Originally Posted by Mjölnir
I liked both Norton and Ruffalo. They play Banner at pretty different stages in his life though. Norton plays him while he's still immensely tormented by what's inside him, while Ruffalo is in full control.
For a solo movie I think it's better to have Banner conflicted since that's what really makes that character interesting and that is what fills up the movie. In The Avengers he doesn't need to carry as much emotionally so there we can just go with the fun version of him "suiting up". Then again I guess that as soon as they stop using the weird message of "strength overcomes everything" Hulk works in every way.
Thanks for saying this. I completely agree, and it's completely based on the writing and the story. Had Norton played ball with Marvel and Whedon, I absolutely believe he would have delivered a fantastic performance as the "in control, more experienced" Banner that people are attributing to Ruffalo's acting, but really is first and foremost thanks to Whedon's decision to develop the character into that (admittedly, more likeable) stage of his life. People don't credit Scarlett Johansson for developing the Black Widow character (much) further from where she was in IM2; they credit Whedon's script.