Could've Eric Bana Returning As HULK Made THE AVENGERS Better Or Not?

This has been bugging me since I gave, Ang Lee's Hulk another chance. Click here to see what I think.

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By Nick Salinski - 3/5/2013


I really enjoyed all three portrayals of both Bruce Banner and The Hulk. A change of heart is all it took. I really don't have a favorite. Eric Bana played an out of control Bruce, Edward Norton plays Bruce as someone trying to find a cure who eventually gains control and Mark Ruffalo plays a Bruce that's in control (for the most part). That being said, The Incredible Hulk was a reboot/sequel (depending on how you view the film) to Ang Lee's Hulk and they redid everything. Personally, keeping Eric Bana and Jennifer Connolly would've been nice. So, would keeping Eric Bana have improved The Avengers or no? While I sit here and write, I'm still at debate with myself. Part of me thinks it would have made The Avengers interesting but another part thinks that Mark Ruffalo was the best choice as he is an amazing Bruce Banner and I loved him in the role. I would say Edward Norton as he is an amazing actor but, when you picture him in the same room as Robert Downey jr, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Jackson, ect. It really doesn't look right. Obviously, Ruffalo looks right cause he has already been in the same room as those people before. Now, bear with me here. Try to picture it, Eric Bana in a room with the list of actors I mentioned. It looks rather interesting don't it?



Hulk is one of the most beloved characters Marvel has ever had. That much is obvious. Ever since, Ang Lee's Hulk. It's felt to me that it's been an uphill battle for Hulk to be huge again (no pun intended). Now, I do not intend to start a flame war with what I'm bout to say cause I've said it before, it's all about preferance. In my humble opinion, despite the fact that I enjoy Batman. I feel that, Hulk as a comicbook character is better and more interesting than Batman and Superman. That's just my opinion. Joss Whedon is right when talking about another solo Hulk film. It's the fact that he is really tricky to try and nail for a good or great film because of all the genre's you have to get in for it to be right (more-less what he said, I can't remember his exact words). Eric Bana is a great actor. The two that come to mind for me, when I think of him are the two movies I remember seeing him in: Hulk and Star Trek. Star Trek showed his more aggresive and vengeful side while Hulk was aggresion and vulnerability. I think as I write this, Eric Bana actually would have made a good Bruce Banner in Marvel's The Avengers. Maybe possibly, bring something to the role and movie that Ruffalo possibly couldn't. I can't tell you what nor could I begin to try.

I think the problems with the two Hulk films have been they have one but not the other. Hulk has the more psycological and emotional depth of the character while The Incredible Hulk had more fun and smashing. I think if it would've been done the first time, combining the two could've really got a Hulk movie fans have been eager to see. Cause the general audience wants to see Hulk smash things, the comicbook fans and readers of Hulk want to see how close with the source material they stuck with and if it's a proper portrayal of the characters as well as the character depth needed. Eric Bana and Mark Ruffalo are neck and neck for me (Eric Bana just brings something that Edward Norton doesn't). Due to the fact that it's the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Fans and general audience members are expecting a fun popcorn movie that they've gotten before and Marvel's The Avengers is that and more. Looking back on everything, it dissapoints me that Eric Bana never got to reprise the role because not only would we have had a different take on, The Incredible Hulk but also, The Avengers could have been more interesting in the aspect of, The Hulk than it actually is.



Final thoughts: I apologize if this felt more like a review somehow. But, Eric Bana's portrayal of Bruce Banner is something I think deserves to be in the top ten or fifteen portrayals of comicbook characters. Ang Lee's Hulk is hated for many reasons. My bugs with it are the scene changing with the comic panals and the anti-climax that they call a final battle. Looking back, I really wish they could've kept Bana. He really brought something special to the role and I think he could've made The Avengers that much more interesting if not better.

What do you think? Can you picture Eric Bana as Bruce Banner/Hulk in The Avengers had they kept him after Ang Lee's Hulk? Comment below with your respectful and civil thoughts and opinions.
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16 Comments
Spideyguy94 - 3/5/2013, 9:31 AM
Ang lee's hulk is quite fascinating, at least to me anyway. I personally appreciate it because it takes from peter davids run which does dive into the psychology of the hulk, and that is in my opinion the best hulk run ever. But the problem with the whole psychology aspect is thst its too overbearing and it gets boring. Also it sets up the big mystery of Bruce's dad and his experiments on him, but we already know what his dad did to him in the first 5 mins and the movie makes it so obvious but Bruce is too stupid to figure it out. One of another of its problems was the way it was marketed, the trailers and tv spots promoted it as this big action movie, so people were going in thinking hulk smash instead they came out with hulk think. And while I do love the psychology of the hulk there has to be an element of fun to the hulk, which is why the avengers hulk was the first time it's really worked on screen.
AshleyWilliams - 3/5/2013, 10:11 AM
No. Ang Lees Hulk was a disgrace.

