|Appeared in|| The Incredible Hulk|
Iron Man 3
Avengers: Age of Ultron
|Actor|| Edward Norton|
- "That's my secret Cap, I'm always angry."
- ―Bruce Banner [src]
Bruce Banner is a genius scientist who, due to exposure to gamma radiation transforms into the Hulk when his heart beats at increased speeds.
Bruce is a gifted scientist, one of the greatest of his generation. He is the one who tried to recreate the Super Soldier Serum which created Captain America decades before but however, exposure to high levels of gamma radiation instead of vita-rays, resulted in Banner transforming into a super powerful man-creature known as the Hulk.
Bruce Banner was born on December 18, 1969. At Harvard Bruce met Betty Ross. They begin dating and at one point volunteer for an experiment involving hallucinogenics.
Later Bruce became a leader in gamma radiation research, and once worked with Erik Selvig for a brief period. In 2006, Betty's father, General Thaddeus Ross enlisted Banner in a military research group to apparently make soldiers more resistant to radiation (in reality, Ross was hoping Banner would perfect a recreation of the original super-soldier serum). But when testing the experiment on himself, he was transformed into the Hulk and hospitalized Betty and injured her father. Ross decided to have Banner disected in order to recreate the Hulk for mass use, however Banner instead went on the run, knowing that the Hulk and its power could not be controlled.
At tail's end, Banner tried to kill himself with a gun, but Hulk emerged and stopped him first. He would then spend the next five years running from country to country, looking for a cure while continuously being pursued by Ross.
Bruce Banner was drinking in a bar when Nick Fury, who came to the bar to see what Banner could do when he turns into the Hulk in attempt to find a Super Soldier for S.H.I.E.L.D., spoke to him. As planned, Fury and two other undercover agents were able to make Banner turn into the Hulk, Hulk escapes the bar.
Now a fugitive from the United States, Banner worked in a soft drink bottling factory in Brazil while attempting to find a cure for his condition with the help of an Internet friend known to him as "Mr. Blue". To prevent another transformation, Banner underwent rigorous meditation to control his emotions and keep his pulse at a steady level.
One day, "Mr. Blue" requested that Banner send him a sample of blood, which through some tests revealed a potential cure. However, Blue needed the data that changed him first in the first place. After Banner suffered a cut, a drop of his blood landed into a bottle of soft drink, which was eventually drank by an ill-fated consumer. Following this, General Ross discovered his location and sent Emil Blonsky and a special forces team to apprehend him. While trying to evade the special forces, Banner was attacked by thugs and became the Hulk. The Hulk killed some of the thugs and the special forces team and escaped, leaving Blonsky unharmed. Banner wakes up in Guatemala, dazed by the experience and eventually makes his way to Culver University in the United States, where a now-recovered Betty was dating psychologist Doctor Leonard Samson. Unable to access his old lab to retrieve the data, he sees his old friend Stanley, a pizzeria owner, for a place to stay and a job as a delivery boy. Banner used this job to sneak past a Culver University security guard to try and retrieve his research, only to discover it was gone.
When preparing to head off once again, Betty visited the pizzeria and spotted Banner, who fled to try and avoid her, however they later reunited, and he elected to stay with her one night. Learning that she pocessed the last of the data, he explained her father's plan for him, and why he must continue running. While getting ready to leave, the military arrived, and Blonsky, enhanced by some of the experimental serum Ross had tried to produce himself, led the assault. While trapped and gased, Banner was angered by some soldiers trying to restrain betty, and transformed into the Hulk. Despite Blonsky's increased strength, speed and agility, the Hulk crushed most of the bones in Blonsky's body before absconding with Betty to Smokey Mountain National Forrest with Betty and keeping her safe from a firing gunship.
Banner sends the data to "Mr. Blue", and he and Betty traveled to Manhattan to meet with "Mr. Blue", Dr. Samuel Sterns. Accompanying Sterns to his lab, Banner and Betty learned that Sterns had indeed developed a possible antidote that may reverse Banner's transformations, however it might only prevent the current occurrence and not future ones, and that an overdose could possibly kill him. Despite the risks, Banner agreed to try, and was shocked into transforming with electricity and then reverted to normal with an injection of the serum and Betty's calming words. Exhilarated by the success of the antidote, Sterns revealed that he had synthesized Banner's blood sample into a large supply, with the intention of using it to enhance the human condition to the next evolutionary level. Appalled and fearful of the the Hulk's power falling into the wrong hands, Banner attempted to convince Sterns to destroy the blood supply when he was shot by a tranquilizer from one of General Ross' snipers, while Blonksy, further enhanced by Ross's serum, attacked Banner in an attempt to get him to transform but couldn't.
As Banner was taken into custody, Blonsky, desperate for more power, confronted Sterns and demanded he subject him to a dose of the Banner's gamma radiation treatment. As a result, Blonsky mutated into a hideous titan, the Abomination, and went on a rampage in the city. Banner, realizing that he was the only one who could stop the Abomination, convinced General Ross to release him, and jumped out of Ross' helicopter, hoping the fall would stimulate a transformation. Banner's plans succeeded, and after a violent, pitched battle the Abomination was defeated when the Hulk brutally strangled him with a huge chain, but was stopped from killing him by Betty. The Hulk then fled the scene with the army in hot pursuit.
