|“||Smash you! I smash you!||„|
|~ Hulk to Thor.|
|“||For years, I've been treating the Hulk like he's some kind of disease... something to get rid of. But then, I start looking at him as the cure. Eighteen months in a gamma lab, I put the brains and the brawn together. And now, look at me. Best of both worlds.||„|
|~ Bruce on making him and the Hulk as one.|
Dr. Robert David Bruce Banner, M.D., Ph.D., also known as Hulk, is a major character in the Infinity Saga of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He is the titular main protagonist of The Incredible Hulk, one of the titular main protagonists of The Avengers tetralogy, the tritagonist of Thor: Ragnarok, and a cameo character in Iron Man 3 and Captain Marvel.
Bruce is portrayed by Edward Norton in The Incredible Hulk and Mark Ruffalo for the rest of the movie series in the Avengers films, and Thor: Ragnarok. In The Incredible Hulk, The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron, Hulk is voiced by Lou Ferrigno, who also played Billy in Adventure Time. Taika Waititi also did motion capture for the character, and he also played Korg in the same series.
Bruce Banner is shown as a mild-mannered, mysterious, shy and analytical man of science. The incident at Culver University caused Banner to become somewhat mentally troubled and obsessed with finding a cure for his mutation. He is compassionate and afraid of hurting someone unintentionally, so he tries not to get close to something or someone that leaves him stressed. On some occasions, he lost the hope of getting rid of his other persona and showed suicidal tendencies, attempting to kill himself once. But over time, he supplemented his scientific pursuit by learning meditation and breathing techniques, gaining a greater control over the transformations.
After having shown some success in controlling the monster, he seemed to have abandoned the search for a cure and redeemed himself, helping sick people in poor areas of the world. Thus, he appeared to be more comfortable and sarcastic in various situations with his fellow Avengers.
When he transforms, his personality regresses to a more child-like state and he has little recollection of events after he returns to his normal human form. In his earliest transformations, Banner appeared as a savage with no real ability to distinguish friend from foe. Because of this, he was responsible for the deaths of two scientists, an army officer, a police officer from Idaho, and two Canadian hunters when he was a fugitive. Hulk gradually attained a better reasoning capacity over time, becoming able to show affection and demonstrating a capacity to work collaboratively with others, showing some traces of his wildest past. Banner was also inside Hulk's mind when he beat Loki into submission during the Battle of New York.
However, Banner has been shown that out of all the Avengers, he is the one they respect but fear the most. Even Black Widow, who is calm in almost every situation, fears him as shown twice when she pulled a gun on him in the hut when he appeared to lose his cool, but, in truth, he wanted to see if she was truly alone or not, and on the Helicarrier, when they were blasted out of the lab and he transformed and attacked her, showing terror in her face, very rarely does that happen with her.
Following the time he spent as Sakaar, Banner's Hulk side underwent a significant development. He displayed an increased self-awareness which give him increasingly visible layers of personality, similar to a five-year-old's. He also became intelligent enough to acknowledge his human half but repeatedly refuted Banner's existence, claiming "No Banner, only Hulk!", though he did so out of resentment and bitterness for Banner. In addition of this, the Hulk persona also develop an identity of his own, enjoying a celebrity life through his newfound career as the Grandmaster's Champion and develop other emotions such as playful side and sadness. While he now much more stable and calmer than he used to be, Hulk still susceptible to emotion and could easily become more savage out of stress and frustration, and still wary towards others due to his violent past. It also appeared that he has developed a lonely side, as he felt dismayed upon hearing how most people on Earth still hate him for his bad side.
Another testament of character development of Banner's Hulk side was his newfound confidence: Because he never lost a fight as Grandmaster's Champion, Hulk grew to believe himself to be invincible until he was proven wrong through the traumatizing defeat at hands of Thanos. This drastic development resulted Banner, who eventually returned to his human self, increasingly afraid to his Hulk side, being baffled that his said persona has taken a hold of him for more than two years and would likely do it again for an indefinite amount of time should he transform again only to refuse to come out. This is because Hulk is fed up of being used by Banner and others and staunchly refuses to come out and help. This put Banner in a state of dilemma, as he finally seemingly truly realized how vulnerable and helpless he was without Hulk, as with all the Hulk's monstrous traits, it was his strength that was needed and without it, Banner ironically got his wish but could no longer directly assist. Nevertheless, Banner remained determined and courageous to fight alongside the Avengers, fighting in the Battle of Wakanda wearing the Hulkbuster Armor, even facing Thanos again without fear.
