How Appearing in the MCU Made Mark Ruffalo a Better Actor

Playing a major role in a Marvel superhero film isn’t without risks for the actors who take on such parts. Even if the film itself is wildly successful, the actors portraying these specific action-based characters run the risk of being typecast for their performances.

Take Chris Hemsworth, for instance. His part as Thor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has certainly been a financially successful endeavor that has boosted his fame and recognition considerably, but there are also signs that Hollywood has started seeing Hemsworth through a narrow lens.

The MCU is so powerful and with such far-reaching implications in the entertainment world that most actors are excited to take on a part in the franchise regardless of the risks. 

For Mark Ruffalo, however, the opposite effect has taken place. Rather than limit Ruffalo’s possibilities, the part he plays has given him a wider range and proven his acting abilities are top-notch. 

Mark Ruffalo plays the Incredible Hulk

The cast of the MCU has remained remarkably stable over the years, but a notable exception to that rule has been the portrayal of the Hulk. The Incredible Hulk was one of the first films from the then-experimental MCU, long before it became one of the most financially and critically successful entertainment franchises to ever exist.

The 2008 film starred Edward Norton as the titular character, but it received lukewarm reception at the box office and is largely considered one of the franchise’s few flops. 

The Hulk (and corresponding Bruce Banner) returned to the MCU with The Avengers, but this time Mark Ruffalo was playing the part. Since then, fans have been frustrated that Ruffalo’s portrayal hasn’t been given his own standalone opportunity to bring the character to life. 

Mark Ruffalo takes his role seriously

Ruffalo was definitely not a fresh face to the film world when he took on the part of Bruce Banner for the first time in 2012. The actor had a long list of credits to his name including comedies like 2010’s Date Night and dramas like 2004’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Perhaps one of his most noteworthy roles prior to taking on the MCU was his part in Shutter Island, where he played opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in the critically acclaimed psychological thriller. 

Ruffalo certainly did not rest on his laurels with the part of Bruce Banner, however. His own wife says that taking on the part of the Hulk changed Ruffalo. She said that everything from the way he walked, talked, and interacted with others shifted as he took on the role.

Ruffalo likes to get in the mind of his characters and has noted that “You’re bringing those attributes onto yourself and then you spend the next three months more in that person’s life than in your own.” 

The MCU has made Mark Ruffalo a better actor

Mark Ruffalo avoided the risk of being typecast by his action film portrayal because of the nature of the role itself. Playing both mild-mannered Bruce Banner and his anger-fueled alter-ego The Incredible Hulk means that viewers get to see multiple sides of Ruffalo every time he steps into the role.

As Money Inc explains, playing both parts “shows his versatility as an actor, but just as importantly, this shows his ability to focus on his acting rather than the circumstances under which he is acting.”

That nuanced and delicate portrayal has boosted Ruffalo’s reputation as an actor who can do it all. It looks like his star is still on the rise, and it won’t just be action flicks gaining him accolades.

He’s already been nominated for an Oscar three times, and now rumors are swirling that his performance in Newsflash may earn him a fourth honor — and perhaps even his first win. 

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