Being that Hulk gets stronger when he gets angrier, how was Thanos able to knock Hulk out with such ease and why did Hulk not get more angry and increase his strength when fighting Thanos? From what I can see, Thanos did not use the Power Stone in the Infinity Gauntlet.

So how does Thanos beat hulk with such ease with ease?

I just want add some of the extreme strength feats comic Hulk has performed and to show that Hulk is an extremely strong being.

  • Held a planet together
  • Tore the fabric of reality
  • Destroyed an asteroid twice the size of Earth
  • Held up a star's weight
  • Withstood a hundred trillion ton punch
  • Held up a Celestial


Ever since posting this question I have been bothered by the fight between Hulk and Hulkbuster. In that scene some of the hits that the Hulk took, knocked him hundreds of feet away and to do that requires a whole lot of force, but in the Thanos fight scene, none of the punches really knock him that far and seem to be rather soft (like the one punch where Thanos hits him in the shoulder that really seems to hurt him, it does not knock him for hundreds of feet as a really powerful punch would, he takes it and just seems really hurt) compared to the punches received by Stark in the Hulkbuster suit. I just wanted to add this to the question that as really does seem that Hulk is defeated way to easily.

I just don't think it is as a skilled fighter as Stark in the Hulkbuster suit layed him out with what seemed with way more powerful hits than Thanos did.

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    This was asked before on Movies SE: movies.stackexchange.com/questions/92247/… Commented Nov 13, 2018 at 14:15
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    Unless the feats of strength that Comic-Hulk did have also been done by MCU-Hulk, they seem a bit irrelevant, since we'd have to then list Comic-Thanos' feats if strength too, to put his strength into perspective as well?
    – Longshanks
    Commented Nov 14, 2018 at 12:47
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    @Longshanks, what else do we have to go on?
    – KyloRen
    Commented Nov 14, 2018 at 12:55
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    Any and all events within the MCU canon featuring Hulk and Thanos. If there's a lack of information within that to provide a clear answer, then you'd go to the word of God. You can also use events from the films to try and work out power levels (See the YouTube series Deathbattle for examples of how they work out power levels of characters) - i.e. Scale up a regular dog to Hela's dog to workout how much Hulk can lift. Or look at how far he can jump + his body weight, to work out how strong his legs are.
    – Longshanks
    Commented Nov 14, 2018 at 13:05
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    It’s almost as if the movies and the comics are different. Commented Nov 16, 2018 at 10:54

8 Answers 8


Because Thanos is simply stronger than the Hulk.

That statement is not made without controversy, but according to the film's writers in a MovieWeb article he didn't even need the stones,

Avengers: Infinity War has brought up more than a few debates, but screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely have now revealed that Thanos would've beat the Hulk even if he didn't have the Infinity Gauntlet with the Power Stone, fueling more debate. The opening scene takes place on the Asgardian refugee ship after Thanos and his Black Order have taken it over to locate the Tesseract. In a last ditch effort to defeat Thanos, Loki sends the Hulk into a rage to fight. However, the fight doesn't go in the Hulk's favor.

Stephen McFeely believes that the Mad Titan would've destroyed the Hulk with his own bare hands in Infinity War. This would explain why Ebony Maw allows the fight to continue and makes the scene look like Thanos was just having some fun, like a cat playing with a mouse. Looking back at the scene, Maw and Thanos are pretty calm, even when it appears that the Hulk has the upper hand in the battle.

McFeely had this to say when asked if Thanos could still beat Hulk without help. I think he could. I may be speaking out of turn, but I think Thanos could kick the Hulk's ass without the (Power Stone).

This was to establish that Thanos is not to be trifled with,

However, the opening Infinity War scene wasn't just to show that Thanos could beat the Hulk. Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige revealed early on that the first 5 minutes of Infinity War would show off the immense power of the Mad Titan and he was not kidding around. McFeely explains.

From an in-universe perspective we also have Korath the Pursuer state in Guardians of the Galaxy that

Thanos is the most powerful being in the universe.

This is when Ronan is about to wield the power stone and Korath is trying to stop him.

You can also find the source interview for the above linked article here.