In the years that followed the Snap, Banner started to see Hulk as a cure to his woes instead of a disease in need of curing. His 18-month-long transformation into his current form, which combined his intelligence with Hulk's strength, helped him feel peace and acceptance in his life, a balance that the separation of Hulk and Banner would never have allowed as long as it remained. This made Banner was one of the few individuals who improved themselves in the post-Snap world. In contrast to figures such as Tony Stark or Thor, who had quit heroism, Banner was active within the community. Consequently, he became a celebrity and a figure of safety and stability in the fragile world. Attitudes about Hulk sharply contrasted to those a decade ago. A once feared figure was now a beloved hero.
In his new form, Banner was significantly happier and in peace, being fully casual and confident in public areas as a beloved celebrity, openly giving autographs to his fans and joking about "Hulking out" while doing so. Banner also kept his pacifist ways, having expressed disgust at War Machine's suggestion that the Avengers strangle an infant Thanos and written off his past penchant for property damage as "gratuitous" before halfheartedly smashing up a New York taxi. Later, he obtained the Time Stone by calmly negotiating with the Ancient One instead of attacking her. Despite his guilt for losing to Thanos twice, he felt no need to seek vengeance when Thanos attacked the Avengers Facility. This, combined with his embarrassment of his past Hulk-self, illustrates how he had moved beyond feeling a need to 'smash' things and prove his strength.
However, Banner is still fully capable of being aggressive when the situation calls for it and behave more like his former Hulk self, as seen during the Battle of Earth. Additionally, during times of conflict, Banner had developed a polite sternness and authority. This was seen during his encounter with Thor on New Asgard, in which he politely asked Thor to stop holding him before forcing him to let go, as Thor, having lost a considerable amount of his strength, is no longer stronger than Hulk. Furthermore, during his encounter with the Ancient One, Banner asked for the Time Stone before calmly attempting to take it from her.
The Nano Gauntlet and the Blip represented a chance for Banner's life to have a meaningful resolution. Previously, Banner would not have been strong enough to solely wield the gauntlet. Conversely, Hulk would not have had the mental capability to resurrect half of all life. Banner noted the irony of Stones emitting gamma radiation; as it was his expertise and the source of Hulk's power.
Powers and Abilities
- Artificially Enhanced Physiology: Bruce Banner subjected himself to a recreated version of the Super Soldier Serum in an attempt to develop a result similar to the original Project Rebirth from World War II, albeit substituting vita radiation with gamma radiation. As a result, Banner is able to transform into Hulk when his heart rate increases to high levels or when he loses control of his emotions. And as Hulk, Banner is a giant green-skinned humanoid with immense strength fueled by his rage, meaning the angrier he gets the stronger he becomes, and is one of the most powerful beings on Earth. According to Samuel Sterns, the transformation is triggered when an electric pulse generated on the amygdala increases the gamma radiation of Bruce's cells. Betty Ross' reagent allows the cells to absorb the energy temporarily, which then abates, resulting in a chemical reaction that produces a myostatin primer. When Hulk transforms back into Banner, the excess muscle mass and energy is dissipated. The total time of transformation falls anywhere between seconds to several minutes, depending on the initial adrenaline surge, which will be determined by the original stimulus. Despite Banner's initial inability to control the transformations, he managed to attain some level of control through training and practice, and Banner's consciousness is buried within Hulk, influencing his behavior to a very limited extent. Shortly before being part of the Avengers, Banner became able to trigger his transformations at will, remaining angry in a controlled state, which allowed Hulk to be much smarter and self-controlled in battle. However, the more stressful or provoking his surroundings, the more difficult it is for Hulk to become calm enough to transform back into Banner, which leads to the Natasha Romanoff using her "lullaby" technique to calm Hulk at the end of each battle. Despite Banner previously being able to control Hulk, his alter-ego was slowly becoming more self-aware and developing a mind of his own. After the events of Sokovia, Hulk left Earth and became a gladiator on Sakaar, keeping Banner suppressed for two years. After meeting Thor, Banner re-emerged and, despite realizing that transforming again would mean that he might not change back, willingly unleashed Hulk to aid Thor and the Asgardians. Following this battle, Hulk fought Thanos one-on-one and was effortlessly defeated. Hulk has since refused to come back, as he has grown fearful of the Titan and his forces, leaving Banner to fend for himself. After the events of the Snap and Thor executing Thanos, Bruce spent 18 months in a gamma lab to fuse his genius-level intellect and knowledge with Hulk's extraordinary superhuman abilities together to become an amalgamation of both Hulk and himself.
