Mark Ruffalo Explains Why People Have Fallen in Love with the Marvel Universe

Avengers star Mark Ruffalo, who plays the Hulk, says audiences have fallen in love with Marvel Studios' Marvel Cinematic Universe for the same reason they'll be drawn to true story drama Dark Waters: because they want to see “people who are fighting for the little guy.” In Todd Haynes' Dark Waters, Ruffalo plays corporate defense attorney Robert Bilott, who works to uncover and expose the long history of pollution by chemical company DuPont. Bilott doesn’t transform into a green-skinned superhero, but Ruffalo says Dark Waters is the story about “a hero.”

“It’s no mistake that people have fallen in love with the Marvel universe, because they want to see a world that’s just. They want to see people who are fighting for the little guy, and on behalf of the little guy,” Ruffalo told The Hollywood Reporter. “And [Dark Waters] is a little guy fighting on behalf of other little guys.”

He continued, “The great thing about the movie is it exposes something that isn’t just Teflon, isn’t just PFOA, it’s a whole system. Whether you’re talking about opioids, whether you’re talking about lead, whether you’re talking about Monsanto and glyphosates, the whole thing has been set up in a way to allow these businesses to get away with this.”

Like the Hulk, Bilott is “not a hero because we want to be him, he's a hero because we don't,” Ruffalo said of the attorney who was described by The New York Times as “DuPont’s Worst Nightmare.”

“How many people turn their backs on the money, the career, the prestige in American culture today to do something that's right and really selfless and really pay a price for mostly your health, what you lost with your family,” Ruffalo said. “And there's another kind of hero that wears their strength on the inside. And that's this guy. We need heroes today."

Ruffalo's other big movie of 2019, Avengers: Endgame, grossed $2.79 billion worldwide to become the highest-grossing movie of all time. Endgame was later honored with the best blockbuster prize at the Hollywood Film Awards, where Ruffalo called the Anthony and Joe Russo-directed movie “something that brought the whole world together.”

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“It’s not something you can do with just spectacle alone, by the way, but there’s plenty of that,” Ruffalo said when accepting the award alongside Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige and producer Victoria Alonso. “What really speaks to people about these movies, I think, is the heart and humanity of characters, that’s what makes Avengers: Endgame so powerful to witness — these characters that care about and reckon with the world around them ... to watch them struggle and survive and sometimes even say goodbye. That’s what makes it cinema.”

Dark Waters is now playing.