When viewing Avengers: Endgame for the first time, Marvel fans were surprised by the scene where Bruce Banner is reintroduced after the five-year time jump, and it’s revealed that he’s now become Smart Hulk. Much to folks’ frustration, the film skips over how Banner managed to merge his two personalities, though we’re briefly told that he “put the brains and the brawn together” via experiments with gamma radiation. Here’s one question that definitely doesn’t get answered, though: why does Smart Hulk still need glasses?
We’ve seen plenty of times in the MCU that the Hulk is super-durable and in perfect physical health. And in the comics, particularly the current “Immortal Hulk” persona, the green giant is able to heal himself from even fatal injuries in order to keep himself and Banner alive. This largely fits with the MCU version, who’s capable of adapting to survive a bullet to the head (as recalled in The Avengers).
Surely the Hulk wouldn’t need the aid of reading glasses, then, as he’d be able to fix this optical defect with his abilities. Well, ScreenRant has come up with a theory that could explain Smart Hulk’s use of corrective lenses.
In one classic comic, Rick Jones finds Professor Hulk reading with the aid of glasses, with Rick joking that he doesn’t recognize him. This is mostly a bit of fun at the expense of Superman’s Clark Kent disguise, but it’s also noted that Hulk feels more comfortable using his glasses.
So, there’s two ways this could be applied to Avengers: Endgame. Either Smart Hulk still uses his glasses out of habit, or else the dominant Banner personality has prevented Hulk’s power from correcting his eyes. Banner’s transformations are always connected to his self-image, after all. So, if Banner sees himself as someone who needs glasses, then he needs glasses. Or, you know, it was just a handy visual tell for the filmmakers to show us Smart Hulk was smart.