Marvel wasn't kidding around when they said they were looking to replace Edward Norton with a "name actor," and it would stand to reason that they wouldn't be so eager to jump into Joaquin Phoenix's bearded comeback. According to Deadline Hollywood Daily, Mark Ruffalo is in final talks to play Bruce Banner / Hulk in The Avengers.

Ruffalo is certainly a name, but he's not a big one. I'd venture to say he's an unknown to a lot of mainstream moviegoers who may barely recognize him from "big" movies like Shutter Island or Zodiac. He's a pretty low key actor, perfectly willing to play the second fiddle to flashier actors like Leonardo DiCaprio or Adrien Brody, so I imagine he'll be the team player Marvel is reportedly looking for.

I don't mind the casting -- personally, I wish they'd pretend Ang Lee's Hulk was part of this greater continuity and recast Eric Bana -- but Ruffalo seems like a deliberately neutral pick. He's a good actor, but I've never seen him ... well ... Hulk out. Bana has that Australian unpredictability (and a role like Chopper) to his credit, and Norton is nothing but intense and tormented. But Ruffalo seems like a Bruce Banner who has it all under control. Maybe that's the angle they want, though. Maybe we're going to see a new Banner who has it all together, only to be manipulated into releasing big green monster again.

That's my take, though. What do you think of Ruffalo as Hulk?