In the pro wrestling industry, one fairly effective way to introduce a new monster (someone who’s of great size and power) is to have them bring down another well established monster in order to give them credibility. Sure, promoters don’t go with this creative decision on each and every occasion, but it’s proven to be a recipe for success a decent amount of the time.
Similarly, directors Joe and Anthony Russo used this method to instantly show just how great of a threat Thanos is. We say that because, as you may recall, the Mad Titan dominated the Hulk in short order in the opening minutes of Avengers: Infinity War. We’d seen Thor give the Green Goliath a run for his money not too long ago in Ragnarok, but he certainly didn’t hand him his ass in such a decisive manner as Thanos did.
It was a great way to establish what a dangerous threat Josh Brolin’s big bad was, but if there’s one question fans had coming out of the scene, it was why did Banner take so long to bring out the Hulk. After all, by the time he eventually unleashes his rage, most of the Asgardian refugee vessel has already been decimated by the Black Order. Couldn’t he have helped save at least a few of them?
It’s a good question, and one that Collider posed to writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely in a recent interview. Unfortunately, the scribes had no good answer for it, instead saying:
“It’s for dramatic effect, but it’s also a plan on their part. I think they were getting Thanos into position and then giving [Hulk] the best chance they could.”
In other words, this is more or less just one of those plot holes we’ll have to overlook. Sure, it may have been part of Thor and the others’ plan, but it’d make way more sense to have unleashed Hulk earlier on, perhaps even when Thanos first boarded the vessel.
And speaking of the Mad Titan, the writers went on to confirm what we mentioned above. Which is that this scene was meant to establish Thanos as a real threat.
“We want to announce Thanos as the biggest villain in the MCU, so he takes out the previous reigning champion. And by defeating Hulk relatively easily and savagely, hopefully there’s a sense of dread over the course of the rest of the movie for anyone else who comes up against him.”
That makes perfect sense, and while we don’t really buy their answer to the initial question, we’re willing to overlook it. After all, Avengers: Infinity War is a movie and sometimes, things just have to be done a certain way for dramatic effect. Besides, if you subscribe to that intriguing Loki/Hulk theory that’s doing the rounds, then this all might make a bit more sense.