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Spoilers for all works set prior to Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame are unmarked.

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Bruce Banner / The Hulk

Dr. Bruce Banner
"That's my secret, Cap. I'm always angry."

Birth Name: Robert Bruce Banner

Known Alias: The Hulk

Species: Enhanced Human

Citizenship: American

Affiliation(s): Harvard, Culver University, Avengers, Revengers, S.H.I.E.L.D.

Portrayed By: Edward Norton (The Incredible Hulk), Mark Ruffalo (The Avengers onwards)

Voiced By: Óscar Flores [Norton], Mario Castañeda [Ruffalo] (Latin-American Spanish dub); Roger Pera [Norton], Xavier Fernández [Ruffalo] (European Spanish dub); Hiro Mizushima [Norton], Atsushi Miyauchi [Ruffalo] (Japanese dub), Damien Boisseau [Norton], Rémi Bichet [Ruffalo] (European French dub), Antoine Durand [Norton], Sylvain Hétu [Ruffalo] (Canadian French dub), Paulo Vignolo [Norton], Jorge Lucas [Ruffalo; The Avengers], Alexandre Moreno [Ruffalo; Iron Man 3 onward](Brazilian Portuguese dub)


Appearances: The Incredible Hulk | The Avengers | Iron Man 3 note  | Avengers: Age of Ultron | Thor: Ragnarok | Avengers: Infinity War | Captain Marvel note  | Avengers: Endgame

"The last time I was in New York, I kind of broke... Harlem."

A nuclear physicist who believed that he was trying to make soldiers immune to radiation, but was actually working on a new super soldier for General Thunderbolt Ross. He was so sure he was on to something that he experimented on himself, which turned him into the raging green monster known as the Hulk.

Horrified by his transformation, Banner has been trying to isolate himself ever since, but with the military, S.H.I.E.L.D., and the Avengers all keenly interested in the Hulk, he's had little time to find peace.

