Over the last 80 years, superheroes have managed to touch the hearts of us all. They give us something to aspire to, people to look up to, and most importantly, they make us want to do and be better.
This is especially true when said superhero protagonists are headlining their own movie or TV show, putting them at the center of the story and showing us all their trials and tribulations, making it clear that they're just as human as we.
Though, at the same time, with the MCU expanding each year, some could argue there are a few too many inspiring heroes introduced and brought to the public eye. Of course, the MCU first served up greedy businessman Tony Stark, who started as a selfish playboy only to turn into Iron Man. On the other side of that, Steve Rogers proves that anyone can become Captain America with enough perseverance.
These characters are excellent in their own right and are hugely important to many people. Though, with the sheer number of protagonists who were the main focus of their stories out there, there’s a question some might ask: how do they stack up against one another? How do the likes of classic characters like Thor and Hulk compare to more niche protagonists like Moon Knight or Hawkeye?
20. Bruce Banner - The Incredible Hulk
The Hulk has been one of the most beloved supporting characters of the MCU with his depiction by Mark Ruffalo ever since the first Avengers movie; sadly, the same can’t be said for the only protagonist role the character has had in The Incredible Hulk.
Edward Norton is not a bad actor, but the superhero movie he’s in does not do him justice. The visuals are bland and colorless, while the script is problematic and fails to explain the plot to the viewer correctly. As a whole, it's boring, with the only saving grace being the massive Hulk vs. Abomination fistfight in the third act.
The movie also fails to characterize Bruce Banner; we don’t get to see much about him or his life before becoming the Hulk. Making it hard to get an idea of what the character is going through and, in the term, growing some attachment for him.
At the same time, his struggles with his love interest Betty Ross feel like a romance done millions of times before and doesn’t bring anything new to the table. This is even more disappointing considering the fact that this is the only thing the character has going for him outside of the conflict with the Hulk itself.
Mark Ruffalo might have brought Hulk's most beloved live-action incarnation to the MCU, but his original film needs much work.