In the final battle of Avengers: Infinity War, Banner charges at Thanos, who dodges by shifting phase, much like Vision can. However, instead of Thanos shifting phase himself, it looks like he uses the Infinity Gauntlet to phase Banner and fling him into a mountainside.

The scene then cuts away, and I immediately presumed that Banner was entombed in the mountainside and left for dead – it’s a common comics trope for out-of-phase characters to get stuck in things and die unless rescued quickly.

However, in the next scene, Banner simply reappears as if nothing happened.

Was there an explanation for this that I missed, or a deleted scene, or is it a continuity error?

  • You might consider changing the accepted answer here if you want as it is incorrect, Thanos does not use the Reality Stone on Banner. – TheLethalCarrot Apr 26 at 13:35
  • I’m not convinced that it’s incorrect. Yes, Thanos clearly uses the Space stone to fling Banner, but that’s not the effect I’m asking about. Only the Reality stone produces temporary spellbinding effects like in this scene, so either he used a combination of stones or it’s a continuity error, and none of other answers address that. – Bradd Szonye May 1 at 1:06
  • He only uses the Space Stone on Banner. There's no indication it was a temporary effect, Banner could have just smashed his way free, we don't know because it happens off screen. I've tried to be as detailed as possible in my answer, if there's something you think I've missed let me know :) – TheLethalCarrot May 1 at 9:27

I believe it was the Reality Stone that he used.

Just as Drax and Mantis were torn apart by the Reality Stone by Thanos on Knowhere, once he left they went back to normal. So once he left Wakanda, the Stone returned Banner and the Hulkbuster back to normal.

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    I don't think this is the case - as I was watching last night it's the space stone he used when moving Banner. I'm still curious as to the explanation...maybe we'll find out in April? – Nick Craver Jan 5 at 15:06
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    @NickCraver - You are correct, sir. Which means that this answer is simply wrong – Valorum Feb 10 at 22:01

The only reasonable answer here is simply that we simply don't know. I can think of two possible theories for how he could have escaped, though I'm leaning more towards the first as being the most likely.

  • The Hulkbuster armour is simply stronger than the amount of rock holding it in place. The rock only really covers the limbs and some of the edges of the suit and even then it's not that much over the suit itself. It is likely that it merely incapacitated him long enough that Thanos could do the Snap and then Banner was able to free himself.

    Banner phased into the mountain

  • The effects of the stone wear of when Thanos leaves. Like with Drax and Mantis on Knowwhere with the Reality Stone the effects of the Space Stone could have worn off when Thanos left the area. I don't think this holds true with the Space Stone like it does the Reality Stone though.

For what it's worth Thanos also uses the Space Stone on Rhodey to crush the suit and move him out of the way and we later on he looks fine again. This actually backs up both theories as both effects are from the same Infinity Stone and both are Stark's suits.

We can also rule out a few possibilities:

  • He uses the Reality Stone: This is incorrect as we clearly see him using the Space Stone.

    Thanos uses the Space Stone against Banner in the Hulkbuster suit

  • He ejects from the suit: This is incorrect as we see him in the suit later on.

    Banner in the Hulkbuster suit after the Snap and Thanos' departure

  • He was meant to be Hulk at that point: Whilst I quite like this as an out of universe theory the director's explicitly deny it and it doesn't explain what we actually see on screen.

  • The Time Stone reversed time for everyone: This is incorrect as we see Wanda clearly unaffected by the Time Stone's effects right next to Thanos. The Time Stone is simply reversing time on the destroyed Mind Stone and that alone.

  • I appreciate the thorough analysis and have upvoted, but unfortunately “we simply don’t know” still leaves the original question to answer. – Bradd Szonye May 1 at 18:32

In an earlier version of the film, there was (apparently) a scene where the Hulk finally emerges and busts out of the Hulkbuster suit, as evidenced by the Hasbro toy figure and Funko-Pop below and this still (from the cinematic trailer) showing a veritable army charging toward Thanos in the forest.

enter image description here

While the directors deny that this scene was actually part of the movie(!), It seems more likely that in the earlier cut he was fully 'hulked' when Thanos zapped him into the rock. Given the Hulk's constitution and rapid healing, being phased into a wall wouldn't kill him but would, presumably incapacitate him for a while, nerfing him until the fight with Thanos had already concluded, at which point he could just pull himself free.

enter image description here

enter image description here

  • I think this is a speculative answer, the directors denied that the scene with the Hulk was part of the movie, what make you think the opposite ? – Dhon Joe Apr 17 at 7:59
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    @DhonJoe - The presence of multiple toys showing the Hulk emerging from the suit. – Valorum Apr 17 at 9:49
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    @DhonJoe - No, but given how much 'lead time' you need in order to make the merchandise for high CGI films, it's quite regular for cut scenes to end up with merchandise, for example the "Finn and Rey in a landspeeder" toy you can get from the cutscene for Force Awakens – Valorum Apr 17 at 10:59
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    @DhonJoe - the fact that there is near identical merchandise that relates to something not in the film from two separate companies is very suspicious indeed – Valorum Apr 17 at 11:02
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    If he hulked out, the hulkbuster would in pieces – Dhon Joe Apr 17 at 11:32

Banner wasn't phased deep into the mountain - in the scene you see him phased back in with the front of the suit still showing. I presumed he was safe inside the suit and eventually managed to eject.

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    I'm quite sure we see the whole suit free of the mountain afterward (well, less an arm, I think), so it's not that he ejected. – ThePopMachine May 7 '18 at 19:44

Basically everything from the moment where Thanos causes Bruce to get stuck in the rock, Natasha being trapped under the rock pillars, Cap being hit in the head, etc. was reversed when Thanos used the Time Stone to reverse the Mind Stone being destroyed in Vision's head.

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    This seems ...plausible, but can you back it up with any actual evidence? – Valorum Feb 10 at 20:25

I also assumed Bruce was dead, phased into rock inside the Hulkbuster and was surprised when he later appeared in the suit, standing next to Cap and Nat and Brody, unharmed.

I believe the Drax/Mantis suggestion has to be correct - Thanos can only control reality within a certain area around his person and when he leaves an area he's affected it returns to normal, so when Thanos left, Bruce phased out of the rock to rejoin the remaining Avengers.

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