Mark Ruffalo‘s Bruce Banner was the best character in The Avengers – argue with me in the comments if you disagree! — so it’s a delight to see him starring in a deleted scene. As you’ll remember, the first time we see Banner “Hulk out,” he turns into his huge green alter ego and basically falls out of the S.H.I.E.L.D. hellicarrier and plummeting to Earth. It was one of the movie’s first laugh-out-loud shockers, but since it came in the middle of the huge battle you didn’t really question how Bruce makes it back to Stark Tower for the big battle.
In the movie, it’s just a quick gag with a naked Bruce interacting with character actor Harry Dean Stanton (Alien, Big Love) as a security guard. But in this extended scene, we get to see how the seemingly minor character gives Bruce a lot to think about when he asks, “Are you a big guy that gets all little, or a little guy that sometimes blows up large?”
For me, this take on Bruce Banner, moreso than the movie’s other heroes, best exemplifies Joss Whedon‘s ability to get at the core humanity of superpowered characters. Because he’s asking existential questions about who Bruce Banner really is—has “the big guy” completely taken over and Bruce the human is just some puny protective shell, or does he retain his identity? It’s like when you think about Superman — yeah, I’m gonna step over into the DC universe for a sec — and how “Clark Kent” is really just his disguise to blend in with the humans.
I hope that as we get closer to the release of The Avengers on DVD, we get similar scenes giving more insight into the other characters. Sure, it’d be fun to see more of Chris Hemsworth, but I really want to see Jeremy Renner getting to play around with more of Hawkeye’s actual character since he spends most of the movie hypnotized.