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Why was the Hulk knocked out so quickly by Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War but was not knocked out after Tony Stark in the HulkBuster drove him straight down through about 30 floors of steel girders and concrete slabs of a building in Avengers: Age of Ultron?

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    Because Thanos is stronger? – Adamant Apr 6 at 3:37
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    Or... The impact of events in Ragnarok on hulk/Bruce are not known yet. Look at the other hero's that stood against thanos and were not turned to jelly. Thanos being stronger isn't the only dynamics at play here. Hulk as a fully realised hulk and angry takes time to stop (hulkbuster and that only cause he came too) yet ironman was standing against thanos. Rule of cool here to show thanos is silly strong but also so the film lasted longer than 5min – Naib Apr 6 at 7:43
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    Remember while the Hulk wasn't knocked out by being driven through a building, it only takes one more punch to the head by Hulkbuster to knock him out. It is safe to assume that Hulkbuster's long fight with Hulk was equivelent to Thanos' short battle with Hulk. – James Douglas Apr 6 at 21:44
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    There are no end of moments in the comics where some super-skilled fighter/martial artist smugly explains that, for all (insert major super powerhouse)'s strength, they have the same nerve clusters as any person. The fighter then proceeds to nimble dodge and leap and hit those clusters. And the (powerhouse) wobbles, weaves and maybe falls. Sometimes this is plausible and acceptable, sometimes not. Thanos was precision punching with obviously enormous strength and that might have been what was happening. – Blaze Apr 7 at 13:03
  • Related: How did Thanos beat Hulk so easily? – user310650 Apr 8 at 12:37
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The important thing to note here is Avengers: Infinity War happens immediately after the events of Thor: Ragnarok, as we see in the post credits scene.

This means Hulk goes after Thanos right after an incredibly exhausting fight with Fenrir. A rather even fight, where Fenrir does bite Hulk rather bad.

Add to the picture the fact that Thanos is a very skilled fighter! He excels in hand-to-hand combat. As we see in the fight sequence, Hulk is a brawler who relies mostly on brute strength.

This is supported by this quote from Joe Russo:

Hulk is obviously very powerful but he’s a little mindless in his fighting style. It’s aggressive. It’s pummeling. Thanos is the Genghis Khan of the universe. He’s a very skilled fighter and equally as strong. So when you put those two up against each other, the more skilled fighter is going to win. Which is why Hulk has a moment where he overpowers Thanos, but ultimately Thanos is smarter.

In summary, two reasons:

  • Hulk is already exhausted from all the action on Asgard.
  • Thanos is a better fighter than Hulk.

The real question isn't exactly how Hulk didn't get knocked out by the building thing.

To put things into perspective, being driven through a building wasn't that much of an issue for the Hulk. He's easily more powerful than that. So that was definitely not going to knock him out.

But going toe to toe against an equally strong, and way more skilled opponent, whilst being driven to exhaustion, was obviously going to put him at a major disadvantage.

EDIT: No spoilers, but Endgame gave us even more evidence to support that Thanos IS indeed just as strong as Hulk, and is even better a fighter than several!

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    I've not voted on this because maybe I've misunderstood something here but after reading this a few times I'm not really sure how it answers the question. This appears to answer the question of "How could Thanos beat Hulk easily?" rather than describing the discrepancy between Thanos and being driven through the building. – TheLethalCarrot Apr 15 at 10:59
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    @TheLethalCarrot the point of the answer was that: Being hit in the face with a building was no big deal for the Hulk since he was at full capacity, and the HulkBuster wasn't completely upto his levels of power. I should probably update that in the answer. – Stark07 Apr 16 at 1:27
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    There is another point to remember, the hulks power is directly based on his emotions, anger being the most obvious one. Although other emotions can be linked to this. In the fight against Stark Scarlet witch had got in his head so making him lose control becoming even stronger and able to survive more. Against Thanos Hulk does not have this added artificial rage, he also finds himself in a fair fight which adds doubt and fear and therefore makes it easier to beat him. – Richard C Apr 16 at 6:06
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    @RichardC: “the hulks power is directly based on his emotions, anger being the most obvious one” — the MCU hasn't made that connection yet. In The Incredible Hulk, Banner was measuring his heart rate to avoid transformations. In Ragnarok, Hulk runs through a gamut of emotions without changing back into Banner. – Paul D. Waite Apr 16 at 9:27
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    In Avengers 1 numerous comments are made about Banner getting angry, controlling his anger. Banner then says himself that his secret is that he is always angry. However none of that takes away from the fact that Stark fights a Hulk who has been mind controlled by Wanda making him more powerful. In Ragnarok Hulk has been in charge for 2-3 years so is in the ascendancy. Banner then takes time to change back to Hulk to fight Fenris. – Richard C Apr 16 at 10:56

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