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The MCU’s Hulk is much more interesting than its Bruce Banner

Screenshot: Thor: Ragnarok (YouTube)

Fulfilling his duty for the “One Marvelous Scene” series currently dominating YouTube’s film criticism sector, video essayist and Marvel-analyzer Gubz decided to take a look at one of the MCU’s most mishandled characters: The Incredible Hulk. Over the years, the big green guy’s been rebooted, recast, and reshaped into everything from an unstoppable smashing machine to a walking punchline. As we head into the final moments of Marvel’s Phase Three, however, we might have to accept that the Hulk is best when he’s the tragic monster and not the befuddled professor.

The tragedy of the Hulk is best encapsulated in a scene from Thor: Ragnarok when, after years of being trapped inside the hulking green body, Banner attempts to fight his way out in a violent, heartbreaking fit of self-abuse. Up until that point, the Hulk could be seen as brutish simpleton living it up in the fighting pits of Sakaar, but now we see that his existence is more nuanced and tinged with inner turmoil.

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Unfortunately, that nuance is almost completely lost as we move into Avengers: Infinity War and beyond. Banner is back to being a bumbling genius, his inability to summon Hulk played for little more than laughs. It’s like as soon as Marvel figured out how to do the Hulk right, they forgot again. All signs point to the next iteration of the Hulk being the bespectacled amalgamation known as Professor Hulk, so we’ll just have to wait and see if Marvel can pull that off. If not, well, we’ll always have Ragnarok.

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About the author

Dan Neilan

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Have Fun — Will Travel.