“This Hulk would have looked at Thanos and made him explode”: 1 Version of Hulk Doesn’t Get Enough Love While Mark Ruffalo vs Edward Norton Debate Always Steals the Spotlight

Fans hailed one version of Hulk that made cinematic debut long before Edward Norton and Mark Ruffalo's versions of the character.

mark ruffalo, edward norton, hulk


  • Eric Bana played Bruce Banner/Hulk in Ang Lee’s 2003 film, 'Hulk.'
  • Bana's version of Hulk often overshadowed by the debate of Mark Ruffalo and Edward Norton’s portrayals of of the character among fans.
  • Ang Lee also played Hulk in the movie providing motion capture and voice for the character.
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Marvel’s iconic character Hulk has been played by several actors. While most fans are rooted in the debate of Mark Ruffalo vs. Edward Norton Hulk, Oscar-winning Taiwanese director Ang Lee brought fans another splendid version of the character, which almost got lost in the debate.

Eric Bana in Ang Lee's Hulk
Eric Bana as Bruce Banner. Credit: Universal Pictures

Eric Bana, who hails from Melbourne, Australia, played Hulk in Ang Lee’s 2003 action sci-fi based on the Marvel Comics character. Under the banner of Universal Pictures, the movie came into existence long before the formation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Norton’s Hulk.

Eric Bana’s Hulk Deserves More Credit

Eric Bana as Hulk
Eric Bana in and as Hulk. Credit: Universal Pictures

Eric Bana, who has Troy, The Time Traveler’s Wife, Munich, and several other prominent roles to his credit, played Bruce Banner aka Hulk in Ang Lee’s 2003 underrated movie Hulk. In the later years, the movie was lost in the best Hulk debate of Mark Ruffalo vs. Edward Norton


Norton’s The Incredible Hulk was released in 2008, the same year the Marvel Cinematic Universe was born with its first movie Iron Man. Following the formation of MCU, Ruffalo joined the cast (he doesn’t have a solo movie as of yet), being one of the core members of the original Avengers.

While Ruffalo’s Hulk has gained a global fandom, fans have also loved the version of the character Norton played in the Louis Leterrier-directed movie that also stars Liv Tyler as Betty Ross. However, Bana’s Hulk has been undermined over the years. Lee’s 2003 movie is quite prominent in the character analysis, albeit having no connection to today’s MCU. 

The movie was also made with a grand production budget of $137 million but grossed only $245.4 million, which roughly translates to 1.8 times the production budget (per The Numbers). Still, the movie got a decent response from critics claiming a 63% Rotten Tomatoes score, and in this regard, the movie should be in the prominence as Norton and Hulk.


Fans Hailed Eric Bana’s Hulk

Ang Lee Hulk visuals
The Hulk (2003). Credit: Universal Pictures

While the movie was almost lost in history, several fans kept the movie and Bana’s version close to their hearts as it eventually received cult status. Fun fact, Lee also played Hulk in the movie, providing motion capture and voice for the Green Goliath. Over two decades after the release of the movie, fans are on a nostalgic trip after an Instagram user posted a clip from the movie. Some believe Bana’s version of Hulk would have dropped Infinity Saga’s big bad Thanos. Here’s what fans think of Hulk in the movie—

This hulk would’ve looked at thanos and made him explode.

This Hulk could’ve dropped Thanos.

This Hulk’s power level and list of abilities was the best IMO. Straight unbridled force of nature.

This was the best hulk movie cuz they didn’t water down his feats.

This comment section is MY KINDA PEOPLE. This is a super misunderstood film. It’s not a superhero movie but a monster movie. Maybe one day Hollywood will let directors take risks and personal takes with superhero movies like this…until then, it’s Burtons Batman’s and Ang Lees Hulk for me.

Best hulk and banner ever. sadly they changed the actor. hulk 2008 was also good but not the actor. and avengers hulk is way to weak.

Unpopular opinion, this is the best Hulk movie. Yes Norton’s looked the best but I felt like this one dealt with the trauma between Bruce and Hulk the best. Also Bruce actually has chemistry with Betty in this one.

The responses from Hulk in the movie revealed that the craze for Bana’s Hulk is far from over despite Borton and Ruffalo dominating the character and the intricate discussions associated with it. 

Stream Hulk on Netflix.


Written by Lachit Roy

Articles Published: 1031

Lachit Roy is a seasoned writer specializing in science and entertainment news. Armed with a postgraduate degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Tezpur University, he brings a wealth of knowledge and skill to his craft.

Lachit is particularly passionate about crafting engaging content on entertainment news and trends. A dedicated movie enthusiast, he possesses an in-depth understanding of the cinematic world and takes joy in disseminating the latest updates to the global fandom. When not immersed in writing, Lachit can be found indulging in his love for movies and series, occasionally tending to his garden, but predominantly expanding his expertise in the realms of his interests.