Thanos vs. The Incredible Hulk: How Thanos Displays Masterful Tactical Skills

Thanos vs. The Incredible Hulk: How Thanos Displays Masterful Tactical Skills #mcu @marvel

So I’m a pretty big combat sports sports fan, if you could not tell. But some of you may not know that I’m also a big nerd as well. One of the best parts of the nerd universe is the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I figured I could have a little fun and break down some of the real world mechanics Marvel used in the movies and how they’re actually decently choreographed.

Robin Black does a great job of explaining it in this tweet, but we will five a little deeper into the mechanics on a more basic level here.

MCU Breakdown Chapter 1: Thanos vs. The Incredible Hulk

The best example of MCU choreography, perhaps, is the epic clash between The Hulk and Thanos at the beginning of Avengers: Infinity War. We spent close to 10 years showing off how powerful The Hulk was in the MCU. Only Abomination and Hulk Buster would even come close to besting him. In order to make Thanos the scariest villain possible, the Russo brothers decided to throw us a curve ball and have Thanos beat the hell out of him within the first 30 minutes of the film.

So, yes Thanos is scary. But more importantly, he’s technically sound as a boxer. He does a phenomenal job of mixing things up technically against The Hulk’s brawler style of fighting.

There’s a saying in fighting: “styles make fights.” Thanos and Hulk’s fight is the most exaggerated form of such a thing on a giant, cosmic scale. The Hulk is the classic definition of a brawler. He goes in there with brute force and strength and goes for a quick finish because that’s always worked for him. Thanos, on the other hand, is a mastermind tactician. He uses his technique, knowledge and experience from previous fights to give him the upper hand.

After Loki says, “We have The Hulk,” Hulk bum rushes Thanos and shoulder tackles him, more like a football player, catching Thanos off guard. Hulk then unleashed a barrage of punches on Thanos that usually works for him. Thanos, being as tactically minded as he is, is a step ahead of Hulk immediately. While he is getting hit, taking some damage, he rolls his body with the punches, not only minimizing the damage received, but he’s also letting Hulk use his energy very early on.

Hulk then presses Thanos against the wall, much like a wrestler would against the cage, and has his hands around Thanos neck. The important thing here is to not lose oxygen (Thanos presumably breathes oxygen). Thanos then grabs wrist control and out-muscles the Hulk, which could have been a costly error. But, it worked out for Thanos because he stopped the choke.

Now, Thanos gathers his rage and starts an actual game plan. He punches the Hulk in the throat which stuns him momentarily. Hulk throws a wild left punch which you can see Thanos parry with his left hand to open up the counter to the jab and a hook to the chest, a very uncomfortable shot to eat. Thanos does a real good job stepping into his jab and squaring up for the hook, pivoting on his foot and into his hips so he can get the most power out of the shot. The hook was the real intended shot from Thanos, using the jab to open up the body and leave it exposed.

Thanos then uses the wild momentum of Hulk’s wide punches and gains access behind the Hulk. That’s where he throws another nasty hook, but this time to the lower spine. While this is an illegal blow in competition, all’s fair in war. The spinal shot hurts Hulk more and opens up the next flurry of punches.

It’s at this point in a fight that the brawler (Hulk) has shown all his best shots. Thanos, the tactician, has done well at missing all the main damaging shots. What is real interesting here is Thanos switches from southpaw stance to orthodox as he mixes up his head shots and body shots. Orthodox stance is where your left foot is forward and southpaw, is the opposite. The purpose in the stance switch here is to confuse The Hulk and not become too predictable. With different punches coming from different sides, it doesn’t let your opponent get that rhythm to counter the punches. Two notable fighters that are masters at switching stances is UFC super star, Conor McGregor, and #1 pound for pound boxer, Vasyl Lomachenko.

Finish him…

Then comes the finishing sequence. First he intends to disorient Hulk so he can put an end to the fight. He grabs the back of the head as he side steps Hulk again. Bringing his face towards his knee likely giving Hulk a concussion. Now, Hulk is basically helpless. Thanos lifts Hulk over his head, more like a pro wrestler in the WWE than any fighter, and slams the Hulk on his head for the KO finish.

Thanos won this fight, but we know the rest of the story. Infinity Stones, blah blah, you should have gone for the head, yeah yeah, snap.

Anyhow, thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed this piece as much as I had fun writing it. I’m looking forward to doing the next MCU fight breakdown for everyone!