    Tropes involving Banner 
  • Adaptation Distillation: Due to narrative conflicts and many of the major players not being present in the MCU at the time, the World War Hulk storyline from the comics was largely removed, having been stripped down to a few essential elements and being folded into Thor: Ragnarok.
  • Adorkable:
    • A meek, somewhat disheveled, and polite nerd; it seems almost unbelievable that this man turns into the Hulk. He's also reduced to a stuttering, blushing mess when Natasha is flirting with him.
    • In Infinity War, he gets to wear the Hulkbuster suit and has a complete blast, whooping about how it's like being the Hulk without transforming — only to fall flat on his face mid-stride.
    • In Endgame not only does he retain his typical dorky personality while being in the form of the Hulk, but the dorkiness is highlighted by the sight of the Hulk in Nerd Glasses.
  • Alliterative Name: Bruce Banner.
  • Alternate Identity Amnesia: Zigzagged, as sometimes he cannot remember anything that happened while he was the Hulk (i.e. the years spent on Sakaar before Ragnarok), and sometimes the memories are fuzzy or even clear (i.e. in Infinity War he explains to other Avengers what happened to Thor and the Asgardians while he was "Hulked out").
  • Amazon Chaser: Between Betty, Natasha, and his reaction to Valkyrie, it's not that big a stretch to say Bruce has a thing for recklessly brave women.
  • Androcles' Lion: Tony Stark's kindness to Banner earns him the life-saving loyalty of the Hulk during the final battle in Avengers.
  • Badass Boast: Banner gives one to a recently reformed Scarlet Witch.
  • Badass Bookworm: A nuclear physicist who learned Aikido while hiding in Brazil and managed to stay on the run from the US Military for five years. And when the Hulk refused to come out, he resorted to using the Hulkbuster. He even kills one of Thanos' children!
  • Bad "Bad Acting": When tasked to try and act more like his old berserker self while visiting 2012 in Endgame — something he's beyond embarrassed to do, calling it "gratuitous" — he rips off his shirt, lightly pounds the roof of a taxi, tosses away a motorcycle, and poses like he's imitating a werewolf, all with the most half-hearted roars imaginable.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Bruce is one of the few Avengers to genuinely like Tony because the latter treated him like a normal person instead of a ticking time bomb.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Bruce is a friendly scientist who just wanted to help people, but can turn into one of the most dangerous things on the planet at the drop of a hat. However, you shouldn't underestimate him in human form either, as shown in Ultron when, with no change in his genial expression, he offers to murder the Scarlet Witch. This escalates in Infinity War, where he dons the Hulkbuster armor to fight the Outriders, and even manages to kill Cull Obsidian with it.
  • Big Eater: Well the Hulk certainly is one. In Endgame, we see the Hulk eating at a restaurant with full plates of sausages and omelettes casually.
  • Brainy Brunette: He has seven doctorates, and is the world's leading expert on gamma radiation.
  • Brought Down to Badass: In Infinity War Banner is unable to access The Hulk due to his alter ego refusing to come back out after the No-Holds-Barred Beatdown he suffered at the hands of Thanos. In order to compensate Banner goes into the Final Battle with the Hulkbuster armor on, and with some quick thinking, manages to kill Cull Obsidian by himself.
  • Bungled Suicide: At one point between Incredible Hulk and Avengers, Banner tried to kill himself by sticking a gun in his mouth and pulling the trigger. It only caused him to turn into the Hulk, who was unharmed.note 
  • The Cameo: Shows up in The Stinger of Iron Man 3. Stark had been narrating the movie's plot to Banner, who tried to act as a shrink but fell asleep towards the beginning.
  • Can't Have Sex, Ever: In The Incredible Hulk, back when The Hulk would come out if Banner's heart rate exceeded a certain threshold, he tells Betty that he can’t get too excited when they start lovemaking because he'll Hulk Out. This is possibly averted by the time of Age of Ultron after Banner got a hold of his transformation issues, but the issue now is that he literally can't have children, possibly due to the radiation sterilizing him.
  • Carpet of Virility: Mark Ruffalo was not asked to shave his chest hair for the scene in which he wakes up naked after a Hulk-out; in addition, some of it made it on to the Hulk.
  • Character Development: The Incredible Hulk implies that he went from repressing his anxieties that lead to his Hulking out, similarly to the 2003 film, to using meditation techniques to manage them. The end of that movie ominously showed him purposefully inducing a Hulk episode. The Avengers showed that he'd subsequently gone past anger management and constantly trying to fight the Hulk, and merely existed in a state of tranquil fury at all times, keeping the Hulk close but at bay through mere discipline rather than struggling to reject him. This level of acceptance leads to him being able to Hulk out at will and in turn makes the Hulk less animalistic and more generally aligned with Banner's intentions. In The Avengers, Hulk never shows himself to be particularly angry, merely bellicose and helpfully destructive; in Ultron he's become more docile and protective of Black Widow as well as remorseful about his actions, and in the finale willingly goes to space while in Hulk form. In Ragnarok, Hulk has become civilized and can even carry conversations. By Endgame, Banner and the Hulk have finally become one person, with Banner's personality and intellect but the Hulk's strength.
  • Composite Character:
    • While the character as a whole is mainly based off of his mainstream comic incarnation, what caused his condition in the first place is trying to recreate a Super Soldier serum (not that he knew that) and testing it on himself, which is how Ultimate Hulk came to be. The mainstream version was irradiated by a bomb after running onto its test site.
    • Surprisingly, Mark Ruffalo's portrayal of the character starting with The Avengers brings in elements of both the 2003 film as well as the 2008 reboot in which Hulk debuted in the MCU, played by Edward Norton.
      • Banner's situation at the start of the movie mirrors that of Banner at the end of the 2003 film, where both of them are trying to help the local downtrodden populace while dealing with the Hulk.
      • Banner's relationship with the Hulk is slightly more nuanced in The Avengers film than in The Incredible Hulk, much like the 2003 version.
      • Bruce in The Avengers is more uptight like the 2003 version, and calmer and more self assured like in The Incredible Hulk.
      • The Hulk's appearance in The Avengers resembles his 2003 appearance in build and his 2008 appearance in behaviour.
      • Bruce's Bungled Suicide pre The Avengers may be a reference to an alternate opening for The Incredible Hulk in which Bruce tries to shoot himself but is stopped by The Hulk's transformation.
      • Bruce in The Avengers claims that he is constantly angry but very well self-controlled, no longer trying to avoid anger as in the 2008 film. This hearkens back to Bruce's anger issues in the 2003 film, where he is a constantly repressed boiling pot of rage, with the Hulk near at hand at all times; trying to fight it was an exercise in futility.
      • The Hulk's transformation is more closely tied to anger, as in the 2003 and most comic versions, but general excitement can also bring him out, as was the case in The Incredible Hulk.
      • In most other cases, Mark Ruffalo's Hulk resembles the comic version, as did the 2008 movie version. Ruffalo has also stated he drew from Bill Bixby's portrayal of Banner in the 1970s television series, which many reviewers picked up on.
