Professor Hulk Is the First Step to Restoring Banner’s Dignity in the MCU: Here’s Why

Though watching Professor Hulk dab in Avengers: Endgame was one of the few cringe-worthy moments in the epic saga’s conclusion, Professor Hulk is the Bruce Banner the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) needs. With Banner’s brains and brawn existing simultaneously, the character may receive some well-deserved restoration. 

Professor Hulk MCU
MARVEL’S HULK AND THE AGENTS OF S.M.A.S.H. | Disney XD via Getty Images

Throughout the course of the Infinity saga, Hulk became a punching bag to illustrate other characters’ dominance. Thor defeated him in battle, Tony Stark took him down while inside the Hulkbuster in Age of Ultron, and Thanos tossed him across the room like a fly in Infinity War. The last event left the green destroyer with an adolescent disposition too afraid and psychologically traumatized to appear (he was also concerned that humanity had grown to distrust him following Age of Ultron). 

The main problem with Hulk: he was all force and no calculation. All power and no tactical plan. Hulk was easily defeated when his brawn was not enough to combat someone else’s unique powers or technological advancements. 

Following Endgame, in which Hulk became a bit of a laughing stock, the MCU needs to redeem the character, and where he currently stands is a great foundation for growth. What happened between Thanos and Hulk in Infinity War proves why we need Professor Hulk over a separate Banner and his green guy alter ego.

Why Thanos beat Hulk in ‘Avengers: Infinity War’

During Infinity War, when Thanos is in the process of crushing Thor’s head, Hulk comes crashing through the wall with all of his brute force to save the day. Hulk slams straight into Thanos and begins beating the supervillain over the head, in the good old stomp and smash fashion we love him for. The problem: all is well until Thanos starts to fight strategically. Thanos brings a little Rocky Balboa to the table.

Thanos pushes Hulk’s arms away and he immediately begins to focus. Thanos begins hitting Hulk in the gut, side, and face as he dodges and blocks Hulk’s predictable blows to the head. Thanos is able to combine brawn and brains, but Hulk has the mind of a young child; he is no match for a skilled combatant. However, all that may change if the MCU decides to keep Bruce Banner around.

Bruce Banner has all of Hulk’s strength; now, he just needs a little combat training to be one of the most fierce warriors out there. Watching Thanos beat up Hulk was difficult for viewers, and it has been difficult for audiences to watch Hulk became the saga’s punching bad to establish narrative weight. However, following this recent transition, restoring the Hulk’s dignity should be seamless. 

Will Professor Hulk develop some combat skills in the MCU? 

Hulk and Bruce Banner have always been at odds. Now that they can coexist happily, understanding the value each brings to the table, they can begin to merge their skills. Yet, there’s one skill Banner needs to learn: how to fight more strategically. 

Hulk would have been a much better match for Thanos had he been able to box like Thanos was able to in Infinity War. Thanos did not beat Hulk with sheer force; he out-witted him. With Professor Hulk, the MCU has taken its first step in creating a fighter just as smart on the battlefield as Banner is in the lab.