Thor is imprisoned on the other side of the universe and finds himself in a gladiatorial fight against an old friend. Now, he’s on a quest for survival.
Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) is a gladiator on the planet Sakaar in ‘Thor: Ragnarok.’(Photo: Marvel)
No one has put their signature touch on the Avengers’ rage monster more than Mark Ruffalo.
Following versions played by Eric Bana and Edward Norton, Ruffalo’s incredible Hulk proved to be a fan favorite in the previous two Avengers movies. He returns for a third tour of “Hulk smash!” duty in Thor: Ragnarok (in theaters Thursday night).
“I love it and I enjoy it and I want to keep expanding it,” says Ruffalo, who plays both the rampaging Hulk and his genius alter ego Bruce Banner.
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Five things you need to know about the return of the Hulk:
Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) is more talkative than usual in ‘Thor: Ragnarok.’ (Photo: Marvel)
1. The big green guy gets chatty this time.
Played by Ruffalo via motion capture, the Hulk has done a lot of grunting in the previous films but is downright talkative in Ragnarok. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) winds up in the alien world Sakaar and encounters his “friend from work,” leading to an epic team-up to save Thor’s home world of Asgard and some in-depth conversations along the way. “You get the character as he exists completely on his own,” Ruffalo says. “That’s something I’ve always been interested in: What is the Hulk like? What is he like as a roommate? How does he sleep, what does he eat, what does he do with his spare time?”
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Hulk (Mark Ruffalo, right, with Scarlett Johansson) was last seen by Marvel fans in 2015’s ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron.’ (Photo: Marvel)
2. Bruce Banner is out of his comfort zone.
When Hulk turns back into Banner, the scientist learns he’s lost two years (after flying off to nowhere at the end of 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron) being Hulk the whole time. And he kinda freaks out, leading to a little existential crisis before getting his mojo back. It’s the most layered Banner we’ve seen yet from Ruffalo, says Ragnarok director Taika Waititi. “He’s never just dialing it in. He’s constantly seeking out something in that dangerous creative zone.”
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3. Get ready for inward struggle.
Ragnarok digs into how Hulk and Banner are beings “fighting for the same body,” Waititi says. “Parts of each other’s personalities are coming out when one of them is dominant.” The new Thor begins a three-movie character arc for the Hulk, carrying over into Avengers: Infinity War (May 4, 2018) and concluding with the fourth Avengers (May 3, 2019), exploring the balancing of those personalities within the bigger Marvel universe. “We’re consciously heading in a direction where this separation that you’re seeing right now is going to be dealt with and explored,” Ruffalo says.
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Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) team up in ‘Thor: Ragnarok.’ (Photo: Marvel)
4. Thor and Hulk actually make good friends.
It’s an unlikely pairing, sure, but “there’s an oddball quality to it — Hulk’s largeness and simplicity of thinking and Thor’s otherworldly, god-like naivete,” Ruffalo says. “And Banner and Thor together: The least superhero of them all with the most superhero of them all. It’s so silly and goofy and fantastic, of course you’re going to have high jinks.”
5. But the craziest relationship is yet to come.
The two upcoming Avengers movies bring together various Marvel casts. “All of the universes coming together is just a sight gag within itself,” Ruffalo says. One of the coolest new friendships, though, is Hulk becoming buddies with Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper) from Guardians of the Galaxy. “It’s a very funny relationship that the two of them have: First of all, it’s the biggest superhero and the smallest. Just keeping them in a frame together is a feat and hilarious in itself.”
The weather’s getting chilly, and that means it’s the perfect time to see what’s playing on the silver screen. While these flicks aren’t holiday-themed, they’re certainly worth watching this season.
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