Avengers 4 and Avengers: Infinity War directors Joe and Anthony Russo revealed the real reason how Thanos beat the snot out of Hulk in the beginning of Avengers: Infinity War.
They made the reveal following a special screening of Avengers: Infinity War where they also confirmed that Thanos did not use the Power Stone when he delivered his epic beat down to Hulk.
“I would say that he’s just that powerful,” says Joe Russo regarding the Mad Titan. “You didn’t see him actively use the Power Stone in the fight. 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 Genghis Khan of the universe. He’s a very skilled fighter and equally as strong. So when you put those two up against each other, the more skilled fighter is going to win. Which is why Hulk has a moment where he overpowers Thanos, but ultimately Thanos is smarter.”
Joe Russo had also previously revealed that Hulk wasn’t actually afraid of fighting Thanos after he got his clock cleaned.
“People speculated whether there was some fear on the Hulk’s part about having to face Thanos again but I think ultimately what it is is that he’s tired of playing hero to Bruce Banner. This was an interesting journey that we went on with Banner, trying to decide how to move him forward in the Marvel universe. What makes him unique as a character is that there’s a host body that is being fought over by two distinct personalities who hate each other. Both want control of the host body. We though an interesting direction to take him in is, ‘Well, what if Banner, who typically uses the Hulk to solve crisis situations, what if the Hulk were no longer interested in solving those problems for Banner?’ So, the relationship is becoming increasingly dysfunctional and that’s what’s going on here.”
Thanos in the Comics
As we do, we always like to dive into the comic book history and discover some of the influences the film might have taken to approaching these characters. The Thanos we know from the comic books has been looking to appease Death, a cosmic entity, and to begin a romantic relationship with the being. In order to make this happen, he wipes out half of life in the universe with a snap of his fingers, using the Infinity Gauntlet and the power of six Infinity Stones.
Obviously, the movie changes this. He still manages to wipe out half of all life in the universe, but for other reasons. Mostly because of scarcity of resources.
So what else about Thanos can we gather from the comics that the Russos might’ve implemented into their movie? He’s got a lot of the universe subjugated to him. In the comics, his physiology is that of one of the Eternals although he carries the Deviant gene, and their abilities are far superior than the ones exhibited by Hulk. He is also a master hand-to-hand combatant, being trained on Titan since his youth.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe Titan
The Mad Titan in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) may have some of the same qualities from the comic. However, there are bound to be some differences.
We also have to note a huge difference in power between the two by what we saw of both Hulk and Thor in the previous Marvel film Thor: Ragnarok. In this film, Hulk has been the dominant figure in Bruce Banner’s body for over two years. He’s been “fighting” in the arena of the Grandmaster during that time, but mostly just squashing his opponents because of his overwhelming strength.
However, in his fight with Thor, the two seem to be evenly matched. Hulk at some point starts to falter when Thor starts relying more on his god-like powers over thunder rather than trying to beat Hulk in a sparring match. It’s only when Thor gets tazed that Hulk starts to pummel the god into the ground.
Thor is the measuring stick
Now after Thor had awakened his god-like power, he was still unable to take on Hela in one on one fight on Asgard. Add to that, he needed Surtur and the Eternal Flame to wipe his sister off the map. Imagine now this version of Thor, trying his darndest against Thanos, and losing. This version of Thor, who was whopping Hulk’s behind in a ring where the green monster was for two years dominating, is now losing to the Mad Titan. Not only did Thor get his butt toasted by Thanos, but Ebony Maw handled him quite easily as well.
And we’re thinking the Hulk would stand a chance against him?
It’s a foregone conclusion that Hulk didn’t stand a chance. Thor is clearly the stronger one in terms of overall power, as the Hulk is sent flying from one of Thor’s lightning bolts. It’s also interesting to note that it was Thor’s throw of Stormbreaker that almost kills Thanos.
Of course, these are all movies. And we love speculating.
So maybe the directors are stating something obvious, but it’s good that they clarified it for us.