    • In Infinity War, Banner's the one who crashes into the Sanctum Sanctorum and warns Strange and Wong about Thanos's arrival. In The Infinity Gauntlet, it was the Silver Surfer.
    • By Endgame he is this in-universe; He managed to transfer Banner's genius mind to Hulk's body, giving him the best of both.
  • Cunning Linguist: So far, he's known to speak, to some degree, Hindi, English, Spanish, and Portuguese.
  • Deadpan Snarker: You really couldn't go through all he does without developing a dry sense of humor.
    Banner: Really? They want me in a submerged, pressurized metal container? [the Helicarrier begins to take off] Oh, no. This is much worse.
  • Death Seeker: At various points he's considered ending his life to escape being the Hulk. In fact, he only joins the Initiative after Romanoff convinces him she'll use lethal force if there's any threat of him hulking out.
  • Defense Mechanism Superpower: It's not just anger or stress that causes Banner to Hulk Out, but life threatening situations and injuries as well.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: A staple for the Hulk. Even in Endgame when Banner and Hulk merge, and he wears normal clothes, he still forgoes footwear, instead remaining barefooted.
  • Doing In the Scientist: Tony suggests that the Hulk (A.K.A "The Other Guy") is not triggered by Bruce's heart rate per se but that the Hulk deliberately manifests to protect Bruce in dangerous (heart rate pumping) situations. Thus, it is an ally to be embraced instead of a monster to be caged. The events of The Avengers support this view. Bruce tells The Team that Hulk interrupted his suicide attempt and later emerges in the final battle because Bruce told him to. This is supported by the fact that Banner had created a drug to forcibly lower his heart rate that, while successful in and of itself, did nothing to help his unique problem.
  • The Dreaded: In The Avengers, he makes people nervous just by being there, including the otherwise unflappable Black Widow. It's the reason that the S.H.I.E.L.D Helicarrier had a containment unit set to drop in case Hulk got out of control.
  • Driven to Suicide: He tried it at one point prior to The Avengers. He has since moved on.
    Banner: I got low. I didn't see an end. So I put a bullet in my mouth, and the other guy spit it out.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: By the end of Endgame, not only does he reconcile with the Hulk and become stronger for it, but he no longer has to live in fear and hiding and has become a hero people respect and love.
  • Epiphany Therapy: As he explains in Endgame, he was only able to begin to reconcile himself and Hulk the moment he stopped thinking of Hulk as a disease to be removed. Instead, he considered Hulk to be the cure, figuring that there are worse things in life than becoming a super strong behemoth.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Played for Laughs. In Endgame, he was horrified by how Rhodes suggested The Avengers should use the Time Machine to save the universe.
    Rhodes: Well, why don't we just go back to when Thanos was a baby and then... [makes a gesture of strangling a baby with a rope, complete with "choking sound"]
    Banner: [shocked] First of all, that's horrible...
    Rhodes: It's Thanos!
    Banner: ...And second, that's not how time works, changing the past doesn't change the future.
  • Famed In-Story: In Endgame, Professor Hulk becomes a celebrity of sort, with kids gleefully approaching him to ask for a photo with him.
  • Fish out of Water:
    • In Thor: Ragnarok, Banner spends most of the movie coming to terms with the fact that he's been on an alien planet as the Hulk for over 2 years, and has to learn how to fly the Grandmaster's personal spaceship in the span of a few seconds moments later.
    • During Infinity War, Hulk refuses to come out after getting beaten by Thanos, so when Thanos' forces attack Wakanda, Bruce takes to the fight using one of Tony's Hulkbuster suits. Despite it reminding him of Hulk's movements and battle style, Bruce clearly isn't as apt at using the Iron Man suits as Tony is.
    • Not only that, his time off Earth left him out of the loop of the events that transpired afterwards. Such as a flavor of ice cream named after the Hulk.
      Bruce: There's an Ant-Man and a Spider-Man?
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In Infinity War, Bruce Banner notes that he'll have to have a talk with the Hulk to sort their issues out. Come Endgame, that talk clearly happened, and the two are content to share a body.
    • All the way back in The Avengers, Tony suggested the possibility that Bruce survived the incident that made him the Hulk for a reason, after noting that most people would've died instead. In Endgame, it's revealed that the reason why using the Infinity Gauntlet is fatal to most beings is because the power surge of using them also emits lethal amounts of gamma radiation; this makes Bruce, now merged with Hulk's body, one of the only humans, if not the only human, that can use the Infinity Gauntlet and survive. As Bruce himself points out (perhaps even thinking back to Tony's words from eleven years prior), it's almost as if he was made for the Gauntlet.
  • The Friends Who Never Hang: In the first two Avengers films, Thor doesn't interact with Bruce Banner that much due to Bruce being more focused on science and Thor on fighting (and his interactions with Bruce's alter ego always consist of them fighting a foe or each other with no time to socialize). Thor: Ragnarok ultimately subverts it by having Thor bond with the two of them while they're trapped on Sakaar and work together to escape and save Asgard. After that ordeal, they're almost unarguably closer to each other than they are to the other Avengers — Bruce is even the one Steve and the others send to collect Thor in Endgame when they're reuniting the team for the Time Heist.
  • Genius Bruiser: In Endgame, Banner manages to acquire the best of both world by turning into the Hulk but also retaining his brains, funnily now wearing glasses in Hulk form. For instance, he participates in the development of the quantum suits and a time machine in his Hulk form too.
  • Going Commando: A fan on Twitter queried Mark Ruffalo about how Banner handles the undergarment situation. This trope came up. And in Ragnarok, Hulk walks out of his bath with nothing covering himself, causing Thor to have a Brain Bleach moment.
  • Heroic Neutral: Banner wants to be left alone by the military and S.H.I.E.L.D., and maybe use his skills to do some good. This attitude extends to the Hulk as well, who rarely fights anyone or anything that didn't try to kill him first.
  • Homeless Hero: He's forced to stay on the run because of the government forces chasing him. Following his transformations, Bruce is often left with nothing but the pants he is wearing. At one point, he has to beg in order to survive.
  • Honor Before Reason: In The Avengers, he's unable to refuse a little girl begging for his help as a doctor. It's a trap set by Black Widow to get him to meet with her. His comment to himself as soon as he realizes he's been tricked: "Should've gotten paid upfront, Banner."
  • Horrifying Hero: With the exception of Tony Stark, Bruce Banner was at best tolerated by other heroes, at worst feared, until he proved his ability to control himself in battle. His tendency toward collateral damage furthers this perspective. However, bystanders, especially in The Avengers, find him more heroic than horrifying. Enough to get merchandising with the other Avengers and have a flavour of Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream named after him.
  • Hulking Out: The Trope Namer, after all. It should be noted that this happens less in each movie between the two he has been in (The Avengers just had two), and we rarely see him "Hulk in" (i.e. revert to Bruce) until Avengers: Age of Ultron. We see him revert once on camera, and both of his Hulk Outs occur off-screen.
