It was in that moment that Thanos did the unthinkable,..He beat the Hulk, and a collective “hush” fell in the theatre.
Sitting in the theatre watching the opening Marvel logo flicker in the darkness of the now silent theatre, the sound of a distress call began to rise. It was Thor calling Thanos’s ship begging him to “stop”. “This is not a warship”, the message echoed through a cold, dispassionate space to deaf ears riding the ship that brought only death. The scene cuts to a grizzly picture of dead and mangled bodies. The fire seemed to play it’s symphony of destruction as the boots of Thanos’s henchmen walked through the carnage, singing songs of redemption through annihilation. It was then that we saw the antagonist holding one of the most powerful being’s head in the palm of his hand. Thor had been beaten, but not only that, he had been humiliated. The scene panned to Loki, the trickster, and what seemed to be a plan made complete by the god of mischief. As I sat in the darkness of the theatre, watching the horrors (yes, I get into the mythos) unfold, my thoughts were “I knew It, the previews basically said that Loki would betray them all”, but my heart was a little sad, which fueled a flicker of anger towards the character. Loki approached the conquer Thanos, seemingly to give his undying gratitude and allegiance, but then something happened…he pulled a Tony Stark and uttered 5 words, “…but we have a Hulk!”
Oh yeah, Hulk was gonna smash!
The roar of Hulk’s rage, rage that even echoed through the halls of Asgard, swept through the theatre as the Mad Titan was flung across the ship by green fists of fury. I knew that this wasn’t going to be the end of Thanos, I mean, this was the opening 5 minutes of the movie, but I wanted to see a beating and it looked good…
…for a short while…
The henchman that echoed his theology of death while walking through the Asgardian corpses halted a much larger beast from helping his god Thanos and uttered words that would be sobering to the watchers of the movie, “wait, let him have his fun”.
In an instant, Thanos effortlessly escaped the green grasp of the Hulk and went toe-to-toe with the raging Goliath. The punches were fast and furious as Hulk was beaten to a pulp, his strength taken from him by a brutal madman.
The green Goliath was beaten, but not by a David, and not by sheer strength, but by fear.
Throughout the movie, the Hulk was called upon time and time again by Bruce, and each and every time, the answer from the beast was always the same, “NNOOOOO!!!”
For anyone that is familiar with the Hulk mythos through the comics/graphic novels, you will know that the Hulk has stood toe-to-toe with enemies time and time again and has been beaten. While the Hulk’s strength grows in proportion to his rage, there are more powerful beings in the universe that have easily defeated him. Hulk stood his ground, even against insurmountable odds, but he was never “afraid”. One of the main proclamations of the “greenie-meany” is, “Hulk is strongest there is!!!”
But not this time, this time, the Hulk was conquered by an enemy that was present in the smoking wreckage of a doomed vessel; an adversary that is present in the Marvel universe as well as ours, the enemy of fear.
Fear crippled the Hulk worse than any injury and can do the same to us. How many times have we failed at a task, been beaten in competition, had an opponent out best us at every level and feel the cold voice of fear in our mind? Fear can conquer the most confident individual if we let him. Millions of dollars and hours of time have been dedicated by billions of people to find ways of defeating this foe but to no avail. Oh, to be sure, some battles can be won, but the overall war will always to the Thanos in our lives.
Fear can be permanently defeated, victorious life with power and purpose can be achieved, but a quest must be begun and a price must be paid.
We can beat fear, just as the Hulk can’t, but we can die (Romans 6:6-23) and gain a new hero identity through death (2 Corinthians 5:17). Through this glorious death, we can have something inside us greater than the Hulk, we can have the “One Above All” that can conquer (Philippians 4:13). Through our own “Hulk”, we have weaponry that can tear our enemies to shreds with armor and weaponry that is stronger than Stormbreaker (Ephesians 6:10-18).
But before this, you have to die (John 3:5).
No one can be worthy to wield this kind of power (Isaiah 64:6, Ephesians 2:8) unless he makes a quest for death and to be reborn through water and through fire. Not a physical death as the Hulk endured, but a death that can only come by confessing to the “One Above All” (Romans 10:9).
The Hulk was defeated by fear, but you can have a power greater than anything by becoming worthy through the “One Above All” that was counted worthy for your sake.