Thirty one days later, Banner was staying in Bella Coola, British Columbia. Instead of trying to suppress his transformations, he began attempting to initiate them in a controlled manner. As his eyes turned green, a grin appeared on his face.
S.H.I.E.L.D. were monitoring Banner's movements. Both Agent Sitwell and Agent Romanoff were assigned to watch over him.
The Avengers Initiative
Bruce Banner heads to Afghanistan, then Pakistan and then India and is attacked by some Mercenary Bandits. He becomes the Hulk and attacks them.
S.H.I.E.L.D. continued to observe Banner's actions and is glimpsed on their screens.
- "It's his M.O., isn't it? I mean, what are we, a team? No, no, no. We're a chemical mixture that makes chaos. We're... we're a time-bomb."
- ―Bruce Banner[src]
Eventually relocating to Calcutta, India, Banner found a new direction for himself acting as an unregistered physician, helping people in poverty-stricken slums. No longer obsessed with finding a cure for himself, he had gained peace of mind in helping others. One night while working, he found himself lured into a meeting with Natasha Romanoff, an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., who requested his help in locating the Tesseract, an object of limitless power that had fallen into the possession of Loki. Though initially dubious and suspecting that S.H.I.E.L.D. was really after his green alter ego, Banner eventually relented and agreed to Romanoff's request.
After meeting Steve Rogers / Captain America, the original subject of the super-soldier serum, he began working on the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier to track the location of the Tesseract, by attempting to locate the gamma radiation it emitted, workingwith Tony Stark, the industrialist also known as "Iron Man". Stark attempted to get a reaction out of Banner in the hope of seeing his alter-ego, however Banner was able to keep in control of himself. Though Loki was captured and refused to cooperate, Banner suspected that there was more to S.H.I.E.l.D.'s agenda. Soon the clash of personalities within the assembled group provided a constant source of tension for all and Banner was subjected to frequent reminders of his need to contain the beast within.
Clint Barton, a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent under Loki's control, led an attack against the Helicarrier. Explosions from the attack caused debris from the ceiling to rain down on Banner, injuring him and triggering the change into the Hulk despite Romanoff's attempts to calm him down. He rampaged around the vessel, hunting Romanoff, before he turned his attention to Thor, and the Asgardian actually proved a challenge to the Hulk. Finally, a S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot in a fighter jet outside got his attention by shooting him through a window, causing the Hulk to leap out and attack it, before falling to Earth.
Banner awoke in the blasted remnants of a warehouse and was greeted by a lone security guard who had seen his alter-ego, and offered him clothing. Following disturbances into New York City, where Loki had opened a dimensional rift with the Tesseract, Banner located his superhuman acquaintances assembling to counter the threat. Although wary of another transformation, they insisted that he would be a help. Banner obliged, triggering a controlled transformation, then together with the others, he turned his attention on the Chitauri invasion force pouring through the portal. The Hulk did indeed prove to be an asset to the group; not only did he single-handedly kill the first of the Chitauri Leviathans, he was an unstoppable force in dealing with the alien warriors. Eventually he managed to single-handedly subdue Loki, and caught Stark as he fell from the closing portal, and roared to wake him up, before joining the rest of the team in confronting Loki.
Long after the battle was over, Banner, now back to normal again, gathered with the others in Central Park to see off Thor and the captive Loki. The threat neutralized, Banner and the remaining heroes said their goodbyes and parted company, with Banner departing with Stark.
After Loki was defeated, James Rhodes arrived in New York to help out Tony. Rhodes located Stark in a Shawarma restaurant where he was introduced to Bruce and the other Avengers.
- "I'm sorry, I'm not that kind of doctor. I don't have the temperment."
- ―Bruce Banner[src]
Tony Stark is talking to someone about his traumas including the Mandarin and Aldrich Killian incident. This person is revealed to be Bruce Banner sitting across from him, who has woken up after having fallen asleep during Tony's story.
After the incident at Culver University, Banner became obsessed with finding a cure for his mutation. He is afraid of hurting someone unintentionally, so he tries not to get close to something or someone that leaves him stressed. He supplemented his scientific pursuit by learning meditation and breathing techniques, gaining a greater control over the transformations. 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, an police officer from Idaho and two Canadian hunters when he was a fugitive. The Hulk gradually attained a better reasoning capacity over time, becoming able to show affection and demonstrating a capacity to work collaboratively with others.
However, Banner has been shown that out of all the Avengers, he is the one they respect but fear the most. Even Romanoff, who always is calm in every situation, fears him as shown twice when she pull a gun on him in the hut when he appeared to lose his cool but in truth 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 attack her, showing terror in her face, very rarely does that happen with her.