  • Hurting Hero: He has to deal with the loss of his life, his work and his love interest, all the while managing the Hulk and Ross' {plan} to dissect him. In The Avengers he admits he tried to commit suicide and that his secret to bring out the Hulk is that he's all angry. As of the Age of Ultron, he now has to deal with his self-enforced exile, giving up a chance to be with Natasha, and worst of all The Hulk remains in control for two whole years.
  • I Hate Past Me: A minor example in Endgame has him facepalming at the sight of past Hulk throwing a temper tantrum on a car. With the fact that he now has maintained his mind as the Hulk, it makes sense of him to be disappointed of his past incarnation.
  • Immune to Bullets: Bruce tells of a time when he tried to put a bullet in his head. It only triggers a transformation with "the other guy" spitting it out.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: Banner thinks his intelligence makes him better than the Hulk while his alter ego has a similar opinion when it comes to his gargantuan strength. Both are confounded that anyone would prefer their other half over them and get rather petulant when they feel they are being kissed up to just to let the competing personality take over when appropriate.
  • Insistent Terminology: In The Avengers Bruce consistently refers to the Hulk as "the other guy", and pointedly corrects himself the one time he slips. By Thor: Ragnarok Bruce simply calls him "Hulk" with no apparent hang ups over the name.
  • Jekyll & Hyde: Subverted. Banner's Character Development over The Incredible Hulk and The Avengers is about realizing that the Hulk isn't a villain or a mindless beast: he's part of Banner, driven by Banner's simplest and most uncomplicated instincts, and he needs to be accepted rather than constantly restrained.
  • Knight In Sour Armor: Thanks to his complex relationship with the Hulk, Banner is often reluctant and reserved about being a hero. He knows he's done good but at the same time he hates that his heroic work is contingent on losing control, possibly at the expense of massive collateral damage that he is powerless to stop. As such he tries to avoid going green as much as possible unless things hit the Godzilla Threshold.
    Bruce: Sometimes exactly what I want to hear isn't exactly what I want to hear...
  • Last of His Kind: At the end of Endgame, Bruce is the last of the founding Avengers who is still active as a superhero, with everyone else either dead (Black Widow, Iron Man), retired (Hawkeye, Captain America), or part of a new team (Thor).
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Due to being in outer space during the time between Age of Ultron and Infinity War, Bruce is completely unaware of the developments that have taken place on Earth such as the Avengers splitting up, the emergence of Spider-Man and Ant-Man, and the King of Wakanda becoming a close ally to the heroes.
  • Loony Friends Improve Your Personality: He's not a jerk, but he's very bitter, aloof, and uptight until Tony starts dumping good-natured teasing on him uninvited, at which point he starts to open up and relax.
  • Magic Pants:
    • Justified. Two scenes in The Incredible Hulk show he makes sure his pants are several sizes too large and very stretchy. Age of Ultron instead gives him specially made, Avengers branded pants. The pants in question are also purple.
    • Played straight (and subtly lampshaded) in Ragnarok. Bruce is forced to dress up in Tony's spare clothes, and outright complains that the pants are tight. They still stretch out when he transforms during the climax.
  • Nice Guy: He's very sweet, polite, and good humored, thus making the contrast between him and his alter ego even greater.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Despite his initial reservations, he goes along with Tony's plan to use the sceptre (an alien artefact neither of them truly understand) to speed up Ultron's creation. The Mind Stone ends up turning their failed interface into a killing machine.
  • Not That Kind of Doctor: In Iron Man 3, he explains his inability to help Tony with his PTSD by pointing out he's not a doctor of psychology.
  • Odd Friendship:
    • With Tony Stark, of all people, as they bond over science geekery in The Avengers. This is a complete 180 from their relationship in the comics. It is also implied that Tony's willingness to make merry by teasing Banner (he gives him an electric shock at one point just to see what would happen) helps bring him out of his shell by reminding him that not everyone is afraid of him.
    • Also with Steve, who is always respectful and kind to him and refers to him as Doctor despite his mutation. Though this is not so odd when considering they are the only two genuinely nice, humble people on a team filled with egos and ulterior motives. Part of this is that they are both the results of the super soldier project. Rogers understands what could have been with Banner.
    • Gets one with Thor in Thor: Ragnarok. Thor himself points out that he’s more similar to Hulk, and while both Hulk and Bruce start out wary of Thor’s intentions for them, they quickly take to working with him as a duo.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: He's the world's foremost gamma radiation expert, but obviously no slouch in biochemistry either. He occasionally shows knowledge in other fields:
    • He's practicing back-alley medicine in The Avengers and knows enough quantum mechanics to grasp the implications of Selvig's work on 'the Cube'.
    • In Age of Ultron Tony calls him a leader in bio-mechanics and defers to him to integrate J.A.R.V.I.S. into the Vision's processing center. Tony and him also collaborate on a hugely complex AI puzzle twice in the movie, proving he has a vast understanding of high-level computer science (although ultimately it's Tony in the driver's seat on those).
    • Thor: Ragnarok downright proves it when Banner claims he has seven doctorates.
    • Avengers: Endgame, however, reveals that quantum physics is one thing he is not an expert in.
  • Out of Focus: In Phase One, he was considered one of the "big four" Avengers alongside Stark, Cap, and Thor due being the star of his own movie. While they got sequels however, Banner was relegated to only appearing in ensemble films (with the exception of Ragnarok, where he plays a supporting role).
  • Painful Transformation:
    • The Incredible Hulk: Banner's transformation into the Hulk is massively unsynchronized, with body parts changing at different paces. In one scene, the bones in Bruce's shoulder grow faster than the rest, leaving his skin grotesquely distended for a brief moment.
    • The Avengers: His first transformation looks excruciating and takes a long time, because Banner is fighting it the whole time. Subverted the second time, when he transforms intentionally and it only takes one smooth second, with no thrashing or screaming.
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: Gets one in The Avengers, right before Hulking Out and destroying a massive Leviathan:
    Steve: Now might be a good time for you to get angry.
    Bruce: That's my secret, Cap. I'm always angry.
  • Perma-Shave: Despite being stuck in the form of the Hulk for two years, on an alien planet, Banner has only the slightest amount of visible stubble on his face in Thor: Ragnarok. Does Hulk shave?
  • Professor Guinea Pig: Within the MCU, he's a pretty famous example.
    Coulson: [showing Cap footage of the Hulk on a rampage] Banner thought gamma radiation might hold the key to unlocking Erskine's original formula.
    Capt. America: Didn't really go his way, did it?
  • Promoted to Love Interest: He has little interaction with Black Widow in the comics, but becomes her love interest in Age of Ultron. This is partially because Bucky Barnes and Daredevil, Widow's two major love interests in the comics, have no real connection to her in the MCU continuity.
