The Incredible Hulk has become one of the most popular members of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Following the 2003 Ang Lee-directed "disappointment" - hey, I liked it - and Ed Norton’s turn as the big green brute in 2008, Mark Ruffalo has made the poster boy for anger management his own with his portrayals of the man-beast in The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron. Having seemingly acquired a firm grip on the role for probably as long as he’d like to play it, Ruffalo has now made it known one of his biggest desires for the character: he wants to see the Hulk and his Dr. Jekyll, Bruce Banner, meet face to face on the big screen.
While Banner and Hulk are indeed one and the same, there is precedent for seeing the two entities separated. In The Incredible Hulk #315 of the original comic book series, superhero psychiatrist Doc Samson, noting that Dr. Banner could make Hulk see hallucinations, came to the conclusion that Banner was a conscious entity inside Hulk, and thus set about separating the two. Samson convinced the government to fund the experiment, and Hulk was placed into a nutrient bath while the procedure attempted to edit Banner out of the Hulk while leaving his intellect in a new body.
If it sounds like this had the potential to go horribly, horribly awry, then you either have a basic moral grasp of the consequences of playing God and messing with genetic modification science, or you simply understand how comic book stories work. The procedure was only partially successful, partially because while Banner’s consciousness was indeed drawn out of the mean green machine, it left Hulk mindless, which isn’t necessarily ideal. Despite the efforts of a group of superheroes led by Iron Man, there was no stopping Hulk’s rampage, as his mindlessness meant that his rage was limitless. Ultimately, Banner regained consciousness and formed a squad of Hulkbusters to corral the Hulk and the two were merged once again, you know, cuz personal responsibility, greater good, all that stuff.
Without knowing whether Ruffalo was familiar with the source material, I must say that either a Thor: Ragnarok plotline or an entire Hulk movie based on the scenario described above does sound kind of awesome. However, if given the choice, I’d much rather see Marvel back a Brinks truck up to Fox and Hugh Jackman's house, and convince everyone to get the actor to don the claws one more time (or a few) for an epic Wolverine vs. Hulk saga.
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