Transformation: Previously Bruce would transform into the Hulk, when he would lose control of himself because of rage or adrenaline, stress, which hormonally stimulates the heart rate. The total time of transformation takes only seconds. Banner became the Hulk with increase in heart rate or adrenal levels, suggesting that the true trigger mechanism into the Hulk is far more psychological than physical. When the Hulk transforms back into Banner, the excess muscle mass and energy is lost, presumably to the same place he derives it.
- Banner was unable to control the transformations, but through training and practice had managed to attain some level of control. Banner's consciousness is buried within the Hulk's, and can influence the Hulk's behaviour only to a very limited extent such as when he changed into the Hulk to fight the Abomination where he managed to possess some human traits when asked by Betty Ross not to kill his enemy. Hulk also prevented an explosion from killing Betty and carried her to safety.
- After over four years of training to control the Hulk, Banner learned that if he always remains angry in a controlled state then he can easily change into the Hulk at will. This type of transformation allows the Hulk to be much smarter and less enraged than an uncontrolled one.
- However, if Bruce is sent into a state of stress then he can still lose control and transform against his will despite trying to control it. This Hulk seems to revert back to a savage enraged state where he would attack anyone being friend or foe.
Bruce Banner is a gifted scientist: there's no one that knows gamma radiation like he does and, according to Tony Stark, his work on anti-electron collisions is unparalleled. Agent Coulson compares him to Stephen Hawking.
During his stay in Rio de Janeiro, Banner initially learned Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and breathing exercises to defend himself against threats from the military, all while keeping control of the Hulk. He later proved his skill by holding off a group of thugs before being restrained and transforming.
Along with his new found fighting skills, Banner had developed his cardio to the point where he was able to outrun a Special Operations military team and a group of thugs, though the thugs surprised him when he was hiding in the soda factory he was working for at the time.
- Hulk - Alias.
- Betty Ross - Love interest.
- Leonard Samson - Rival-turned-Friend.
- Rick Jones - Former Student and Ally.
- Steve Rogers/Captain America - Avengers teammate and team leader.
- Tony Stark/Iron Man - Avengers teammate, and friend.
- Thor - Avengers teammate.
- Natasha Romanoff - Avengers teammate.
- Clint Barton - Avengers teammate.
- Nick Fury - Ally.
- Erik Selvig - Ally.
- General Ross - Enemy.
- Samuel Sterns - Ally/Enemy.
- The Abomination/Emil Blonsky - Enemy.
- Loki - Enemy.
- Chitauri - Enemy
- Marvel Cinematic Universe (5 films)
- Marvel Cinematic Universe (1 TV series)
- Marvel Cinematic Universe (5 comics)
Behind the scenes
- Regarding The Avengers, Joss Whedon declared that he focused the most on creating the Banner's character, trying to make him more similar to Bill Bixby's version of the character, always trying to help other people, than to Eric Bana's and Edward Norton's one, "obsessed" with curing himself.
- Before Edward Norton was cast as Bruce Banner, actor David Duchovny was a front-runner for the film and Dominic Purcell was also rumored for the role.
- Edward Norton was approached to play Bruce Banner in Hulk, but turned it down.
- Before Mark Ruffalo was announced to be replacing Edward Norton, Joaquin Phoenix was rumored for the part.
- Ruffalo was the first choice for Banner in The Incredible Hulk.
- Ruffalo says Banner is a reluctant part of the team, and said his metamorphosis is as painful to the character as an addiction problem – even if he can sometimes be used for good. “The rage is something that is like going on a binger — you wake up after a blackout and you did all this f—ed up shit. Oh God, what did I do? And so we were talking about it like that, actually. At the beginning of The Avengers, “[Banner] starts like he’s sober in a weird way. He’s started a whole new life when we find him, and it’s cool. Things don’t stay that way, of course."
- Edward Norton was originally set to reprise his role in The Avengers, but was fired after The Incredible Hulk was released. There are various theories as to why he was fired. It was initially reported that Norton was hard to work with but this was later proven to be false by Louis Leterrier. After being fired, Kevin Feige released a statement saying that Norton would be replaced with "a name actor" who shares a similar creative mind with the studio; Norton's estate responded that Feige's comments were "degrading" to the actor's image and that he is pleased to have worked with Marvel despite their differences.
- Bruce has brief flashes on when he is in his Hulk state suggesting they're the same person.
- There are several noticeable visual differences between The Hulk in The Incredible Hulk and The Avengers, despite the fact they are both in the same continuity. The Hulk in The Incredible Hulk is much taller and muscular then he is in The Avengers, and dark green skin, whereas in The Avengers he has brighter skin and a shorter hair cut. Their faces are also different. Much of these differences are because Mark Ruffalo is using motion-capture to actually play the Hulk, whereas Hulk was entirely CGI in The Incredible Hulk.
- Bruce's screen time in The Avengers is 28:03.
- Although being the only primary Avenger without a solo film in Phase Two, Mark Ruffalo reprises his role as Banner in a brief cameo during the post-credits scene for Iron Man 3.
- Iron Man 3 marks the first time in a MCU film where Banner appears without turning into the Hulk.
- Iron Man 3 also marks the first time that Banner has been played by the same actor in more than one film.