14 of Mark Ruffalo’s Best Movies Through the Years
From playing the Hulk and Jennifer Garner’s love interest (twice), to snagging three Academy Award nominations, Mark Ruffalo’s career is truly expansive. In the early 2000s Ruffalo was the cute boy the girls, including but not limited to Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston, fell in love with in romcoms. By the mid to late 2010s, he became a critically acclaimed Academy Award-nominated actor for his various roles in films like “Spotlight” and “Foxcatcher.” In 2012, Ruffalo took over as The Hulk in the first Avengers film and will be reprising his role as Bruce Banner/The Hulk in Marvel’s latest Disney+ show “She-Hulk.“
Ruffalo has worked with some of the world’s greatest directors, like Martin Scorsese, and been part of timeless films like “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” As an environmental activist, he has made films regarding important topics like pollution and taken on the roles of real-life people who are working to make the world a safer place. So, it is safe to say Mark Ruffalo has done it all.
Here is a look back at Mark Ruffalo’s most iconic roles throughout his career.
The Avengers Franchise
Mark Ruffalo took over the role of the Hulk in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, beginning with the team’s first battle in 2012’s “The Avengers.” He’s been portraying Bruce Banner and Banner’s alter ego, The Hulk, ever since. Even though he has not had a solo film, he has shown up in various MCU projects.
After “The Avengers” and “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” The Hulk got stuck on a spaceship and went missing until he popped back up on the planet of Sakaar, where he was used by The Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) for gladiator-type fighting. In “Thor: Ragnarök,” Thor ends up on Sakaar after a run-in with his sister, the goddess of death, where he finds The Hulk, who hasn’t been able to transform back into Bruce Banner. By the movie’s end, he can transform between Banner and The Hulk. The next time he appears is in “Avengers: Infinity War,” after Thanos attacks a ship he’s on. Banner then crashes into New York to warn Iron Man and Doctor Strange about the new villain. After the snap, “Avengers: Endgame” shows that Hulk and Banner have merged into one specimen called “Smart Hulk.” He helps make time travel work and brings the gentleness and brains of Banner to The Hulk. This is where “She-Hulk” will pick up. Lastly, Ruffalo made a small cameo as Bruce Banner in a “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” post-credits scene.
Mark Ruffalo’s Marvel Movies and TV Shows in Order
- “The Avengers”
- “Avengers: Age of Ultron”
- “Thor: Ragnarök”
- “Avengers: Infinity War”
- “Avengers: Endgame”
- “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”
The Adam Project
One of Ruffalo’s latest roles reunites him with his “13 Going on 30” costar Jennifer Garner, who plays the parents of Adam (Walker Scobell), a boy who is thrown into a journey with his older self (played by Ryan Reynolds). Louis, Ruffalo’s character, dies when Adam is very young and, now, both Adams are on a mission to save the future – one that requires them to go back in time and work with Louis.
This Martin Scorsese psychological thriller follows Edward “Teddy” Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio), a U.S. Marshal who is investigating the disappearance of a murderer from a facility for the criminally ill. Mark Ruffalo plays Daniels’ partner, U.S. Marshall Chuck Aule. As the film unfolds, it becomes clear that everything we’ve learned about Teddy and Chuck is not as it seems.
13 Going On 30
This iconic film of the early aughts follows Jenna Rink (Jennifer Garner) who wishes to be “30, flirty, and thriving” after a game of seven minutes in heaven goes awry. Some glitter falls on her head, and the next thing she knows, she’s 30 – but not necessarily flirty or thriving. See, she has no clue how to be an adult. Ruffalo plays Matt “Matty” Flamhaff, Jenna’s best childhood friend. She finds him in his 30s and learns they grew apart because she was really mean to him in high school. They begin to reconnect and fall in love after a dance along to “Thriller,” a fun yearbook-themed magazine photoshoot, and other shenanigans – but can they really go the distance when Matty is engaged to be married to someone else?
Now You See Me
Do you believe in magic? Well, in this magical heist film, Mark Ruffalo‘s character Dylan Rhodes puts up the illusion that he doesn’t. He plays an F.B.I. agent trying to stop The Four Horseman, four magicians played by Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, and Dave Franco from pulling off a massive heist to steal the fortune of Arthur Tressler, played by Michael Caine. But by the end of the film, the Four Horseman discover the trick was on them and Ruffalo’s character was the one planning the biggest heist of all.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
2005’s winner of the Oscar for best original screenplay, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” follows doomed exes Joel Barish (Jim Carrey) and his partner Clementine Kruczynski (Kate Winslet) as they undergo surgery that will make them forget each other. Mark Ruffalo plays Stan, the technician running Joel’s procedure.
“Spotlight” tells the true story of the Boston Globe reporters who uncovered the scandal of child molestation in the Catholic Church (and the church’s efforts to cover it up). As the investigation unfolded, it became clear that this wasn’t only occurring in Boston, but in hundreds of cities all over the world. “Spotlight” was one of the most critically acclaimed films of 2015, winning best picture at the Academy Awards. Mark Ruffalo played Mike Rezendes, part of the Pulitzer Prize-winning team who broke the story. Ruffalo received a nomination for best supporting actor at the Academy Awards for his role.
For the last 20 years, Mark Ruffalo has been an avid activist working to promote clean energy and fight climate change. He also has a nonprofit called The Solutions Project to help in this effort. The 2019 film “Dark Waters” follows Rob Bilott, played by Ruffalo, a defense attorney who takes on a lawsuit against the chemical company DuPont. This environmental case, which is based on a true story, exposed the long history of pollution caused by DuPont.
Just Like Heaven
After a tragic accident, workaholic doctor Elizabeth, played by Reese Witherspoon, ends up in a coma, and her family decides to put her apartment on the market. Enter David, played by Mark Ruffalo. He moves into Elizabeth’s apartment, but the problem is she’s still living there as a ghost, and she doesn’t remember who she is or what happened to her (though, she refuses to accept she’s dead). David acts as Elizabeth’s translator of sorts as they investigate what happened to her. They fall in love along the way, but can David really bring Elizabeth back to life?
Now You See Me 2
The Four Horsemen and their leader, Dylan Rhodes, played by Mark Ruffalo, are back to steal stuff in a magical way. This time they’re trying to expose the unethical practices of tech giant Walter Mabry, played by Daniel Radcliffe. Mabry then forces the Horsemen to steal a data chip, causing the crew to pull off one more crazy heist.
Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley join forces in John Carney’s musical love letter to New York City. Carney, who is known for his films “Once” and “Sing Street,” brought music to the streets of New York by way of this little musical movie. Ruffalo plays a down-on-his-luck music executive and Knightley a singer trying to find her break. They end up helping each other and recording an album in various public locations around the city.
Loosely based on true events, “Foxcatcher” follows the training of wrestlers Mark and David Schultz for the Olympics. They are recruited by John DuPont, of the chemical company DuPont, to train at his estate. Steve Carell plays DuPont, along with Channing Tatum as Mark Schultz and Mark Ruffalo as Dave Shultz. Carell was nominated for best actor and Ruffalo was nominated for best-supporting Actor at the 2014 Academy Awards for their performances in the film.