‘She-Hulk’: Some Fans Don’t Want to See More ‘Smart Hulk’ in the Disney+ Series
One of the key appeals of the Hulk was that he was the Hyde to Bruce Banner’s Dr. Jekyll. Fans liked that he was a big, dumb dangerous brute whose strength came in handy when he had to beat up a god.
So when “smart Hulk” came along in Avengers: Endgame, in which Bruce Banner kept his mind while in the Hulk’s body, left fans divided. Many, including a former Hulk, not really being into the new version.
That’s why, now that Mark Ruffalo will be in the She-Hulk series that will eventually show up on Disney+, some fans would rather not see the “new and improved” Hulk. For them, the novelty has worn off.
She-Hulk vs. the Hulk
The She-Hulk came along in 1980 as not just a counterpart but a counterpoint to Bruce Banner’s Hulk. She was Jennifer Walters, a cousin of Bruce Banner’s who ran afoul of a crime boss.
When she’s shot, Bruce gives her a transfusion of his blood to save her life. When the crime boss’ goons try to kill her in the hospital after Bruce leaves, she transforms into She-Hulk and makes short work of them.
There is a key difference with She-Hulk, however. When the Hulk transforms back into Banner, he has little to no memory of what he’s done. Moreover, Bruce cannot control his transformations.
Jennifer can. And when she becomes the She-Hulk, she is able to maintain Jennifer’s intelligence. This, in turn, becomes Bruce’s goal. If Bruce can’t cure himself of the Hulk, he can at least find a way to live with him.
Although She-Hulk is not yet in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), this is basically what Bruce achieves in Avengers: Endgame, having decided that the Hulk is a feature, not a bug. He tells his fellow heroes: “For years I’ve been treating the Hulk like he’s some kind of disease, something to get rid of. But then I started looking at him as the cure … I put the brains and the brawn together. And now look at me. Best of both worlds.”
Why fans don’t want ‘smart Hulk with ‘She-Hulk’
Earlier this month, reports emerged that Mark Ruffalo had signed on to appear in She-Hulk. A release date for that show has not been given, but a reasonable guess puts it at 2022 or 2023.
Logic dictates that we would see “smart Hulk” or “Professor Hulk,” as he’s sometimes called. And some fans on Reddit are iffy at that prospect.
One said: “I’m entirely uninterested in Smart Hulk, to be perfectly honest. I want Banner’s anger to overwhelm the unity of form he’s achieved and I want Hulk to become the strongest there is. “
Another agreed, saying: “I’m with you on that. He was a nice addition to Endgame, but I think it removes a lot of the dramatic potential from the character. They nailed it in Avengers and Ultron to an extent. Hulk should be a ticking time bomb, a liability who’s potentially as much of a danger to the heroes as he is to the villain. There should be more unease about having him around, knowing that he’s just a few bad moments away from being uncontrollable.”
One of these Hulks is not like the others
In other words, fans want the classic Hulk back, the one that makes them laugh and cheer, like he did in The Avengers and Thor: Ragnarok. The implication seems to be that since we already have one smart Hulk in She-Hulk, we really don’t need to have two of them. The classic Hulk would make a better contrast.
It’s almost a fan’s habit to complain about the Hulk now since the general consensus is the movies have had a hard time getting him right. Most people disliked the 2003 Hulk movie with Eric Bana, and the 2008 version with Edward Norton usually comes in at the bottom of the MCU rankings. Fans have liked Ruffalo’s performance but bemoaned the movies’ inconsistent treatment of him.
Then again, the whole argument might be moot. One fan guesses: “I expect She-Hulk’s origin will be told via flashback. A brief scene where Jennifer gets shot, Bruce gives Jen the blood transfusion, she transforms, maintaining her personality, and he helps her control her abilities (although I’ve always liked the idea of Jen figuring out her abilities on her own). After that we don’t see Bruce again.”