The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is a global phenomenon with tons of material that portray a large and meticulously crafted narrative. And while most aspects have been explained (save for some plotholes, but that is not important here), there are still some narrative elements and decisions that make fans wonder, if they don’t actually confuse them. One of those elements is going to be the topic of today’s article, as we are going to explain a scene from Avengers: Age of Ultron. The iconic scene in question is the one in which Black Widow manages to calm the Hulk down using a “lullaby” of sorts and we are going to explain the meaning of that scene and that phrase, so keep reading to find out!
The “Sun’s gettin’ real low” is a hypnotic suggestion used by Black Widow to calm the Hulk down. It was accompanied by a hand gesture. Black Widow used Bruce’s emotions for her to calm the Green Goliath, and the whole phrase has its origin in the fact that it was though that Banner turned into the Hulk at night, while he remained his normal self during daytime.
In today’s article, we are going to explain the meaning and the symbolism behind Natasha’s phrase, as well as the implications it has on the whole MCU. Enjoy!
What does “Sun’s gettin’ real low” mean?
Now, to get to the point. The iconic scene we are talking about today appears around the end of Joss Whedon’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, the second Avengers movie. This is the scene:
As you can see, an out-of-control Hulk is smashing things when Black Widow appears. He rages at her, but then she says: “Hey big guy, Sun’s getting real low.” The phrase seems to calm the Hulk down a bit and when it was followed by a hand gesture, the Green Goliath seemed to be completely pacified as he approached Natasha. Not long after that, he turned back into Bruce Banner.
When asked about the scene and the phrase, Joss Whedon had this to say:
“Hey, big guy. Sun’s gettin’ real low.”I actually added that later in the game, I think something basically to get his attention and to have a phrase that he knows, this is about to start. I wanted to do as little with talking as possible, because it’s all going on there [points to his eyes], which is amazing, because two of those are not real — they were created by ILM, and yet they are so full of life. And I hate to say it, but he’s dead sexy as the Hulk.– Joss Whedon
There doesn’t seem to be a deeper meaning to the phrase – although it has its origins as we are going to explain soon. It seems to be a hypnotic suggestion of sorts, a phrase accompanied by a hand gesture, that seems to work on the Hulk. Why that phrase and gesture? Well, the MCU never explained this but Banner’s emotions towards Natasha seem to have an influence on the whole thing. This is what Whedon said:
You know, we went there. I was trying to trace it back, because I honestly don’t remember before. We talked a little about the chemistry they had, just together in their scenes, and then I think it started with the lullaby. Like, “If you have the Hulk on the team, you know what would be cool is if Natasha’s the one who could talk him down.” And then it started to tick in my head, like, “There’s actually a truth there about who they are and how they connect that’s now very interesting,” and it built from there. Oddly enough, the lullaby itself is one of the last scenes that we finished because of the effects. And when we finished it, we were like, “This is way more romantic and way more physical than it was when it was post-viz, or a mark on a suit on a platform. It suddenly became that the romance was way more front and center in it than I expected.– Joss Whedon
So, it does seem that the phrase itself wasn’t that powerful and that it was actually a combination of the phrase, the gesture and the person using them that influenced the Hulk.
Where does “Sun’s gettin’ real low” come from?
The exact phrase is not present in any other material; it was created for the movie. But, the phrase is actually a Biblical reference, as the Bible has a phrase similar to this one that also uses the Sun as a metaphor for anger. The phrase is as follows:
25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are members of one another.– Book of Ephesians 4:25-27
26 “Be angry, yet do not sin.” Do not let the sun set upon your anger,
27 and do not give the devil a foothold.
The Sun, here, is also used to describe anger. When the Sun sets down, the person becomes angry, which is why the Bible warns that the person should not let the Sun set upon them, which means that they should not allow themselves to become angry.
As for the comic books, the phrase certainly has its origins in an old Marvel theory. According to it, it was believed that Banner’s transformation into the Hulk was connected to the time of day. It was believed that Banner turned into the Hulk only during nighttime, while he remained Banner during the day. The theory was revoked when we witnessed Banner turn into the Hulk during daytime, but it’s still a nice reference.
Why does Thor keep saying “Sun’s going down”?
In Thor: Ragnarok, when Thor first encounters Hulk in the arena, he tries to calm him down in the same manner as Natasha did in Avengers: Age of Ultron. This is the scene:
As you can see, Thor embarrassed himself big time in this scene, as he ended up being trashed by the Hulk. Knowing what we know now, though, we can easily explain this scene. Black Widow obviously revealed her “trick” to the other Avengers and Thor tried to use that same trick on the Hulk. The phrase was a bit off, the gesture also, but it seemed to work until Hulk realized that he was not talking to Natasha.
When the realization hit him, the Hulk beat Thor up and the rest is history. This actually reveals some important things about the trick and its influence on the Green Goliath.
Who is the only Avenger that can calm the Hulk down?
As witnessed in Age of Ultron and confirmed by Thor’s miserable attempt in Ragnarok, Black Widow seems to be the only Avenger able to calm the Hulk down in the MCU. This is due to their emotional connection, which thus becomes an essential part of the suggestive procedure that calms the Green Goliath down in the MCU.
And that’s it for today. We hope you had fun reading this and that we helped solve this dilemma for you. See you next time and don’t forget to follow us!