It took a whole squadron of superheroes, but The Avengers easily soared off with the record for biggest movie opening of all time, hauling in $207.4 million to dethrone last year’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2. And while he had plenty of help, certainly some of the credit must go to the scene-stealing Hulk — who, after two somewhat disappointing turns on the big screen, is indeed incredible this time around.
Special-effects house Industrial Light & Magic was responsible for filling Lou Ferrigno’s purple pants for this film, as they were for Ang Lee’s The Hulk in 2003. ”CG characters have progressed quite a bit in that time,” says ILM’s Jeff White, who served as a visual-effects supervisor on The Avengers. ”There are much more accurate ways to represent hair and skin and eyes, and details like sweat. There’s also a lot of new technology for how they move.”
One thing that hasn’t changed is the need for a human heart to counterbalance the creature’s rage. Enter Mark Ruffalo, who took over the role from Eric Bana, star of 2003’s The Hulk, and Edward Norton, who appeared in the 2008 reboot The Incredible Hulk. Ruffalo said his main alteration was to make the Hulk’s alter ego, Bruce Banner, less of an angry loner and more of a guy who desperately wishes to belong, but fears his own dark side. ”There’s a world-weariness to him, but also this kind of ironic sense of humor about it,” the actor told EW during a visit to Avengers’ New Mexico set. ”He’s starting to see [the Hulk] as what he originally intended it to be, something that could be positive.”
Ruffalo performed all the monster’s scenes in a motion-capture suit, which he described as ”not my favorite thing.” ”It’s a cross between a child’s pajamas, a test dummy, and a Chinese checkerboard,” he said. ”And everyone has a comment when you walk by.”