It’s been a rocky road for The Hulk on the way to next summer’s The Avengers. He started out being portrayed by Eric Bana in an art-film-in-disguise that Ang Lee made called Hulk. That was weird, and boring, and it didn’t go over so well. Then he showed back up looking a lot like Edward Norton in the Louis Leterrier directed The Incredible Hulk. Well, when he was in his human form he looked like Ed Norton. When he was The Hulk he still just looked like The Hulk. Leterrier’s film was more action oriented and in the wheelhouse of what comic book fans were expecting, but something must have gone wrong because now the green goliath suddenly looks a lot like Mark Ruffalo. And this time, he looks a lot like Mark Ruffalo both when he’s a normal guy and when he gets big and green.
On the last day of Comic Con, Marvel revealed a concept sketch showing off the approach Joss Whedon and crew are taking with The Hulk in The Avengers, and the L.A. Times caught up with president of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige to get his take on Hulk’s new look. When describing the picture, he opined, “The most important thing is that face. As you can already see in that concept painting, it is — more than any Hulk that’s ever been done in live action — a Hulk that let’s you see the actor in there. You will be able to see Ruffalo in there. That was a big revelation for us. It’s just a concept painting, but in that you can see the [influence of Marvel Comics pioneer and original Hulk artist Jack] Kirby, as people have already pointed out, but also, and equally important in this case, Ruffalo’s eyes and his cheek structure. It is him.”
Making the CG Hulk mimic the performance of the actor playing Bruce Banner seems like it would be a no brainer, but Feige had an explanation for why they’ve been doing it differently up to this point. When talking about mirroring the actor’s face in the CG Hulk he said, “It was something we actively avoided before. Hulk was Hulk, he’s not any one actor and Hulk should look like Hulk. It was like Iron Man’s armor, in a way, it wouldn’t change depending on the actor wearing it. But we’ve taken a different approach because Hulk is Banner and, frankly, we came to question our approach.”
I have to say, I agree with this new approach. Especially when you’re dealing with an actor as quirky and unique as Ruffalo, why wouldn’t you want to try and capture as much of his performance as you can, even when he’s smashing things? I’m a bit biased though; if I had my way every character would have their face replaced with CG Ruffalo. What say you true believers; do you like your Hulk looking more human, or like more of a faceless brute?