It probably doesn’t need to be said but this article has significant spoilers for Avengers: Endgame. If you’re okay with spoilers jump past this picture of the Hulk and keep going. If you aren’t? Well, stop right here or Hulk smash.
If you spend way too much time thinking about Avengers: Endgame you’ll start to realize the “Hulk Snap” may have been a terrible decision. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed Endgame and am firmly in the “just enjoy the movie for goodness sake” camp, but for funsies I decided to sit down and (over)think about all of the ways Tony Stark’s requirement for the “Hulk snap” was actually kinda, sorta selfish.
If you’ll recall, Tony told Hulk to bring everyone back but to not reset the timeline. Therefore, everyone who was snapped came back exactly as they were five years ago. We’ll assume Hulk was smart enough to have everyone appear safely on the ground. He didn’t, for example, have people who were flying in an airplane during the snap reappear in midair.
Tony and Hulk made this decision because they were actually doing quite well after the snap. Tony had a family and a super adorable daughter. Bruce Banner finally reconciled with the Hulk and had become something of a cuddly celebrity. The pair had a fate that was basically the opposite of pretty much all of the other surviving Avengers. Notably, Black Widow, Thor, and Hawkeye were all struggling with various forms of PTSD, depression, or anxiety. It’s completely understandable why Tony and Bruce would want to set those terms, because they had the most to lose. The rest of the Avengers would just need to suck it up.
Mental health of their teammates aside, their newfound happiness also blinded them to all of the other ways the parameters of the Hulk Snap were possibly worse than the original Thanos snap. Here are ten examples:
Let’s look at Snap Day alone. An estimated 360,000 babies are born each day. If we’re cutting that down the middle it means 180,000 less than a day old babies were poofed with the first snap. That means five years of mourning and moving on for those parents (assuming they survived). Now Hulk comes along and “snaps” all of those babies back. Do they reappear in the hospital or with family members? What if the parents died of natural causes while the baby was snapped? Do we have thousands of babies who aren’t even capable of crawling on their own suddenly appearing all over the planet?
Think about the last days or weeks of someone dying from a terminal illness. Although we mourn them when they finally pass it’s sometimes a relief. Now imagine your loved one was in his or her final days at hospice during the snap. Thanos, in a slightly twisted way, may have ended some suffering. The family mourned and moved on. Here comes big brained Hulk bringing that person back so they can suffer for two or three more days with the illness and the family can mourn all over again. Thanks, Tony.
The food supply.
We could barely feed 7.5 billion people before the snap. I’m not subscribing to the “Thanos Wuz Right” newsletter but after spending five years adjusting the food supply for 3.7 billion could we really handle a sudden doubling of the population? You’re looking at a Galactus-sized hunger. Earth will find itself dealing with famine on a scale it has never witnessed.
Much like the food supply the world likely adjusted the medical reserves for the reality of the new world. As an example, let’s look at diabetes and insulin use. More than six million people use insulin to treat diabetes. After the snap, assuming an even dusting, it would be around three million. Insulin typically has a refrigerated shelf life of one year, so we would’ve adjusted downward the amount of necessary insulin being produced within the first year of the snap. After the Hulk Snap, we’re looking at lots of people without medication and very limited means to produce it in a timely fashion.
As we saw with Hawkeye, many people lost significant others due to the Thanos Snap. As we saw with the MCU’s token gay character during Steve’s group therapy session, many people moved on (or tried to move on). Maybe you were one of the lucky ones and you were able to move on. You found a new love, started a new life, and have kids. Oh wait, now Tony, who didn’t lose his significant other, wants to bring back your pre-snap partner. Holy awkward! Non-monogamy and polygamy will need to be acceptable in the Post-Hulk Snap MCU or you’re looking at a lot of broken relationships and marriages.
I mean, if you think about it non-monogamy would solve so many problems in the Marvel Universe. Maybe this one is a plus.
Ant-Man’s reintroduction suggests there might be warehouses full of stuff that previously belonged to snapped people. I’m guessing this is only the case for hopeful people who thought their loved ones might someday return. Otherwise, what’s left behind was likely free game. I’m sure not everyone will immediately be thinking “I want my stuff back” as soon as they return but eventually that’s where minds will turn. Did they sell your house after your entire family disappeared? Did you own a business? What happened to bank accounts? Did you own a exquisite vase that Black Fox may have had his eye on before you disappeared?
What about the people who were in airplanes when the pilot disappeared after the snap? Or passengers in cars where drivers were dusted? Or the hundreds of other situations where an essential person disappearing would have killed bystanders? Those people probably straight up died. Did they get to come back? Imagine coming back to find out your entire family died in a car crash because you were driving and suddenly disappeared. Teh suck.
The snap left most of the world’s mightiest heroes (Iron Man and Hulk being exceptions) with challenging mental illness. What would be the psychological impact on the average person? There is power in the Universe that can, with a single snap, make 50 percent of the Universe disappear and, with a second snap, bring it all back. That exists. How tightly do you clutch your returned loved ones while forever fearing they could vanish again? Do you lash out at the heroes for failing? How many villains or anti-heroes, like Hawkeye, were born from the snap?
Death, in general.
Of course, there’s simple natural death. On average we see 55.3 million people die every year. Cut that in half and we’re looking at roughly 28 million. Over five years, that’s 140 million Earthlings dying and not being around when the Hulk Snap happens. The Snapped come back and now they’re the ones who need to mourn en masse.
And that doesn’t factor in suicides. Based on the mental state of our heroes and Steve’s group therapy talk it’s safe to say the snap would have hit the average person incredibly hard. Chances are the suicide rate skyrocketed after the snap. All of these people would have been excited to return from being snapped out of existence only to learn a loved one had taken their own life.
Over the last five years, you’ve aged. You’ve watched the world fall apart. You’ve personally struggled to keep it all together. You’ve worked through the trauma of loss and the existential horror of witnessing an alien using God-level power. Suddenly, all of these people come back who didn’t go through any of that. In fact, they weren’t even aware of the war going on in Wakanda when they disappeared. They’ll definitely be shocked when they come back but they certainly didn’t experience the same ordeal as those left behind. There will be raised eyebrows at The Snapped and possibly vice-versa. They would be “othered.” Possibly not trusted. There will be envy that The Snapped didn’t age and that they didn’t suffer on the same level.
There you have it. My 10 reasons Tony Stark and the Hulk were selfish for not resetting time to before The Snap.
Before closing, I want to stress that I loved this movie. Everything I wrote above was strictly for fun and doesn’t diminish the film in the least bit. It’s a movie based on a comic universe. Not everything needs to be explained and, unlike Oakland’s pothole problem, not every plot hole needs to be filled to enjoy the journey.
Now, let’s start building toward that Secret Wars film.