- Superhuman Strength: Hulk's primary power is his extraordinary superhuman strength. His incredible strength allows him to rip steel apart as if it were made of paper, to break vehicles with a single punch, stop a speeding Humvee in its tracks by stomping it into the ground, injure and halt a massive Leviathan with a single punch, do a powerful thunderclap to stop a military helicopter from blowing up, or catch a HYDRA tank struck by Thor during the Avengers assault on the HYDRA Research base in Sokovia and proceeded to throw it at a considerable distance as well. In combat, Hulk often uses his strength to throw heavy objects (like cars, forklift trucks, HYDRA tanks for example) or his smaller opponents in order to defeat his enemies, such as when Hulk threw a human-sized Emil Blonsky more than 40 feet away with a single kick or when he hurled Loki around repeatedly while holding him by the leg. Overall, few individuals have been able to match or surpass Hulk's strength, such as the Abomination, who despite his greater base level of strength ultimately succumbed to Hulk's when he endangered the life of Betty Ross, angering him enough to overpower the gamma monster. Thor, who Hulk was able to hit hard enough to cause his nose to bleed, send flying with a punch, and upon growing angry, managed to almost overpower him in the Contest of Champions, although he was himself almost overpowered after Thor gained his full powers, Iron Man, who had to develop a special Hulkbuster armor to battle him in case of need and still needing Hulk to calm down to overpower him, Fenris, who had managed to contend with Hulk in their battle, but was ultimately hurled into outer space by Hulk, Surtur, whom Hulk was able to slightly stagger with a leaping blow, before Surtur effortlessly swatted Hulk away, and Thanos, who Hulk managed to surprise and stagger with his blows; however, Thanos effortlessly struck him with various blows and knocked him out, leaving him unconscious for a short amount of time. Hulk was also able to lift and throw a Chitauri a great distance. Hulk's immense strength allowed him to hold the debris from the base of the New Avengers Facility, even after one arm was badly damaged from using the Nano Gauntlet, so that neither Rocket, Rhodey and himself were crushed. He managed to do this long enough for Ant-Man to arrive and rescue them by becoming Giant-Man. Hulk's seemingly most impressive strength feat is leaving a fist dent on a wall made of an extremely durable silicon-carbide vibranium alloy.
- Superhuman Leaping: Hulk's strength also extends to his legs, allowing him to leap great distances or great heights with precision, such as when reached the top of Stark Tower from ground level in a single leap. Carrying Black Widow on her back, Hulk was able to make enormous jumps through the air, reaching the flying city of Novi Grad. Hulk was also able to leap several hundred meters from the Rainbow Bridge towards Surtur and launch himself onto the Statesman while grabbing Thor and Valkyrie. During the Theft of the Time Stone, Hulk was able to mimic his 2012 self by jumping from building to building trying to reach the Ancient One.
- Superhuman Durability: Hulk is able to withstand blows and attacks of considerable force; even high caliber bullets bounce off him and flames cause him little damage. His bone, skin, and muscles have an extreme density and he possesses a high degree of resistance to injury, pain, and disease. Hulk also withstood multiple energy blasts from Chitauri weaponry, extreme cold in the Arctic, great impacts from heights of several miles (though the impact knocked him unconscious, forcing him to revert back into Banner). In addition, Iron Man noted the amount of gamma radiation Banner was exposed to would have killed him if it had not given him the ability to transform into Hulk. Only beings with incredible force or extremely powerful weapons can harm him, such as when Hulk was painfully pierced by Abomination's skeletal spikes, was later painfully pierced by Fenris' teeth, when a blow from Thor wielding Mjølnir knocked him out for a moment and when Thanos badly beat him. While Hulk did survive quite a few blows from the Hulkbuster with little discomfort, he got a tooth knocked out in the confrontation. In addition, Hulk's durability is also tied to his anger level - during the fight against the Hulkbuster, he slightly calmed down, which slightly reduced his durability after witnessing the destruction that he caused in South Africa, allowing Iron Man to use the advantage, hammering Hulk with a massive punch, which sent him flying into a tall building, knocking him out. Similarly, during the Contest of Champions when Thor sent Hulk flying with a strike from the Sakaaran hammer, Hulk was further enraged to the point that he managed to block the next hammer blow with a single hand. However, after Thor had his powers fully enhanced (from a vision of Odin's spirit), Hulk was visibly dazed by a single lightning-charged blow from Thor. Hulk's skin was also pierced and noticeably wounded by Fenris who bit him several times, forcing Hulk to throw him into the void. When fighting Thanos, Hulk managed to withstand many blows from the Mad Titan, despite being visibly affected and even bleeding because of the force of the Titan's blows, and soon thereafter be subdued, to the point where Hulk refused to transform back anymore. Hulk also was able to hold a full Infinity Gauntlet quite a while, though it badly damaged his right arm to the point where he needed a cast.