  • Properly Paranoid: He's learned to be cautious in order to avoid getting tracked or endangering other people, because there are several factions tracking him.
  • Psychosomatic Superpower Outage: Thanos' beatdown of the Hulk leads to Banner being unable to transform into the green giant for the rest of Infinity War. It is an odd example since Bruce isn't affected by it, but the Hulk is.
  • Put on a Bus: In the wake of the devastating Hulkbuster battle in Africa and not wanting to endanger Natasha, he takes off in the Quinjet for parts unknown. He eventually ends up on Sakaar thanks to some wormhole shenanigans in Thor: Ragnarok.
  • Reluctant Warrior: He is one of the most powerful individuals in the MCU. He also has absolutely no interest in fighting and killing, not even getting into the fact that he can't control the Hulk.
    Natasha: All my friends are fighters. I've never met a man before who avoids the fight because he knows he'll win.
  • Residual Self-Image: Banner's Astral form takes the form of his human self, even though he's accepted his Hulk side in a Split-Personality Merge.
  • Resurrective Immortality: It's strongly implied that the Hulk grants this power to Banner. In both The Incredible Hulk and Ragnarok, Banner jumps from a great height with the intent of unleashing the Hulk, hits the ground, and seemingly dies from the impact, only for the Hulk to emerge moments later. In The Avengers, he also discloses that he once attempted suicide by gunshot, but the Hulk spat the bullet out; Hulk transformations never happen fast enough to stop a bullet except during the aforementioned falling incidents, suggesting the suicide succeeded only for the Hulk to undo it.
  • Science Hero: According to Black Widow, Bruce is the leading expert on gamma radiation, which is why she sought his help in The Avengers to stop Loki's Evil Plan.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: He plays the sensitive guy to Tony Stark's brash manly man.
    Tony: You're tiptoeing, big man. You need to strut.
  • Sharing a Body: Thor: Ragnarok makes it clear that this is his situation with the Hulk; they are different people. They have the same roots but they have different minds and personalities.
  • The Smart Guy: He's the world's foremost expert in gamma radiation, and in The Avengers, once he gets curious enough to drop the heroic neutrality, he picks up on a tiny clue and gets halfway to unraveling S.H.I.E.L.D.'s scheming without trying before the rest of the Avengers realize there's a puzzle to solve.
  • Smart People Wear Glasses: He's one of the greatest scientists in the MCU, the leading expert on gamma radiation and has seven doctorates. He's also occasionally seen wearing glasses, though he can function without them with little difficulty. He continues wearing glasses after becoming Professor Hulk.
  • Socially Awkward Hero: Ruffalo's Bruce Banner can be witty, but his body language is always awkward and non-confrontational, as if he's trying to take up as little space as possible. When a lovely girl like Natasha is practically throwing herself at him during the party early into Age of Ultron, he's speechless and unsure how to react.
  • Split-Personality Merge: In Endgame, Bruce can now be conscious and converse in his Hulk form, explaining that both of his halves reconciled and he accepted that Hulk was a part of himself, and resolving his split personality issues thanks to that. He appears as a big, green Bruce Banner and while his personality mostly comes across as Bruce's, there's elements of Hulk's persona intermingled with it, such as a lack of tact and slight, lingering childshness.
  • Split-Personality Takeover: Becomes a serious risk for Banner by the time of Ragnarok. During the two years on Sakaar, the Hulk never reverted back into Banner. Banner spends most of the movie terrified he will never change back if the Hulk resurfaces. Ultimately, he decides to transform anyway to save Asgardians from Fenris. It's subverted in Infinity War, as after a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown by Thanos, the Hulk refused to emerge when Banner tried to summon him.
  • Tainted Veins: After turning back from the Hulk or when he's about to Hulk out, his veins will be gamma green.
  • Taught by Television: In The Incredible Hulk, he studies Portuguese by watching the local version of Sesame Street with a Portuguese/English Dictionary in his lap, in addition to making a living working in Brazil.
  • Technological Pacifist: Stated to be this by Ross, who argues that "scientists" are not to be trusted with military matters in any way, shape, or form.
    Ross: He's a scientist. He is not one of us.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: He's not happy at having to work with Scarlet Witch. Justified as she caused his rampage in Age of Ultron.
  • Threat Backfire: By the time of The Avengers, Bruce is completely unmoved by any kind of threat (including guns in his face), as he knows he'll just turn into the Hulk if hurt.
    [Black Widow points a gun at Bruce]
    Banner: Why don't we do this the easy way, where you don't use that, and the "other guy" doesn't make a mess? Okay?
  • Took a Level in Badass: In Infinity War, because the Hulk refuses to fight Thanos again, Banner does all the fighting for the film by piloting the new model suit of Hulkbuster Iron Man Armor.
  • Tranquil Fury:
    • His ultimate goal in the films is to achieve a state of quiet anger so he can stay in control. It's achieved by The Avengers.
    • In Age of Ultron, he is so pissed off that he boasts he could strangle Scarlet Witch and not change a shade.
  • Troll: He's not above using the threat of Hulking Out to scare Black Widow, just to see her reaction.
    Banner: [in deadpan tone] [Fury] needs me in a cage?
    Natasha: No one's gonna put you in—
    Banner: STOP LYING TO ME!
    [Black Widow freaks out and draws her gun]
    Banner: I'm sorry, that was mean, I just wanted to see what you'd do.
  • Unkempt Beauty: As many a film review has pointed out, nobody pulls off the rumpled-curls-and-bedroom-eyes aesthetic quite like Mark Ruffalo. Despite constantly looking like he needs a week of sleep and the world's biggest hug — or perhaps because of it — Bruce Banner is a dreamboat.
  • Vocal Dissonance: As Professor Hulk, he has Bruce's soft voice and the Hulk's massive frame.
  • Weakness Turns Her On: What does the sexy Natasha Romanoff see in the nebbish scruffy Bruce Banner. Precisely his weak, vulnerable and scared soft center. It's also what attracted Betty to Bruce, and even in the comics this is the case.
  • What Did I Do Last Night?:
    • Banner tends to wake up unconscious after a Hulk episode, and barely remembers anything of it. He's compared the experience to an acid trip, and can never put the memories back together when transformed or not.
    • The biggest example is in Ragnarok, where Hulk hadn't reverted in the two years since his prior appearance until he saw a recording of Black Widow's attempt to speak to him in the Quinjet. Once Banner is back after so long, he takes a while to recover, even comparing the experience to "Hulk was in the driver's seat, and I was shoved into the trunk".
    • Even though it's previously established that Bruce remembers very little of his time as Hulk between the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron and Thor: Ragnarok, in Avengers: Infinity War, he is able act as the Harbinger of Impending Doom and give detailed exposition about Thanos to Iron Man and Dr Strange, despite the fact that Hulk, not Banner, was the one present when Thanos attacked the ship the Asgardians were on.
  • "World of Cardboard" Speech: Before the battle of New York:
    Bruce Banner: I'm always angry.
  • You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry: Trope Namer and it's rather cleverly inserted too, as Banner messes up the line while speaking Portuguese.
    Banner: You wouldn't like me when I'm... hungry... Wait, that doesn't sound right.

