The Incredible Hulk is Marvel’s most impressive superhero, and here are all the actors who played Bruce Banner and his green alter ego in live action. In most cases, the Hulk is born after gamma radiation experiments by brilliant scientist Bruce Banner end up unleashing his inner beast, leading to a transformation from human to wild monster. Thankfully, the Hulk’s fury is most often directed at villains, but any Marvel Comics veteran knows that sometimes the creature breaks apart and decimates anyone in its path as well.
In live-action adaptations of the Incredible Hulk character made thus far, the ugliest side of the Hulk is rarely seen, and usually as a result of an evil plot. That’s probably fine, as it would be difficult for audiences to support an Avenger who had split another superhero in half in a previous movie. The real disappointment for Hulk fans is that due to the rights split between Disney / Marvel Studios and Universal Pictures, it seems unlikely that another Hulk solo movie will be released.
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In the meantime, at least the Hulk continues to make appearances in new MCU movies and TV shows, keeping the big green bully alive in the pop culture consciousness. Five actors have played Bruce Banner or the Hulk in live action to date, and here’s the rundown.
Bill Bixby (The Incredible Hulk TV Series and TV Movies)
The first introduction that non-readers Marvel Comics received to The Incredible Hulk was its eponymous television series, which began in 1977, and also spawned several follow-up television films that incorporated other Marvel characters such as Thor and Daredevil. Two different actors played Dr. Banner, named David instead of Bruce in this version, and the Hulk, with Banner played by the late Bill Bixby.
Bixby had previously gained fame on shows like My favorite martian Y Eddie’s father’s courtshipand it turned out to be an excellent option to lead The incredible Hulk. He imbued David Banner with an affable sympathy and solemn sadness, which helped convey his compassion for others and his heroic qualities, while also conveying the involuntary nature of his powers. Sadly, Bixby’s Hulk suffered a tragic final fate in the appropriately titled Death of the Incredible Hulk.
Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk TV Series & TV Movies)
At Incredible Hulk In the TV series and its follow-up TV movies, Lou Ferrigno played the Hulk, while Bixby played Banner. Switching between actors was about the only way to realistically achieve the character with a 1970s television budget and without the advancements of CGI effects. Ferrigno, a muscular mountain man, proved to be as perfect a choice for the Hulk as Bixby was for Banner, having been a championship-winning professional bodybuilder before taking up acting.
Ferrigno is certainly not the Daniel Day Lewis type, but he brings a brutal physique to his performance that helps sell the Hulk as a towering figure that no one should want to mess with. When Banner transforms into the Hulk, his enemies are generally left confused and terrified, and that reaction is justified by how ready Ferrigno’s Hulk seems to tear someone apart, even if the lack of CGI doesn’t allow the character to be so imposing and huge. as it usually represents. Ferrigno later lent his voice to the Hulk in the 2003 and 2008 films.
Eric Bana (Hulk)
Directed by Ang Lee, 2003’s Helmet starring Australian actor Eric Bana as Bruce Banner, with the Hulk being a fully computer-generated character for the first time, at least visually. Helmet It’s a complex movie, and it has its strengths, but it’s quickly been overshadowed in the years since by the Hulk’s appearances within the MCU. Critics gave it pretty decent reviews at the time, but the box office totals weren’t very impressive when you factor in the movie’s high budget.
As for Bana’s acting, she’s actually quite good and makes Bruce’s plight easy to sympathize with. In any case, the problems that many have with Helmet 2003 are more in the script than the actors, as a common complaint is that Helmet it’s too dramatic and introspective and doesn’t feature enough sensational stuff. Still, Bana gets it right, and the movie is definitely worth seeing for yourself.
Edward Norton (The Incredible Hulk)
When the newly created Marvel Studios decided to make The incredible Hulk At the beginning of phase 1 of the MCU, they cast Edward Norton as Bruce Banner. It was a sensible move from an acting standpoint, as Norton’s work has been widely acclaimed. Unfortunately, Norton also has a reputation in Hollywood for being a bit of a control freak, whether he deserves it or not. Norton was reportedly involved in multiple disputes with Kevin Feige and other Marvel producers over the final cut, though he has questioned the validity of those claims.
As for Norton’s actual performance, it’s his regular quality work, and it would certainly have been interesting to see him perform alongside Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, and the rest of the gang in the Avengers. Unfortunately, that was not the case, as Norton was not brought back for more MCU movies, reportedly due to the aforementioned claims that he was difficult to work with.
Mark Ruffalo (The Avengers, Age of Ultron, Thor: Ragnarok, Infinity War and Endgame)
Mark Ruffalo, of course, replaced Edward Norton starting in 2012. the Avengers, and has appeared in sequels Avengers: Age of Ultron, Avengers: Infinity War, Y Avengers Endgame. It also played a vital role in Thor: Ragnarok, leading to the closest thing to another Hulk-centric movie that fans have gotten since 2008. Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner also made post-credits cameos in iron Man 3 Y Captain Marvel.
Ruffalo has come to be seen as the definitive screen for the Hulk and Banner, which makes sense, since he is part of one of the largest film franchises ever made. Ruffalo definitely brings a different feel to Banner, making the character less intense and more socially awkward. Still, it also conveys Banner’s brilliance, even if said brilliance doesn’t extend to the working of the Hulkbuster armor. Ruffalo’s performance also extended to The incredible Hulk himself in Avengers Endgame, with the birth of Smart Hulk.
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