Is Smart Hulk Still Around or Not?

One explanation for what was seen in a post-credits scene in Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings is one that a lot of fans are probably hoping won’t be true, that Bruce Banner is seeking to retire from his superhero days and let his cousin, She-Hulk, take over the job of being the Hulk on the scene. There are other theories as to why Bruce Banner showed up in his human form rather than as the jade giant once again, but in the spirit of cherry-picking from the comics, as has been done more often than people care to admit, it’s fair to think that we’re going to find out in the She-Hulk series why Bruce took on his human form again, and why it would stand to reason that he’s not quite done with the Avengers or the MCU just yet. After all, if it’s to be believed, there does appear to be an idea for a World War Hulk movie that might be on the far horizons, so unless Mark Ruffalo is moving on and another actor is being brought in, it’s fair to think that we haven’t seen the last of the big green guy just yet. 

One thing that is a little confusing is that it’s been mentioned that maybe Bruce reverted back to his human form so that he could heal easier since at the end of the Shang-Chi movie he does still have his arm in a sling. That’s hard to buy into however unless the power set of the Hulk is still being diminished. In the comics, the Hulk’s healing factor is just as good as Wolverine and Deadpool’s and is sometimes a little quicker since the character has managed to heal from a few very horrific injuries that might have waylaid anyone that didn’t have the healing ability he possesses. But it’s usually been seen that his healing is a lot quicker when he’s in Hulk form rather than in his human body. 

The MCU has been rewriting rules and adjusting heroes’ powers and abilities as they see fit for a while now, but if there was one time that they needed to stick to the source material, this would be it. Despite the fact that the MCU has been a billion-dollar idea for a while, it’s still possible to say that the approach they made with some of the characters is questionable at best since the fact that the Hulk, Thor, and a few others have seen their power levels dip more than a little bit is kind of disconcerting since it would mean, for some reason, that these characters are too much of a challenge for those that are using them in their movies. There have been moments of greatness, since the end of the Infinity Saga made it clear that some of the characters had finally been given the boost they needed, but overall, it’s been kind of disappointing when thinking about who’s being elevated and who’s being forced to bow down a bit since in the comics it had been established that some of the characters we’ve seen have been undeniably tougher than what has been seen on the screen. 

The fact is that the smart Hulk in the comics had Banner’s brains but Hulk’s ferocity, meaning that he had the best of both characters but wasn’t so reluctant to get physical as it’s been seen that Banner is. Had the MCU decided to follow this course they would have found that he might have been a little more effective since Banner’s intellect being in complete control isn’t a bad thing, but his inability to embrace his more bestial side in order to get the job done is kind of a hindrance. As to how this will be resolved in the times to come it’s hard to say since there’s no telling when Mark Ruffalo will want to finally step away from the MCU and call it a day. That time is likely coming even if people don’t want to think about it, but it won’t come before he’s featured on the She-Hulk show on Disney+, so there’s still hope for seeing more from the character and possibly seeing the return of smark Hulk and possibly even the other version. 

One of the more interesting but definitely frustrating things that might happen would be that Bruce might be subjected to a method that would eliminate the gamma radiation in his body, thereby stripping him of his Hulk powers. That would be tragic, to say the least since the MCU fans would likely wonder how in the world She-Hulk is bound to do as the new and only Hulk on the scene. It’s likely the MCU has a plan in place that will make sense of everything, but until we see it, a lot of fans are going to be coming up with one theory after another to explain what was seen at the end of Shang-Chi. 

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