‘Avengers: Endgame’: Leaving Out a Hulk vs. Thanos Rematch Was a ‘Missed Opportunity’
The arguments over whether Hulk or Thanos were the strongest Marvel Cinematic Universe characters have been analyzed to death in the social media realms of late. All conclusions came to Hulk being made somehow weaker since many fans think he could have taken on Thanos at full power.
What would have happened had Hulk and Thanos gone at it in that final battle? Perhaps it was better Hulk bowed out since it could have created more problems than it was worth.
A refresher on why Hulk was not around to battle Thanos
Despite Bruce Banner helping devise the time-travel heist, his evolution into Smart Hulk created a more complex situation going back at it in fighting with his fellow Avengers. There was already a lot of eyebrows raised by fans when Thanos beat Hulk to a pulp in Infinity War.
Most viewers had assumed he had enough strength to be on equal plane with Thanos in a true knockdown. After decades of fans thinking Hulk was one of the strongest of all The Avengers, everyone found out this was not the case.
A few theories had it maybe Hulk was starting to lose some of his strength because Banner’s personality was already beginning to creep in, or maybe a Loki curse. These are plausible theories, if never really confirmed from the production team.
One thing for sure is it was never easy seeing Hulk being pulverized. On Reddit, fans also keep stating their dismay about Hulk not having a Thanos rematch.
Was Smart Hulk too docile to fight?
Late last summer, there was a confirmation on why Hulk never went back to fight Thanos. As expected, there was an explanation about the change in Hulk during that five-year period. Banner assimilating with the Hulk into Smart Hulk made him more brains than brawn.
Said Stephen McFeely, the writer of Endgame, via CinemaBlend: “I know a lot of people were saying they can’t wait for [Hulk and Thanos’] rematch. Well, that would’ve made sense had he not become Smart Hulk. He’s a whole different thing, and that’s not what drives him. So we never thought, ‘Oh, he really is trying to get a crack at Thanos now.'”
As everyone knows, Banner had to use the Hulkbuster suit to fight when morphing into Smart Hulk. Would that have worked in a Thanos rematch? Most likely not considering even that suit had limitations.
Hulk bowing out might have been better in the bigger picture anyway. Imagining him trying to take on Thanos could have led to former’s own death had he tried to fight in the Smart Hulk guise.
Sometimes bowing out is better than holding a grudge
Comic book fans are always up for a good fight, either between superhero and villain or between superhero to superhero. Fan disappointment in lack of a rematch still brings comments from Reddit users above like: “I get that Hulk snapped everyone back, but I really wanted some Hulk Smash in the final battle.”
At least McFeely went by plot logic, if also giving Banner a chance to finally defeat turning into the Hulk completely. This compromise was a personal win for Banner anyway, something fans should perhaps appreciate.
Putting the brains up front and setting any grudge aside was a brave move for a comic book character after all the rampages he went on. Besides, everyone should realize Hulk/Banner dying in a fight would be worse.
After being pummeled the last time, something needed to be done to prove Thanos’s omniscient strength. If just a plot device to make that happen, going this route may be debated for years to come as The Avengers films continue being watched.