It appears without a doubt now that Marvel has found a replacement for Edward Norton to portray Dr. Bruce Banner in the Avengers movie, due in theaters May 2012. While originally comic book movies seemed to follow a trend of recruiting lesser known actors to portray the title roles, that seems to have almost completely dissolved. This may not be such a bad thing, however.
Selecting Robert Downey Jr. to jump start this conglomerate as Iron Man was a risk that paid off big time. Any comic book fan knows Marvel’s Ultimates series recreated Nick Fury purely in Samuel L. Jackson’s image. Getting such a well known actor to play this part was perfect casting. All the other actors participating in this epic crossover are a far cry from “no names” as well, except for perhaps Chris Hemsworth. (Thor) Hemsworth is admittedly easy on the eyes and performed well for his 15 minutes in the opening of the recent Star Trek movie. (Which is the only movie I remember him from.) With Marvel slowly gaining the rites back to many of their popular characters, surely more movies will begin to appear soon.
While Ruffalo may not be as popular as Norton, he is certainly still a well known actor. While the list of his movies is undoubtedly larger than my memory serves, other than his supporting role to Leonardo DiCaprio in the extremely successful Shutter Island, he mostly has indie flicks under his belt. The Brothers Bloomhe starred in opposite Adrien Brody and he even had an extremely small part in Spike Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are, the adaptation of the popular children’s book. Also, he looks good in the movie with the lesbians I keep seeing the trailer for. (The Kids Are All Right, thanks IMDB.)
Norton’s final statement on the matter of being the Hulk was rather professional and mature, contrasted to the bickering that was going on between his agent and Marvel executives beforehand. This statement was posted on his Facebook and ended with “Hulk is bigger than all of us,” which is definitely true. The bottom line is even if Mark Ruffalo doesn’t blow viewers away as Dr. Banner, in reality what people care about seeing is the Hulk, whose performance is out of Ruffalo’s hands.