Remember that strange moment in The Avengers after Mark Ruffalo Hulks out aboard the S.H.I.E.L.D. hellicarrier and ends up plummeting to earth and waking up in a pile of rubble as an elderly security guard looms over him?
It turns out there was a lot more to that scene than we got to see, and Entertainment Weekly has the exclusive deleted clip.
Ruffalo’s exchange with a seen-it-all-and-then-some Harry Dean Stanton explores a fundamental question that persists throughout comic book lore: Which is the true identity – the superhero or the human alter-ego?
In Tony Stark’s case, his famous line from the first movie was: “I am Iron Man,” but the inverse of that is arguably more true. Stark’s personality, especially as it is inhabited by Robert Downey Jr., is much bigger than the metal suit.
The opposite is the case with Captain America. He may be all power and muscle now, but at his core that hero is still puny Steve Rogers, who never forgot what it was like to be pushed around.
Thor is clearly just Thor – the god of thunder. Masquerading as Jane Foster’s ex, Dr. Donald Blake, was just cover in the movie, and in the comics Blake was merely a host for the celestial superhero.
But when it comes to The Hulk, “Who am I?” is a much more important and complicated question. Is the Hulk just the raw manifestation of Bruce Banner’s suppressed inner fury, or is the mild-mannered scientist the true identity, potentially able to wear and control the big green monster just as Stark dons the Iron Man armor before jumping into battle?
“Are you a big guy that gets all little, or a little guy that sometimes blows up large?” asks Stanton’s security guard, who does more than give Banner some new clothes to wear. He gives him an existential push in the right direction.
Look for more deleted scenes on The Avengers DVD and Blu-ray, out Sept. 25th.
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