Amazingly the role of the Hulk/Bruce Banner has been debated over for years now and it’s fair to say that everyone has their favorite actor to play the role. Personally, while Mark Ruffalo did a decent job I’m still for Edward Norton’s character simply because his Hulk was far more savage and he felt like a better Bruce Banner since he was geeky but a complete cream puff when he was in human form. Thor: Ragnarok would have been a lot more enticing than it already was had Norton been the man behind the big green beast, but that’s an opinion, one among many, and some would actually say that Eric Bana did a great job in Ang Lee’s version. When talking about utter ridiculousness though, this version of the Hulk took the cake since not only did he blow up like a balloon at times, but fighting three mutated dogs and then punching one of them in the testicles was kind of beyond, even for a comic book character. The moving panels that were created for the movie were kind of interesting, and having Sam Elliott for General Ross would have been preferred, but otherwise, this Hulk movie was better off being left where it was. But the biggest reason that Bana didn’t look to play the hulk in the MCU is that it wasn’t invited. That kind of shuts down a lot of arguments right there since the guy wasn’t even on the list to audition for the green goliath again, though a lot of people felt that he should have been. Somehow Ruffalo became the face of the Hulk instead, and while he’s not the worst person to ever take on the role, it still feels that he’s missing something that might have otherwise been brought to life by Norton, whose Hulk was an absolutely rage-monster, in other words, he WAS the Hulk, not some softened version of him that would eventually succumb to becoming one with Banner and turning into a guy that was smarter than hell but detested physical violence unless it was necessary.
In all fairness, the Hulk in the comics wasn’t all about aggression once he and Banner merged, but he also wasn’t squeamish about it, meaning his intellect was still intact, but he was ready to throw down when the time came and didn’t mind getting a little violent now and then. But Bana’s Hulk was a strange creature even though he wasn’t absolutely terrible. He was a bit ridiculous, yes, and even a bit easy to mock, but he wasn’t so bad that he couldn’t be considered at all. The thing is, Bana didn’t want to go back to being the Hulk. It actually took him a while to agree to be a part of Ang Lee’s movie, and even then he approached it as a one and done type of deal since he’s not the type of individual that enjoys locking himself into such blockbusters and was ready to be done when the movie was over with and wrapped. There’s no doubt that he did what he could when it came to the part, but the truth is that there are some folks that can get into stories such as this, and others that really don’t want to. Even some of those that are currently in the MCU aren’t that fond of it, and yet they’ll continue because they’re under contract and they’re getting paid. Those that have been in the MCU in the past and now find it necessary to talk crap about it (cough, cough, Mickey Rourke, cough, cough) might be a little sore that they didn’t get enough screen time or weren’t afforded a chance to come back, but they had no trouble cashing their paycheck. The point is that that some people want to participate in the MCU and are there for the duration of their contract and possibly longer if things go well.
Those that don’t want to keep going with the franchise but are still there might need to find something else to do rather than turn in a less than satisfactory performance. For Eric Bana it was never a choice of whether or not he would come back, he was already decided once he took the role, and it doesn’t sound as though he’s even thought of going back since. As great as it is that he’s stuck to his convictions it would be interesting to see him pop up in a TV episode or in a movie just for a cameo once the multiverse has been used in a significant way. It’s not a demand to see him stick around, it’s more or less an acknowledgment of Ang Lee’s contribution to the Marvel movies, and to give the fans a nice little peek at the possibilities.
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