SPOILER STATUS: this blog post assumes that you are familiar with the character progress of Bruce Banner/The Hulk in the Avengers movie of 2012.
I will be the first to admit that I don’t have a huge knowledge of the comics behind the recent flurry of superhero movies and TV shows, so I must beg the pardon of anyone who feels I’m not accurately representing the characters.
However, as these shows and films are so popular, I still think there’s value in looking at what we can take from them to apply to our own lives.
This time I want to talk about the Hulk, or, as he is known in his non-green state, Dr Bruce Banner. In a nutshell, when Banner is overcome with rage, he transforms into the monstrous Hulk, and his rampages have on many occasions caused serious havoc for both friends and foes.
‘So how is this helpful?’ I hear you ask. ‘Surely you can’t be telling us to get angry and run riot?’
Well, no. But it’s interesting to look at Banner’s progress as a character through the movie. We initially see him hiding from the world, attempting to live a life of servitude and peace as a means of keeping his anger at bay, so that he does not inadvertently release wanton death and destruction.
However, he is recruited by Natasha Romanoff to come to the aid of the Avengers in their battle against evil aliens. And come to their aid he does. Whilst we see him struggle with his rage for a while, he is ultimately able to unleash the Hulk only when necessary: to use the big green guy’s power to help his friends and fight his enemies, rather than attack indiscriminately.
And his secret? The reason he’s able to do this?
‘I’m always angry.’
In other words, he no longer experiences random outbursts of repressed anger; he feels it permanently – and he is able to control and channel this emotion, an extremely powerful force, in a focused and targeted way to deal with the situation at hand.
This is absolutely something we can all take inspiration from. Whether you’re angry about Brexit (whichever way you voted), or the US presidential election (again, whichever way you voted), or any number of things that have happened this year (and boy, has it been a year for things happening), you too can use your rage to do real good.
Don’t suppress it: that’s a sure-fire route to having it explode when you least expect it. Feel it and use it as momentum to action: but make sure that action is positive.
Get specific. What are you most furious about? Pick one target for your rage and do one thing, however small, to combat it.
For example, if you’re angry about racial intolerance, you could:
- reach out to neighbours from a different ethnic background to build bridges on a personal level;
- join (or start!) an activist group for promoting multicultural integration in your area;
- lobby parliament for changes to the law, to achieve equality and justice on a national level.
Bruce Banner’s secret is that he’s always angry, but there’s another secret too: that doing something about a situation makes you feel a lot better than not doing something.
Give that emotion somewhere to go.
Be like Bruce Banner: channel your anger into positive action.