruce can't seem to allow himself to be happy for once in his life, citing the fact that the gamma radiating throughout his body prevents him from ever having kids.
Black Widow confessed to not being able to have kids as well, thanks to her time as an operative in Russia's Red Room experiment. As Age of Ultron closed, it looked as if Bruce had turned his back on Natasha Romanoff after he closed out her Quinjet transmission and rode the jet into the sunset. Of course, when the Hulk witnessed that same recording in Thor: Ragnarok, it was enough to send the beast back to his human form after spending the last two years as the Hulk.
During a set interview for Infinity War, Mark Ruffalo described Bruce and Black Widow's relationship akin to a star-crossed romance, which led many to believe the film would find time to once again explore the complicated love story. In a separate interview, Scarlett Johanssen offered her own take on the relationship, alluding to it coming to an end off-camera. “She’s not a particularly sentimental person and I think she understands that it’s been a period of time,” the actress said. “They’ve both had their own experiences separate of one another, and will always have a shared experience with one another but again, a lot of time has passed.”
Taking both conflicting reports into account, Infinity War dropped Bruce back on Earth following Thanos' attack on the Asgardians' refugee ship, allowing for a reunion with some of Earth's Mightiest Heroes at the Avengers facility. Once Captain America and Black Widow's "Secret Avengers" unit begin comparing notes with War Machine, Bruce saunters out from a back room to everyone's surprise, particularly Black Widow's. For fans who both love and hate their pairing, this was the moment where we thought their story arc would come to some form of a conclusion. Unfortunately, aside from saying each other's names, that's all the communication we were given. The only other time they spoke on camera was when Bruce wore the Hulkbuster armor as the heroes prepared for the Black Order's assault on Wakanda.
After looking at the different scenes from the trailer that didn't make it into the final product, our guess is much of the Bruce/Natasha subplot was left on the cutting room floor. Bruce, Natasha and the fans deserved better than what they were given.