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    You might want to link (and quote) the actual interview; youtube.com/watch?v=31hGnh7elAU
    – Valorum
    Commented Nov 13, 2018 at 12:50
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    Possibly also the Worf Effect? Commented Nov 13, 2018 at 20:06
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    Thanks @Draco18s I just got back from following that link. What day is it? Commented Nov 14, 2018 at 2:02
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    Note that the "most powerful being" quote is likely not in relation to physical strength but rather political/military power, what is commonly described as someone's "reach". In the first Avengers movie, Loki can be described as powerful (i.e. in a seat of power, albeit given) but the Hulk flung him around like a puppet.
    – Flater
    Commented Nov 14, 2018 at 9:38
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    @LightnessRacesinOrbit: I'm not discrediting Thanos' strength, but pointing out that the supposed evidence (the quote) is not particularly evidence (nor testimony) of physical strength.
    – Flater
    Commented Nov 14, 2018 at 11:32

They appear very evenly matched in terms of raw strength, unfortunately for Hulk, strength wasn't the deciding factor in this fight.

Hulk lays out Thanos initially, and Thanos isn't able to push him off - until he's got something to brace against. In a contest of strength between two opponents of approximately equal strength, the winner is going to be the one with greater momentum or something to brace against.

Thanos uses this momentary advantage to get to his feet and set his stance, after which he controls the fight. The Hulk becomes a glorified punching bag because he fights without technique, and against an opponent like Thanos, that's not going to work.

Hulk consistently wins because he's so ridiculously stronger than most of his opponents that his capacity to absorb damage means he can basically ignore technique with the same freedom that he ignores damage.

Against a disciplined technical fighter in his own weight class? He never stood a chance.

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    Thanos - greatest pound for pound fighter in the MCU?
    – josh
    Commented Nov 14, 2018 at 10:53
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    @josh If we're going pound-for-pound, surely one of the Pym crew would take that Commented Nov 15, 2018 at 5:42
  • @AzorAhai haha, yes, I was thinking this but I wasn't sure how their weights change with their size. I feel a new question brewing...
    – josh
    Commented Nov 15, 2018 at 11:53

First of all this is not the Hulk of the Comics and so one can't be compared to another.

Within the MCU we have already seen Hulk beaten or matched in combat several times.

Thor is his match in the Avengers and in Ragnarok again proves to be able to match a Hulk who has been fighting for years finally beating him to a draw.

Tony Stark in the Hulk Buster, yes it took dropping a building on his head but he was able to defeat Hulk in a fight.

So within the MCU we have already seen Hulk is not as infinitely strong as his comic book alter ego. Now add to this the fact that Thanos has been defined as the most powerful being in the Universe, he has an infinity stone already, has been shown to beat Thor (who could hold his own against Hulk) and is therefore easily a match for Hulk. Remember Hulks power comes from Anger, now if Hulk is being beaten by Thanos fear and doubt starts to creep in. This then leads to these emotions overcoming his anger meaning he would actually weaken meaning Thanos can cause more damage leading to him weakening more.

This fear and shock at being so easily beaten would explain why Hulk does not want to come out to face Thanos again later in the movie.

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    "First of all this is not the Hulk of the Comics and so one can't be compared to another" Exactly, we have to keep in mind that the MCU is a different universe and we cannot use the comics to speculate on the characters.
    – Aventinus
    Commented Nov 20, 2018 at 9:38

TLDR: We don't know and can only speculate. The movie uses this to get our curiosity and to establish Thanos as a strong villain.

We never see the Hulk build up anger. For all we know he could have just woken up in his bed, realising the ship is under attack, smashing a few of Thanos underlings and then go right at him, just because he was awoken in the middle of a good dream. At the least, we know he typically gets angrier if he's in life-threatening situations himself or if the love of his life is in danger. In the MCU, Black Widow gets closest to that and she's not around, nor do we have an indication that he was in serious danger before being beaten by Thanos.

So in-universe, it is likely he wasn't at his full potential and not very focused. And Thanos is likely at least about the same strength level, with better technique (less emotional fighting style) in that fight. Hulk was probably taken by surprise in how strong his opponent was - and we've seen in Age of Ultron, that surprising him when he's not looking/focused/at full strength is a sneaky way to get him out of the picture for a while.

Hulk wasn't ultimately defeated in the sense of about to die, yet a space ship is also a terrible place for the MCU Hulk to fight in. So far, we have no indication to think that he would survive in space. Even if that were the case, breaking the ship apart would kill the remaining Asgardians. And this would likely happen if he were to fully "hulk out" and have an extensive fight against someone at least equally strong. So, in his "mentally improved" state where he can talk and recognizes "friends" properly, he might also have held back on purpose. In any case it was probably a sane decision to just send him away and not drag out the lost fight.

