Mark Ruffalo Reveals the Biggest Reason Fans Love the MCU

If you’re a Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) fan, then you probably already know how popular the franchise of comic book-based films has been. With 23 movies out as of 2019 and many more yet to come, the movies have grossed over $22.5 billion worldwide. That’s an impressive feat for sure.

But it wasn’t always that easy. Before the MCU, Marvel almost became non-existent. But when MCU started with the release of Iron Man, things began to look up again, and now fans can’t get enough.

Mark Ruffalo, aka The Hulk, has some theories as to why fans love the MCU. And while there may be many reasons, he claims that one thing, in particular, is the biggest, trumping all others. 

Why fans love the MCU

While fans may enjoy the MCU for many reasons, like getting to watch your favorite childhood heroes battle it out and it being socially acceptable as an adult to do so, there is one reason that stands out above the others. In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Ruffalo said that it comes down to fans wanting to see the little guy come out on top.

In such an unjust world, people want to see justice win. They want to see heroes fighting for those that can’t fight for themselves. They want the underdog to triumph.

This theory is correct, according to psychologists. In fact, there have been numerous surveys that show that more than two-thirds of people vote for the underdog, as demonstrated by Baylor College of Medicine (BCM).  

Mark Ruffalo’s role in the franchise

Mark Ruffalo attends the premiere of Disney and Marvel's 'Avengers: Infinity War'.
Mark Ruffalo | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Ruffalo began his time in the MCU when he took on the part of Bruce Banner in 2012’s The Avengers. He continued in that role for six more MCU films after, with his fate up in the air for any future stories about Banner and his alter ego, Hulk.

Ruffalo is by far the best movie version of the Hulk and has turned the character into one worthy of having another try at a solo film. Ruffalo is an experienced actor with many movies on his resume before his MCU days and is getting ready to release Dark Waters, his newest film. He compares his character in Dark Waters to the Hulk and says both are definitely underdogs.

How the ‘underdog theme’ carries through

In all four phases of the MCU, you’ll find the theme of rooting for the underdog, and it’s what helps drive the films. You can’t help but notice it in each of the 23 movies released so far.

With perfectly cast roles and scripts that serve to bring childhood heroes to life, fans certainly seem to love getting their fill of underdog triumphs with the MCU.

BCM helped explain why this might prove so compelling to fans. Think about watching The Avengers’ movies and how these ideas relate.

First, people find joy in unexpected successes. They like seeing the underdog prevail, and it increases their excitement over what they are watching. Second, most people can relate to the underdog, so that’s who they’re more likely to want to see win. Third, there’s this weird phenomenon known as ‘schadenfreude,’ which means that people unconsciously experience pleasure at the misfortune of others.

You may even be slightly jealous of the winning team, so when you see the underdog win, you don’t feel as bad that the favorite going in actually lost; it’s treated as almost karmic. 

Since the underdog will always be a thing and fans will typically want to see them win, it’s highly unlikely that the MCU will ever not be popular with fans. Of course, there are some things the MCU could do even better, but who knows if these changes will come or not. For now, you’ll just have to keep rooting for the underdog.