The heartbreaking finale of The Adam Project brings Mark Ruffalo back to his most tragic MCU moment when the time travel drama ends.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for The Adam Project, now available on Netflix.
Avengers: Infinity War delivered one of the most heartbreaking moments in cinema, shocking many fans when Thanos snapped half the galaxy in the finale. Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner/Hulk, in particular, suffered from Thanos’ Snap, horrified by the sight of Vision’s lifeless body and the ashes of his allies all over Wakandan soil. This changed Banner over time, making him truly understand the value of life and how quickly it can be taken away. Unfortunately, Netflix The Adam Project just made Ruffalo relive that tragic ordeal, with a darker twist for his own mental state.
Despite its marketing promising a fun tone, The Adam Project focuses on grief, with Ryan Reynolds’ Adam and his younger self (Walker Scobell) having to come to terms with the death of their father, Louis, played by Ruffalo. Young Adam dealt with the injury by being a problem child at school and with his mother, Ellie (Jennifer Garner), while Big Adam remained angry, thinking Louis had abandoned them.
This culminated in a moody arc when the Adams moved to 2018 to prevent time travel from existing. They worked with Louis to erase his quantum work from the timeline so a dystopian future wouldn’t occur, but that meant they would disappear at their appointed times. Their memories would reconcile so they wouldn’t remember everything, just faint echoes, but Louis would keep his knowledge and try to work around the paradoxes and butterfly effects. They had some time, however, to play ball in the garden. Louis used this to assure his son that he would be fine, especially knowing that Adam grew up to be an armed hero. It gave them closure, but when Louis turned his back to catch a baseball, the Adams were gone, leaving their mitts behind.
The Adam Project left Louis in a similar situation to Bruce after the Snap, although this time he was somewhat reassured that the missing one would be fine. The real harm was done to him though, as it required a lot of hope. Also, he didn’t take in any information about how he died in the original timeline around 2020, which meant he lived wondering what would happen. As a scientist, he would be more dependent on details and facts, not just faith and guesswork, so it must have been hard for him. And so, moving on and not knowing if he would see Adam grow up, it was like Banner was thinking about Infinity War that he would never see his Avengers allies again.
Banner changed, calming down to become Professor Hulk by merging his human and Hulk forms, reconciling angst, and living a life of acceptance of death. However, fans didn’t see how Louis handled his issues in The Adam Project. Sadly, he ended up mysteriously dying too, which felt like a much darker fate for someone who might have prayed for their family to avoid the trauma of yesteryear.
Honestly, it would have been nice to see him cope more, especially as he spent more time with Ellie and Adam, finally understanding how precious family was and should have outweighed work in the first place. In the end, this made Louis’ story into The Adam Project more emotional because even though his loved ones survived, he may have been broken inside knowing there was a good chance his death was imminent.
To see how Louis de Ruffalo also had to deal with the Banner tragedy, check out The Adam Project, now streaming on Netflix
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