The Hulk
"No Banner, only Hulk!"

Click here to see Gladiator Hulk (Thor Ragnarok

Click here to see Professor Hulk (Endgame

Portrayed By: Lou Ferrigno (voice; The Incredible Hulk), Mark Ruffalo (voice and motion capture; The Avengers onwards)

Appearances: The Incredible Hulk | The Avengers | Avengers: Age of Ultron | Captain America: Civil War note  | Thor: Ragnarok | Avengers: Infinity War | Avengers: Endgame

"Puny god."

    Tropes involving Hulk 
  • Achilles in His Tent: After his fight with Thanos at the start of Infinity War, Hulk became so fed up with Banner using him that he refuses to come out for the rest of the movie. Banner is able to partly transform but Hulk otherwise says no.
  • Adaptational Wimp: As badass as the Hulk is there is no indication of him having incalculable strength like in the comics.
  • Advertised Extra: Hulk was shown participating in the battle of Wakanda in the trailers of Avengers: Infinity War and appeared on posters. Following the Curb-Stomp Battle Thanos inflicts him at the beginning, he refuses to show up throughout the remainder of the movie.
  • Affectionate Nickname: The Hulk tends to get called "the Big Guy." Comes up the most in Ultron, when Black Widow needs to calm him down.
  • Always Someone Better: As strong as he is, he learned the hard way against Thanos that there is indeed somebody out there who can kick his ass. Painfully.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Hulk's most visible feature, apart from his size, is his green skin. Banner's eyes or skin turning green are a regular visual cue for him Hulking Out.
  • Anti-Hero: Hulk's motivation is more base than the rest of his Avengers ilk. He will fight to the last as long as he has something to fight against but what that is isn't always desirable. For instance Banner is able to take the Hulk's aggression and point it at The Abomination so as to at least minimize the amount of damage being done but at the same time, he can't recognize a friendly if they're confronting him to cool him down, as was the problem Tony Stark had in trying to restrain him during Age of Ultron. "Heroism" in terms of the Hulk really just boils down to "he didn't smash something that didn't need smashing" and you just have to kind of hope whenever he's out, that's the outcome you wind up with.
  • Ax-Crazy: The Hulk can become so enraged at times that the concept of Friend or Foe in him can be hampered, which usually leads him into attacking everything and everyone in reach.
  • Badass Boast: After interrupting Loki's last A God Am I moment by slamming him into the ground. Repeatedly.
    Hulk: Puny god.
  • Berserk Button: The Hulk doesn't like being called Bruce.
    Tony: Right, don't mention puny Banner...
    • In Thor: Ragnarok, he downright tells Thor "No Banner. Only Hulk."
  • The Berserker: In Tony's words, an "enormous green rage monster".
  • The Big Guy: Hulk is the largest and, along with Thor, one of the physically strongest members of the Avengers. "Big Guy" is a common nickname for Hulk, as well.
  • Big "NO!": In Infinity War, after Banner returns to Earth, he tries to force the transformation into Hulk twice, only for Hulk to bellow "No!" at the top of his lungs and snap back into Banner.
  • Big, Stupid Doodoo-Head: Hulk is like a very young child in Thor: Ragnarok, so his insults to Thor follow suit. "Baby arms! Baby!"
  • Boisterous Bruiser: In Ragnarok he is shown to be this, as he clearly enjoys being in the spotlight in Sakaar's arena, and is seen joking around with Thor and Valkyrie when out of the ring.
  • Blood Knight: The Hulk has two modes. He wants to be left alone, and he wants to let loose. This is obvious in the battle in New York, where he fights the Chitauri and clearly has the time of his life after Captain America told him to "Smash".
  • The Cameo: Hulk is also briefly seen in Captain America: Civil War, via archive footage of the Chitauri invasion of New York City.
  • Combat Pragmatist:
    • This Hulk is bright enough to use tools... and weapons. Supposedly, the special effects team refused to make the Abomination's pointy ears visible, otherwise they'd have to make a scene of the Hulk tearing them off and couldn't otherwise justify the Hulk NOT taking that advantage. Likewise, he hits the Abomination with everything he's got—he makes gauntlets out of cars, uses shockwaves to push him off balance before attacking, choking him with massive chains, and even rips out his elbow spikes and stabs him with them.
    • He also ignores Talking Is a Free Action, gladly hitting villains who are about to monologue and are standing conveniently still.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Many of his fights are over quickly because his strength, rage, size and speed overwhelm most opponents. Thanos is the only one during the Infinity Gauntlet saga, who could do this to him instead.
  • The Dreaded: He's the reason why Banner makes the people around him uneasy. Special mention goes to being one to Loki; following giving the puny god a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown, Loki is terrified of him after seeing him again in Ragnarok.
    Loki: I have to get off this planet..!
  • Dumb Muscle: Just like the Hulk Speak, this is downplayed for the Hulk compared to most of the Savage Hulk's appearances. Especially in The Avengers, he behaves more like a relatively intelligent animal (such as a gorilla) than a raging baby, and in said movie his intentions are more in line with Banner's too.
  • Friendly Rivalry: Seems to have one with Thor, unlike their usual Headbutting Heroes behavior in the comics. Hulk punches Thor off of a Leviathan they just defeated for no specified reason but because their previous fight was a draw.
  • Gag Penis: Implied by Thor's comments after seeing the Hulk naked, either that or Thor wasn't expecting to see Hulk's jolly green giant.
  • Gentle Giant: Downplayed, but present. It's made clear on several occasions that beyond the rage and fury on the surface, deep down the Hulk is just a troubled soul who wants to have friends and be accepted.
    • In The Incredible Hulk, he has a moment where he's protective of Betty after saving her life, and while the lightning freaks him out, she's able to calm him down. This reveals that, in spite of the Hulk being a being driven by rage, he's not incapable of kindness and rationality.
    • It's very clear in Age of Ultron when he comes out of the Scarlet Witch induced nightmare and looks around at the destruction he caused with a very visible look of sorrow.