- Superhuman Endurance: Hulk has substantially greater endurance than a normal human. His body counteracts fatigue toxins that build up in his muscles during physical activity, allowing Hulk to run and fight for a long time, and his enraged state, during a fight, allows him to maintain peak output for hours on end and still continue to become even stronger as his anger escalates.
- Superhuman Speed: Regardless of his size, Hulk's superhumanly strong legs allow him to run at speeds that are far beyond the natural physical limits of a human being. He also possesses enhanced reflexes and agility proportionate to his size, but his large size can still be exploited by smaller foes to use to their advantage.
- Regenerative Healing Factor: Despite his high resistance to physical harm, Hulk is not invincible and can be injured. However, Hulk is capable of recovery from wounds that would be fatal in a human being, and is able to heal from injuries with far greater speed and efficiency than an ordinary human. Grievous bodily harm has also proven to be a trigger for Banner's transformations, and he has recovered from otherwise fatal injuries sustained in his normal form. Banner said he tried to put a bullet through his mouth but the "other guy" merely spit it out. Hulk also has an enhanced immune system; Samuel Sterns described that a synthesized sample of Banner's blood would make humans impervious to diseases.
- Genius-Level Intellect: Bruce Banner is among the smartest humans in the world, on par with Tony Stark's own level of intellect. Hence, Banner achieved his doctorate at Harvard University and worked as a biochemistry and radiophysics professor as Culver University. Phil Coulson once compared him to Stephen Hawking, and Banner is one of the few modern scientists famous and prominent enough to be pictured in the science lab of Midtown School of Science and Technology. It was also stated, that he has 7 PhDs. Banner is also fairly disciplined in emotional intelligence, particularly in meditative breathing techniques and anger management, due to his experience with attempting to control and reign in his Hulk persona. He is the foremost expert on gamma radiation.
- Master Scientist: An ingeniously skilled and knowledgeable scientist, being a former professor at Culver University, and one of the world's most renown scientists overall in the world, Banner is the foremost expert on Biochemistry, Bioorganics and both atomic and radio physics, which he surpassed even Tony Stark in. Banner was able to replicate to a certain degree the Super Soldier Serum, a feat many other scientists were unable to accomplish. He also created the Tetrodotoxin B and Gamma Power Reserve, scientific devices that would be successfully used and complimented by S.H.I.E.L.D. for its uses. Indeed, even fellow genius Tony Stark admired Banner's brilliance, claiming that the latter's work on anti-electron collisions is unparalleled, while Nick Fury referred to Banner as the world's foremost expert in gamma radiation. In addition, Stark needed Banner's assistance in downloading J.A.R.V.I.S. into Vision, due to Banner also being the world's foremost expert in the discipline of bio-organics. Banner's mastery of gamma-radiation even allowed him to, after 18 months inside a Gamma Lab, merge his intelligence and consciousness with the Hulk's physical appearance and immense power into one being and he was able to deduce that the Infinity Stones mostly radiated Gamma Radiation, which would allow him to survive snapping his fingers to reverse the Snap. Though not on Stark's level in terms of Quantum Physics, Banner was still able to conduct experiments to use the Pym Particles to time travel and achieve it but to an imperfect extent that only allowed time to move through people to age them.
- Master Engineer: Banner, while not quite on par with Tony Stark, is an extremely skilled engineer, computer scientist, and robotics technician. Hence, Banner was able to help Stark construct the Hulkbuster, create the Ultron AI, and download J.A.R.V.I.S. into the Vision android and along with Rocket Raccoon and Tony, even create an Infinity Gauntlet that was, despite being made of nanites inferior to the Uru metal of the original, strong enough to withstand having him undo the Snap and allow him to survive.
