1 Fan’s MCU Theory Might Explain Why Hulk Couldn’t Beat Thanos in ‘Infinity War’

Some deeper dives into the Marvel Cinematic Universe version of Hulk continue on social media of late. Quarantine from coronavirus (COVID-19) seemed to allow this to bring some new insights into why Hulk seemed to lose his strength in each ensuing film. Case in point is Hulk not being able to take on Thanos, despite the former once being considered the strongest Marvel character. Of course, that contention was only for casual fans who grew up with The Incredible Hulk on TV.

In the comic books, it was already known Thanos was near-omniscient in his strength. Even so, MCU Hulk could seemingly smash anything and anybody at the time of Thor: Ragnarok. An interesting theory on Reddit suggests Professor Hulk’s intervention slowly crept in early.

Mark Ruffalo looking off camera, not smiling, sitting down in front of a blurred background
Mark Ruffalo | Amy Sussman/Getty Images

The strength of Hulk was notable in ‘Ragnarok’

Someone recently started an interesting Reddit thread noting Hulk losing to Thanos in a fight seemed incongruous with his earlier strength. Everyone remembers Hulk knocking Thor around like a rag doll in Thor: Ragnarok. The same goes for pummeling Loki (almost at cartoon level), including being able to destroy anything at will.

Those past scenes of Hulk going crazy taking on other superheroes and even the military were thrilling to watch. This Hulk exceeded the abilities in strength, surpassing even the TV show version of the late ’70s/early ’80s.

Setting that strength precedent early was really a ruse since the rug was pulled out when Hulk finally took on Thanos. By this time, fans were starting to assume Hulk was being shoved to the background, including losing more fights over time.

A Reddit user postulates it may be due to Bruce Banner starting to take over Hulk’s body earlier than expected. His Professor Hulk transformation by Avengers: Endgame was already complete, yet it might have been organically underway when Thanos clobbered Hulk during Avengers: Infinity War.

The Jekyll and Hyde aspects to Hulk

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Yes, the above theory really is astute. It suggests that Banner was already starting to temper the strength and rage of Hulk, something the TV version was never able to accomplish until “David” Banner died.

Like a Jekyll/Hyde situation, a bit of the Jekyll side might have started to shine through. Unfortunately, this went wrong since it likely lessened his powers when going up against Thanos.

Many fans were shocked Hulk was so easily defeated by Thanos at first. As reported by Collider, the Russo Brothers later explained the loss this way: “I think, ultimately, the way we looked at that fight and the way we talked about it with our stunt team when we were executing it was Hulk is obviously very powerful, but he’s a little mindless in his fighting style. It’s aggressive, it’s pummeling. Thanos is the Ghengis Kahn of the universe, he’s a very skilled fighter, equally as strong.”

At least now a fan came up with a plausible scientific explanation as to why this occurred rather than being an overly convenient plot device.

Hulk will never gain his old powers back if he returns

On top of turning into Professor Hulk, the character also suffered a severe arm injury from handling the Infinity Gauntlet during Avengers: Endgame. Basically, Hulk turned into the equivalent of a wounded war veteran, essentially retiring him from how he was.

Rumors still persist he will return in the future Disney+ series She-Hulk (if not in other shows). If so, he may never be in fight mode again and more just a scientific consultant in helping defeat future enemies.

If one can argue lessening Hulk’s powers was necessary to make future enemies look stronger, it sets everything up for the same in the future. Regardless, the notion Hulk could still have beaten Thanos had Banner not taken over leaves open the possibility toward a multiverse reboot.