Ruffalo is the best Banner.
jessepostal - 3/5/2013, 10:17 AM
To me it's too drawn out, like most of his movies. It drags in many spots, the poodles, well I kinda like the poodles :), all in all in just wasn't very exciting or adventuress. It looked great at that time though!
SpoonWielder - 3/5/2013, 10:59 AM
To me Ruffalo is better. He did all the motion capture for Hulk as well as play Banner. Eric Bana just played Banner. Ang Lee did all the motion capture for the Hulk in that movie. Also I recall hearing Louis Letterier saying that he wanted to cast Jennifer Connelly as Betty in the Incredible Hulk, but Marvel wanted everything recast so people wouldn't be confused if the Incredible Hulk was a sequel or not.
With that same logic that's why they didn't cast Eric Bana in the Avengers. Which in my opinion is a good thing. Because we got Ruffalo, and we got a Hulk that actually looks and moves a bit like Banner.
Plus I tried your imagining thing; I don't like the look of Eric Bana with the rest of the Avengers. I enjoyed Ruffalo's height contrast to the rest of the Avengers. Bana is like 6 foot. But that's a stupid reason not to cast someone. Anyway, good article but I disagree with you.
LoudNoises - 3/5/2013, 11:59 AM
I never really see where all the praise for Ruffalo as Bruce Banner comes from because I think when most people say the Hulk from the Avengers was the best Hulk so far (which I agree) they are referring to the CGI Hulk. I think Ruffalo is a fine actor but I don't think it would have made much difference at all if you had Eric Bana, Ed Norton or Mark Ruffalo.I suppose you could make the argument that it was all motion capture performance but they didn't write the part of Eric Banner or Hulk so complex that it required an Oscar worthy performance. Not to say that is a bad thing, I liked Ruffalo's performance just fine and think he fulfilled the requirements of the role as expected. That being said I think either actor could have pulled off the role.
DrDoom - 3/5/2013, 1:03 PM
Should've kept Norton.
TheLokey1 - 3/5/2013, 2:35 PM
Any Lee's Hulk was cool, I consider it the unofficial phase one movie because even though IH was supposedly a reboot, it didn't really contradict anything from the previous film, and together they are kind of yin and yang to a complete hulk story.
TheSuperguy - 3/5/2013, 4:43 PM
Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno are THE DEFINITIVE Bruce Banner/Hulk for me...
ThunderKat - 3/5/2013, 6:02 PM
Could you explain your title?

Eric Bana was awful in a film wherein the most compelling and interesting character the the CGI 'actor.' Everyone was two-dimensional and the story was mired in Nick Nolte's character's exposition. No one explained why he was such a loon.
incrediblesuperbatspider - 3/5/2013, 7:11 PM
Welcome to comicbookmovie.com Mr. Bana, when will you be making movies again?
xStarLordx - 3/6/2013, 8:27 AM
Didn't Ang Lee's Hulk get bigger the angrier he got? I don't know if that is true or not but I just have a big problem with that.
xStarLordx - 3/6/2013, 8:28 AM
Plus he was just a plain old monster in that movie. Didn't like that.
xStarLordx - 3/6/2013, 8:31 AM
I don't know whether or not to consider IH a sequel or not because IH in a way picks up from Ang's Hulk. But then again in IH they changed how Banner became Hulk.
highflyer - 3/6/2013, 3:25 PM
I would've liked norton to return. I didn't like the way eric bana tried to act angry. It sounded like he was getting raped.
highflyer - 3/6/2013, 3:29 PM
@brazilianbatman, i agree completely. I notice many fanboys hate on norton because he said he doesn't aspire to be in superhero movies anymore. Now, people are calling him a crappy bruce. smh. I thought he was awesome. so was ruffalo.
accountnolongerinuse - 3/10/2013, 12:18 PM
No. Ang Lee's Hulk may have been the superior film, but Eric Bana was merely passable. (And barely. What's with the puffy face when he gets angry?) Plus, Ruffalo is my favourite Banner this side of Bill Bixby. However, continuity with the first film couldn't have hurt. As it stands, the Hulk presented in The Avengers seems to take more cues from 2003 than the Norton reboot.

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