- Pilot: Despite admitting himself that he does not know how to fly ships, Banner was nevertheless shown able to fly a couple of aircrafts, this being the Quinjet and an alien spaceship known as the Commodore just well enough to avoid any severe damage, although he struggles first. He also was able to pilot the Hulkbuster armor effectively despite having never used it before.
- Physician: Banner possesses enough medical knowledge to help the sick and injured while in living in India.
- Martial Artist: Banner learned Aikido and meditative breathing basic techniques in Brazil from a martial arts expert. As Hulk, while having no formal training from the beginning, he is a formidable and experienced hand-to-hand combatant simply due to his great physical attributes. Hulk often engages his enemies using brawling techniques and street fighting skills that make full use of his incredible strength and also employs pieces of his immediate environment to fight with, often using them as range projectiles to strike distant targets, while sometimes for melee attacks or protection. While training and fighting in the Grandmaster's Contest of Champions, however, Hulk demonstrated much more combat skill than before, as he wielded a huge hammer and battle-axe like a common gladiator in the arena and his prowess allowed him to kill all of his competitors. However, Hulk's skills are still not at the level where he could engage those of equivalent physical power and far greater skill, as though he was able to put up a fight, Thor was able to dominate Hulk ultimately throughout their entire fight and Hulk was forced to catch him off-guard and Hulk was quickly outclassed by a full-power Thor and was only able to win due to The Grandmaster interfering with the battle to ensure Hulk won to keep Thor imprisoned and against the even stronger Thanos, whose fighting experience was thousand years ahead of him, Hulk was able to land a few blows on the Titan but once Thanos recomposed himself, Hulk was no match for Thanos, who eventually beat him with aid of his combat skills and superior reflexes to ensure his victory. Even in his Banner form, he appears to have become a seasoned fighter, taking out multiple Outriders and even holding his own against Cull Obsidian. During the Battle of Earth, Hulk defeated whole hordes of Chitauri, Outriders and Sakaarans soldiers with relative ease despite his damaged arm from using the Nano Gauntlet.
- Expert Tactician: Over the years, Banner has become an expert in developing strategies to go unnoticed and run from the government and military, using his intellect to quickly evaluate his surroundings and develop escape strategies. He has also become very skilled at going undercover.
- Multilingualism: When he lived and traveled in South America, he demonstrated some knowledge in Portuguese and Spanish. He also demonstrated fluency in Bengali, as seen during his time in Kolkata.
- Stretchable Pants: A pair of trousers made with a flexible microfiber fabric. After the Battle of New York, when Bruce Banner was consecrated member of the Avengers, he acquired the uniform with the main feature of not damaging after his transformations. The material was shown extremely durable on several occasions, like when the team attacked the HYDRA Research Base and when they staged the War against Ultron.
After the Culver University's incident, Banner used several pieces of equipment while he was a fugitive and some of these were destroyed or confiscated by United States Armed Forces. To prevent clues, Banner avoided the use of credit card, identity documents and phones. The materials he used included:
- Wrist-Mounted Cardiovascular Monitor: A gauge used to monitor Banner's heart rate, helping him to prevent a transformation into Hulk. The first monitor was destroyed after Banner's transformation in Brazil. The last one seen was given by Betty Ross and seized by United States Armed Forces.
- Laptop Computer: Cheap laptop with an encrypted instant messaging software installed, used to chat with "Mr. Blue" a.k.a. Samuel Sterns. Bruce always carried it in a backpack, so he could maintain a communication where he was.
- He is one of the few heroes in the MCU protagonist to defeat the main antagonist without any assistance, the others being Ant-Man and Spider-Man.
- He is also one of the few actors to be portrayed by different actors, the others being War Machine, Howard Stark, Thanos, Fandral, and Red Skull.
- To prepare himself for his performance and motion capture in Age of Ultron, Mark Ruffalo worked with Andy Serkis.
- Both Ruffalo and Serkis would work together in that same film.
- He was originally suppose to appear in Captain America: Civil War, but it was felt that his whereabouts were too huge to reveal.
- Alongside Chris Hemsworth, Ruffalo would appear in Team Thor, which they discus the Clash of the Avengers.
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