The gratuitous shirtless scene is a Marvel-movie staple, and few of its heroes have been paraded around half-nude more than Chris Hemsworth. As Thor, possibly the most swole superhero in the Marvel cinematic universe, Hemsworth can be counted on to reliably remove his shirt for no reason whatsoever beyond marketing purposes. The latest Marvel movie, Thor: Ragnarok, readily continues that tradition — and yup, Hemsworth still has physical dimensions that would make almost any mortal man envious — but at the same time, Marvel realizes that the ante must be upped. This is the third Thor movie, and the stakes are higher than ever before. We need more than just another Thor shirtless scene, even if this one comes complete with his fetching new hairdo.
We need, it seems, Hulk butt.
The Marvel cinematic universe has not seen fit to give us nude scenes before, not even in the unrated Netflix shows where superheroes sometimes sex it up, but always within tasteful basic-cable parameters. It falls to Thor: Ragnarok, then, to break that barrier in the most unexpected way, stripping the familiar purple skivvies off the Hulk in a nude scene as cheeky as director Taika Waititi.
The moment comes somewhat past the halfway point of Thor: Ragnarok, after our hero has spent some time trying to get off of the planet Sakaar, where he has been imprisoned by the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum). Thor is made to fight in a gladiator arena against his old friend Hulk (a motion-captured Mark Ruffalo), who has also been spirited away to Sakaar against his will. If Thor can somehow convince Hulk to switch back into his puny Bruce Banner form, perhaps he’ll have an ally with the smarts to help them both escape.
Alas, Hulk doesn’t want to be Bruce Banner anymore. He wants to strut around as the most powerful gladiator on the planet, taunting anybody who thinks they’re strong enough to best him. Hulk may be less verbal than Thor, but he’s got the Asgardian god beat in almost every other way, especially when it comes to his overworked frame. So while Thor can manage an impressive shirtless scene, Hulk one-ups him by casually strolling past Thor in the nude, letting it all hang out. Thor reacts to the full-frontal glimpse reserved only for him but the rest of the audience has a moment to ponder Hulk’s rear, and there’s a whole lot there to ponder.
Is the Hulk butt what you might have pictured? That depends on if you were the kind of eyebrow-raising Tumblr artist who had pictured it in the first place. For the rest of us, who had this unexpected bounty dropped into our laps, I can report that the Hulk’s butt is as green as the rest of him — no Coppertone situation here. The big surprise is that the Hulk’s posterior is almost surprisingly petite, especially for a beast whose permanent stance is a posture-busting squat. Did Marvel decide that general audiences couldn’t handle an especially Hulked-out bubble butt, or is the superhero just too top-loaded with bulk for his rear to make much of an impression? Somehow, the butt they landed on is almost tasteful, straddling the line between innocent nudity and “one thicc bih” infamy.
The MPAA description for Thor: Ragnarok doesn’t even single out the nude scene: Instead, the PG-13 rating is warranted due to “brief suggestive material.” (If seeing the Hulk naked suggests certain things to you, that’s between you and your therapist.) It’s fitting, though, that a Ruffalo character should get the MCU’s first nude scene, given how often the actor has taken his clothes off over the course of his career. Will the rest of the Marvel superheroes follow suit by doffing theirs? We know that in Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos will attack our heroes with a giant moon. Seems like they ought to counter in kind, with the Hulk butt leading the way.