Out of universe, the movie explicitly doesn't focus on him or his mental state. What mood he is in, what fights he had earlier whether he just transformed, whether he already is in disagreement with Banner or not. It doesn't make a big fuss about the fight and none about any "preparation" on Hulk's side. This way it builds the question of how he lost and why he hides inside Banner up as a mystery box for the next movie to open and investigate, while for the time being using him and Thor to establish how powerful Thanos is. Up to this point, those two were the top-contenders for "strongest avenger", so it sends a powerful message if Thanos outright beats both(!) - individually.

Personal side note: I sure hope Hulk can pick up that Gimli-Legolas relationship again, solve his mental issues and "level up" as well, after Thor stepped up his game in Ragnarok and IW.

  • Dreaming is speculation. No evidence provided. Also not plausible to sleep through your ship being attacked and boarded. It's a plot hole and bad writing.
    – Chloe
    Commented Nov 14, 2018 at 22:34
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    @Chloe Obviously it's speculation, that's my whole point, we have no clue what happened earlier. It's absolutely not a plot hole nor bad writing, it's simply omission (so yes, a hole in the sense that we don't see it^^), because it's not important for the story of the movie. It's even a nice tool to get people interested. Whether it's used well, all depends on whether and how they will come back to it. The whole "Hulk is hiding in Banner" storyline makes it very likely we will see a story arc about Hulk's defeat in the next movie in some form. Commented Nov 15, 2018 at 10:32
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    @Chloe it would be a plot hole if Hulk later on easily beats Thanos without anything in-between that explains the difference between the old and new situation. But that he looses a short fight round doesn't go against what we know from the movies. He even got knocked out by the Hulk-buster. Commented Nov 15, 2018 at 10:39
  • This is the correct answer Commented Nov 15, 2018 at 18:10

This was discussed by the film's directors, the Russo Brothers in a recent interview. In short, Thanos is as strong as the Hulk and more than a match for him in terms of fighting technique. The only thing Hulk has going for him is raw aggression and that got him a slight advantage at the start of the fight along with the element of surprise.

Note also that Thanos wasn't using the Power Stone to "actively" augment his own natural abilities. Had he done so, presumably he'd have been able to punch a hole straight through the Hulk and out the other side.

I would say that he’s just that powerful. You didn’t see him actively use the power stone in that fight. I think ultimately, the way we looked at that fight and the way talked about it with our stunt team when we were executing it was Hulk is obviously very powerful, but he’s a little mindless in his fighting style. It’s aggressive; it’s pummeling. Thanos is the Ghengis Kahn of the universe; he’s a very skilled fighter, equally as strong. So when you put those two up against each other, the more skilled fighter is going to win ultimately. Which is why Hulk has a moment where he overpowers Thanos, but ultimately Thanos is smart.”

The Russo Brothers Share How Thanos Beat Hulk In ‘Avengers: Infinity War’

That all being said, in the Endgame Prelude comic, you can see that the power crystal is lit (at times) during the fight. Although Thanos may not be 'actively' using it, it's possible that he was passively using it and drawing strength from its mere presence.

enter image description here
Marvel's Avengers: Endgame Prelude (2018) #1


The MCU Hulk doesn't get stronger and more durable (that's how his powers actually work, it's not just strength). This has never been established. The MCU Hulk is a convenient plot device used to establish the power of other characters e.g. Stark's Hulkbuster armour and Thanos. In the comics, Hulk can trash even adamantium so no metal suit or robot would be safe. Hulk and Thanos have never fought one on one in the comics without any additional power ups. Hulk's strength feats dwarf anything Thanos has done in canon and given Drax has killed Thanos several times, Hulk shouldn't have too many difficulties but the Russo's aren't Hulk fans and there's little consistency in the movies (Cap managing to resist Thanos) so don't think too hard about it!


Well first of all Hulk's activity or lack of same in the rest of the movie indicates that he was something less than fully motivated and so does his role in Ragnarok where he starts indicating that he's resentful at being used by his Banner half and the Avengers. He may not have been able to muster all that much anger. Also his comic book exploits are irrelevant. That Hulk is a different character and one who had decades more of power escalation to make him stupid powerful. The characters of the MCU are roughly at Bronze Age of comics levels of power.


Idk seems I see a little "grey in the temples" on hulks buzz cut in IW when he fights Thanos, and I think it's totally plausible he got caught short expecting an easy win until Thanos peels Hulks' hands off and gives him a throat punch that shut him down quick... he seems to slow down an the rage is subdued there foreword by contrast to his opening, maybe that's just my perception, ymmv. as was said well before, it seems to me our Hulk wasn't quite prepared, at least for the amount of power in that punch and it seemed to take the fight out of him, hence the early (and much disliked but necessary loss) Movie plot necessity aside, naturally...


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