    • He completely becomes a Gentle Giant when his personality merges with Banner, to the point where he's able to take photos with kids and actually be even calmer than he was as Banner.
  • Glowing Eyes: In his solo movie, he sports these when he transforms into the Hulk.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Both ways; if things are bad enough, only the Hulk can save you. On the other hand, if your problem is the Hulk, you're likely to cross some other Godzilla Threshold trying to fix things.
  • Grin of Audacity: Hulk sports this a few times, such as when Thor smashes him with the Hammer and he lets out a toothy grin and then when Captain America sics him on the Chitauri.
  • Horrifying Hero: The Hulk may ultimately fight against villains like Loki, but he is very much a monster that strikes terror into the bravest of men. Even the normally expressionless Black Widow trembles in fear whenever the Hulk threatens to come out and when he first emerges, Bruce Banner is writhing in pain as it sounds like his bones are breaking while a monster takes over his body.
  • Hulk Speak:
    • Only says a few words in each movie where he appears, but they are still in the third person and angry.
    • By Ragnarok, he's spent enough time as Hulk to gain a much larger vocabulary, but still retains his trademark stunted grammar.
  • Immune to Bullets: Funnily, at one point in The Avengers, a fighter jet opens up on him with a jet-mounted Vulcan cannon, and he doesn't realize he's being shot until he hears the bullets bouncing off him.
  • In a Single Bound: While he can't fly, Hulk's jumps are powerful enough that it doesn't really matter. This is best exemplified in Ragnarok, where he jumps high enough to punch Surtur in the face. Surtur, at this time, "was over 800 meters tall and growing according to the VFX Supervisor," while Hulk is still at ground level.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Not only is the Hulk very strong, he's also quite fast and agile.
  • Manchild: The Hulk during Thor: Ragnarok can be best described as a big, selfish five-year old who throws massive temper tantrums. He almost pouts when Thor yells at him to stop attacking Surtur.
  • Meaningful Appearance: Banner accepting his Split Personlity Merge seems to have resulted in Hulk getting reduced in size and musculature that Banner looks like he's only midway between the two forms.
  • Naked People Are Funny: In Thor: Ragnarok, there's a scene where he reveals he can speak in full sentences, he's completely naked the entire time, and disturbing Thor because of it.
  • Neutral No Longer: After some Character Development in The Avengers, he jumps in to stop the alien invasion on his own.
  • Nigh Invulnerable: It takes a lot to bring down the Hulk. (No, seriously. A lot.)
  • Nominal Hero: While Hulk is somewhat willing to help people he considers friends, he's not particularly altruistic outside that. After crashing on Sakaar, he spends years fighting (and killing) the Grandmaster's "prisoners with jobs" in the arena, and shows no interest in helping Thor stop the end of the world when he can stay right where he is.
  • The Nose Knows: Bruce wasn't exaggerating when he said "you could smell crazy on [Loki]"; a invoked Deleted Scene from The Avengers has Hulk sniff Loki out of a crowd of holograms.
  • Not So Different: Thor says that he and the Hulk are both "just a couple of hotheaded fools" after they have an argument on Sakaar.
    Hulk: Yeah, same. Hulk like fire, Thor like water.
    Thor: Well, we're kind of both like fire.
    Hulk: But Hulk like real fire, like raging fire. Thor like smoldering fire.
  • Odd Friendship: Developed a bizarre rapport with Scrapper 142, aka Valkyrie or, as Hulk knows her, "Angry Girl". They even playfully beat the shit out of each other frequently. This friendship carries over to Banner after he turns back as well, even though they don't know each other's true identities yet.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • Thor telling Hulk that yes, everyone on Earth does hate him in a moment of anger doesn't drive Hulk to homicidal fury like you'd expect. Instead, he freezes on the spot, stops going after Thor completely, and sits down on his bed with a look of abject hurt; a real sign that a raw nerve was hit.
    • After being curbstomped by Thanos at the beginning of Infinity War, Hulk is so fed up with Banner using him to fight that he refuses to come out for the rest of the film even when Banner becomes angry.
    • After learning of Black Widow's sacrifice in Endgame, Hulk, just for one second, reverts back to his rage-filled persona and throws a bench into a lake in anger. While he calms down not a moment later, it's clear that, after spending the whole movie in a semi-tranquil state of calm, Nat's death is tearing him up inside.
  • One-Man Army: Loki might have an army, but the Avengers have a Hulk! He tears through whole armies like tissue paper, and for the most is an unstoppable killing machine. That is, until he meets Thanos.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: He broke Harlem, accidentally.
  • Power Makes Your Voice Deep: Hulk's voice is much deeper than Banner's. While this could be chalked up to Hulk simply having larger vocal chords, there have been several instances that show that Hulk's voice is always that deep, even while being mid or near transformation. Once he and Banner undergo a Split-Personality Merge, Professor Hulk retains Banner's normal voice.
  • Primal Stance: In The Avengers, he assumes a hunched, almost gorilla-stance. He even slams both fists into the ground and grunts at one point.
  • Progressively Prettier: Ruffalo's Hulk was monstrous and animalistic in The Avengers and Age of Ultron, however, in Thor: Ragnarok, he has a much more human-like appearance. This parallels the development of his personality, which also went from animalistic to humanized. After his Split-Personality Merge, he simply looks like a big, green version of Banner.
  • Psycho Party Member: The Hulk in The Avengers, until the third act of the movie shows that Banner has learned control, but the timid, likable Banner is constantly treated like a ticking time bomb of fury.
  • Punch Catch: A semi-regular happenstance. He catches the Hulkbuster's fist in Age of Ultron, and in Ragnarok, catch Thor's weapon once.
  • Red/Green Contrast: In Ragnarok, he is green to Thor's red — the God of Thunder wears a flowing red cape.
  • Same Character, but Different: In Endgame, after the five-year Timeskip. Banner and Hulk have worked out their differences and had a Split-Personality Merge.
