Mark Ruffalo Posts Heartfelt Thank You to Robert Downey Jr. on His Birthday

Avengers star Robert Downey Jr. is celebrating his birthday today, which is causing his costars from across the Marvel Cinematic Universe to wish him well. And as you would probably expect, Downey's "science bro" is getting in on the fun.

Mark Ruffalo, who plays Bruce Banner/Hulk in the MCU, recently took to social media to celebrate Downey's birthday. Ruffalo shared both a behind-the-scenes photo of himself and Downey, as well as the revelation that he was an answer on Downey's birthday crossword puzzle.

Bruce Banner and Downey's Tony Stark/Iron Man have become a fan-favorite dynamic in the MCU, ever since they first became "science bros" in The Avengers. All these years later, as the pair go into Avengers: Endgame, it's safe to say that both of their characters will be put through the metaphorical ringer.

“Downey is such a remarkable performer, and we really love him as a performer and what he’s done with the character." co-director Anthony Russo explained in a previous interview. "The character started as a very narcissistic, self-centered character. His arc in the first movie was to just begin to take a step beyond that, and we’ve continued him along that line in his journey that he’s had to the point where at the opening of Infinity War, his personal life is very thick. The stakes of his relationship with Pepper (Potts) are very high now. Also the fact that he’s had this mentor relationship with Peter Parker, it’s as if his personal life is becoming fuller and more important to him than it ever had before. And that’s an interesting counterpoint to his life as Iron Man, and also his life as Iron Man is a potential threat to that personal life as well. What’s happening with Tony Stark in this film is that he’s beginning to feel the tension between those two things, and that’s a difficult conflict for him.”

“I wouldn’t call Ragnarok and the next Avengers movies an unofficial Hulk trilogy, but I would say that there is a character arc for Hulk within those three movies that, yes, track together by design." Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige explained in 2017. "And I think it’s a testament to what Ruffalo has done to Bruce Banner and brought to this character."

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“Ruffalo is a master at not going deep and dark, but taking that inner pain and kind of trying to become zen about it." Feige continued. "We saw that in Avengers 1, where Tony Stark is screwing around and poking him with something and saying, oh, careful, and he goes, 'I can handle pointy things.' He’s much more zen about it. His secret is he’s always angry. I think it’s just a much more charismatic and engaging way to see it. I’ve always wanted Hulk to talk more than he has and find the right circumstances, and finally we see that here.”

Captain Marvel is in theaters now. It will be followed by Avengers: Endgame on April 26th, and Spider-Man: Far From Home on July 5th.