Happy Birthday Marvelous Mark Ruffalo!
It’s Monday, November 22nd, 2021, and do you know what that means, Marvel Blog True Believers? We need to wish Mark Ruffalo a very happy birthday! The actor has played Bruce Banner, A.K.A. the Incredible Hulk, since 2012’s The Avengers… and he hasn’t finished with the Marvel Cinematic Universe yet!
Ruffalo’s the Hulk!
Ruffalo was already a big star when he stepped into the (very big) shoes of the Hulk, having appeared in movies like 2004’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and 2010’s Shutter Island.
Interestingly, Ruffalo is not the first person to play Banner… even in the MCU (maybe)! Eric Bana played the role in the 2003 Hulk, directed by Ang Lee. While this movie pre-dated the MCU, it still features a CGI version of the Hulk. Then in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk, one of the earliest movies in the MCU (depending on who you ask), the role was played by Edward Norton.
However, now that we’ve seen Ruffalo in those purple shorts, it’s hard to imagine anyone else in the role (of the Incredible Hulk, anyway – the Totally Awesome Hulk is a different story)!
Path of the Hulk
After making his debut in the role in The Avengers, Ruffalo returned for a cameo role in the end credits scene of Iron Man 3 (2013), emphasizing the relationship between Banner and Stark. This was underscored in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), in which it was revealed that Stark had crafted Hulkbuster armor (named “Veronica,” because Banner’s ex-girlfriend, played by Liv Tyler, is named “Betty” – you get it, Archie Comics fans).
At the end of Age of Ultron, Hulk was MIA, meaning he wasn’t present for 2016’s Captain America: Civil War (probably for the best). We next saw him in 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok, in which Thor (Chris Hemsworth) met up with him on the faraway planet of Sakaar.
Then, in 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War, he traveled with the Asgardians until they were felled by Thanos (Josh Brolin) – although Hulk survived because he was sent by Bifrost to Doctor Strange’s Sanctum! However, because of the confrontation, Hulk wouldn’t come out for the rest of the movie.
But a version of Hulk returned in 2019’s Avengers: Endgame… just not as you might remember him. “Smart Hulk” wears glasses and clothes like Banner, and seems to be just as smart as he is, all while maintaining the physique and strength of Hulk.
And we saw Banner once more in the mid-credits sequence for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, where it was confirmed that his arm is still in a sling after snapping the Infinity Gauntlet and bringing back the half of universe!
Plus, it isn’t solely the Sacred Timeline in which you can find Ruffalo as Hulk: he also appeared in What If…?, the first season of which is currently available for streaming on Disney+ (just like the rest of the movies mentioned in this section).
More Hulk to Come
This isn’t the last time we’ll see Ruffalo as Hulk: we already know he’ll be returning in She-Hulk, the upcoming MCU series on Disney+! What other shows might Hulk appear in? Only time will tell, Marvel Blog True Believers!