Recently, reports have been going crazy tha tJoaquin Phoenix would be playing Bruce Banner or the Incredible Hulk in the upcoming Avengers movie. While Joaquin is a fantastic actor, he is just not quite right, in my opinion, for this particular role. When it comes to superhero movies, casting decisions can literally make or break a movie, if not the entire franchise. While The Avengers will likely be an ensemble adventure, every team member needs to be carefully considered.
The question of who should play Bruce Banner is a serious question to fanboys like myself across the country. Casting the alter ego of The Incredible Hulk is an undertaking that needs to be taken seriously. The whole problem with superhero casting is how well the actor plays the alter ego or secret identity. This whole mess started with the great Christopher Reeve and the Superman Movies. Here was a guy who just flat out was Clark Kent, he owned the role, which is especially impressive because in those days there were no computer geniuses to make the costumes and the super heroes look good. Yep, that was all Christopher Reeve. But times have changed, and The Avengers movie is looking like a stellar line up, the only question is how do you get adequate screen time for all these superstars, when audiences are really paying to see the superheroes and supervillains.
So taking a look at who should play Bruce Banner or The Incredible Hulk is a tough question, there are so many stars already in the film. But I would go crazy with it and shoot for the Moon, and try to cast someone on the middle age side, but still relatively well known. I think Matt Damon could do the part justice, but I think Liam Neeson would be perfect. Liam Neeson has that sense and flair and everyday guy appeal, but he comes across well articulate and well spoken, and actually can sound like a scientist. Gamma rays aside, Liam Neeson could pass for Bruce Banner any day of the week as it is. Plus, this is a guy whose box office appeal has really never been stronger, and could likely carry a scene involving Robert Downey Jr., Samuel L. Jackson, and Scarlett Johansson. I just do not want to see an actor disappear with all that star wattage. Anyone with concerns over the accent of the actor just needs to consider the great performances dished out by Ian McKellan as Mageneto and Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier in the ledgendary X-Men trailers, by the way Wolverine fans Hugh Jackman is not a Canadian either. Liam would be perfect for this, now we just need to work Jessica Alba in somehow.