  • Serkis Folk: From The Avengers forward, Hulk is portrayed by Mark Ruffalo via mocap, making Ruffalo the first actor to play both Banner and Hulk.
  • Split-Personality Takeover:
    • After being brought out of a two-year long Hulk streak in Thor: Ragnarok, Bruce is very concerned that the next time he turns will be this, as his Hulk side keeps getting stronger and more dominant. He voluntarily transforms again later in the movie, and is shown to still be in Hulk-mode as it ends, though is seen out of it in trailers for Infinity War.
    • Amusingly, this is inverted in Avengers: Infinity War. After his fight with Thanos, Hulk refuses to come out even when Bruce tries to transform, necessitating Bruce's use of an upgraded Hulkbuster armor.
  • Split-Personality Merge: In Avengers: Endgame. Bruce Banner and the Hulk are able to work out their differences and manage to create a new persona that they can share, which has Hulk's appetite for destruction and Banner's intellect.
  • Shield Bash: With the only shields big enough for him; car debris.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Hulk one-upping Loki in the middle of his A God Am I speech currently serves as the trope image. It involves bashing him into the floor several times and concluding with a "puny god".
  • Slasher Smile: From The Avengers:
    Captain America: Hulk? Smash.
    Hulk: [grin]
  • Smarter Than You Look:
    • The Hulk appears to be a near-mindless animal, although when the fighting gets intense, he starts using his head and shows a Combat Pragmatist streak. This is in line with some interpretations of Hulk in the comics, namely that Banner's massive intellect doesn't just disappear when the Hulk manifests, but rather is channeled in different directions because Hulk is too angry to really stop and think.
    • Hulk is also relatively quite young having only had a limited amount of subjective existence. The longer he has existed, the total time where Banner is Hulked out, the smarter he appears to get. This comes to a head by the time of Thor: Ragnarok, where after multiple years spent as the Hulk, he has gone from one word statements to talking in full sentences and forming friendships. Given how short an amount of time he has subjectively existed at that point it actually appears Hulk is quick on the uptake.
  • Stout Strength: Ruffalo's Hulk, at least, has a bit of a spare tire on him. It's all muscle.
  • Suddenly Voiced: For the majority of the MCU, the Hulk just grunted and roared, with an occasional word or two thrown in. He starts talking complete sentences in Thor: Ragnarok.
  • Super Strength: He can rip stone and metal apart with ease and it increases with increased rage. For example the metal alloy used by the Chitauri resists jackhammers and other tools made on earth; Hulk makes it buckle with one punch.
  • Super Toughness: The amount of abuse he can withstand without leaving any scratches on him and still fight is one of the most dangerous things about him.
  • Teeth Flying: The Hulkbuster armor punches out one of his teeth in Age of Ultron. This just serves to piss him off even more and makes Tony meekly apologize.
  • Terse Talker: In his first two movies, the Hulk has very few lines. He doesn't speak at all in Age of Ultron.
  • Third-Person Person: Most of the time, as part of his Hulk Speak. In Ragnarok, he speaks one sentence in first person, then reverts back to this trope.
    Hulk: I'm sorry, I just get so angry all the time. Hulk always, always angry.
  • Troll: In Ragnarok, he purposefully goads and pisses Thor off to get him to walk into the forcefield in his room. It's as funny and childish as it sounds.
  • Unskilled, but Strong:
    • Hulk is a big ball of rage and has never had any formal training, thus he fights savagely with straightforward strikes without a care for stuff like avoiding hits, parrying, or anything more refined than aiming to break every bone in someone's body. However, he's in the same weight class as Thor, and rare are those who can match Hulk on a physical level, so his lack of skill is unnoticeable most of the time.
    • Less so that you might think, as the Hulk has a Combat Pragmatist streak and excellent battlefield awareness. Still, his fist fight with Thor in Ragnarok features most of Hulk's offence getting dodged and countered whenever Thor's actively trying, and the big guy certainly gets mileage out of his exceptional durability in most fights.
    • This backfires on him badly during his fight with Thanos. The Mad Titan is not only able to match The Hulk blow for blow, he also knows how to fight with skill and finesse while also being stronger. So the outcome is both swift and brutal.
  • Unstoppable Rage: When he hulks out due to stress, he's a force of nature.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Thor, whenever it comes to their alliances when the Avengers are needed. It's especially evident during Ragnarok, when they have actual conversations that involve them constantly ribbing one another.
  • Weapon of Choice: The Hulk prefers Dual Wielding shields and will rip a car apart to make them for himself. This is because the Hulk always manifests to defend Bruce or someone else.
  • The Worf Effect: Just to drive the point home of how strong he is, Thanos kicks Hulk's ass thoroughly at the start of Infinity War.
  • World's Strongest Man:
    • The Hulk is clearly the strongest being on Planet Earth, with his only challenge being the Asgardian Thor and Thanos, the Mad Titan, both of who are not from Earth. When the Hulk is let loose, neither cities, nor armies (both from Earth and outer space) are safe. Once he's off the planet, he even becomes a formidable competitor in Sakaar's gladiatorial ring and later fights an Asgardian giant wolf.
    • To elaborate, Hulk has only ever lost two fights he's participated in; fighting Tony in the Hulkbuster armor during Avengers: Age of Ultron (and given that he had been mind-raped by Wanda he was fighting less effectively but more savagely) and his opening bout against Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War. Every other defeat he's suffered over the course of the franchise has been caused by getting Hulk to shift back into Banner, typically by dropping him from a great height and disorienting him enough to let Bruce reassert control. Thor in his Super Mode has the edge on Hulk, but the Grandmaster interrupts the fight before there is a definite winner.


Video Example(s):


I'm always angry

Bruce Banner finally accepts the rage of the Hulk as his own, and takes hold of it.

Example of:

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Main / WorldOfCardboardSpeech