There are people who are upset that Hulk never got his rematch with Thanos. While I personally hoped to also see it, Endgame made it clear that Banner/Hulk’s fight is not with Thanos, or any villain. Rather, it was a fight with himself: an internal struggle of dueling identities, which he’s finally able to fuse into a single entity called ‘Professor Hulk’.
Bruce Banner suffers from Disassociative Identity Disorder. There is Bruce, the main ego — a brilliant, gentle and rational scientist, and Hulk, the alter ego — an animalistic brute with overwhelming strength but the mental age of a young child.
In many ways, we too can relate to this struggle of the Rational mind and the Animalistic mind. The animalistic side of us is linked closely to our emotions, while the rational side of us is linked closely to our use of reason. It is the animalistic side of us that craves for an abundance of primitive things of the flesh: food, pleasure, sex, etc. It is the rational mind that keeps us in check — and makes us human. We don’t molest someone just because we find a person attractive, because we understand that it is wrong to do so.
Prof. Hulk certainly had the strength to ‘smash’, but he chooses not to. The final test came when Prof. Hulk found out that Black Widow died. Would his grief and rage make Hulk assume the dominant identity and turn him once more into a mindless brute? It did not. All we saw was him hurling a bench across the lake in anger. That was his rationality keeping the animal in check. Reason managing emotion. He had passed the final test.
Hulk went through hell to finally strike this balance. Such a successful fusion keeps one self-controlled and peaceful. I loved the scene when Prof. Hulk compassionately offered Ant Man another sandwich, while both Nebula and War Machine mocked him. That truly exemplified what a contented and peaceful soul looked like!
“Be at peace with your own soul, then heaven and earth will be at peace with you.”
— St. Jerome
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