The Hulk reviews Mark Ruffalo's performance as... The Hulk.

Well this is just brilliant. The folks over at The New Yorker's Culture Desk recently asked everyone's favorite big, green film critic — Film Crit Hulk — to comment on Mark Ruffalo's Hulk in The Avengers.

Even if you've never read a review by Film Crit Hulk before, this particular analysis serves as a perfect introduction. His observations are incisive. His opinions are well-supported. His caps are locked.

We've included the introduction to F.C. Hulk's essay here, but you'll want to head over to the New Yorker for the full thing. The Hulk begins:

"THE BIXBIAN TRADITION"-MARK RUFFALO IN THE LEGACY AND LOGIC OF HULKING

"WHAT MAKES A GOOD HULK?"

IT IS A QUESTION THAT HULK IS ASKED FREQUENTLY, PERHAPS FOR… OBVIOUS REASONS. ON THE SURFACE IT SEEMS SO EASY, THE INCREDIBLE HULK IS SIMPLY THE MARVEL UNIVERSE'S ANSWER TO THE JEKYLL AND HYDE MONSTER. ALSO IT, LIKE, SMASHES STUFF.

BUT WHAT MAKES THAT SO COMPELLING? ARE WE JUST MINDLESS RECEPTACLES FOR DESTRUCTION? OF COURSE WE AREN'T. EVEN WITH THE MOST SEEMINGLY MUNDANE ICON THERE IS ALWAYS A PSYCHOLOGICAL COMPONENT TO THE CHARACTERIZATION THAT IS NEEDED TO ELEVATE OUR INTEREST. WITH THE HULK YOU COULD ARGUE THAT IT IS PERHAPS THE LURE OF EMOTIONAL ERUPTION AND THE WAY WE HOPE TO GIVE INTO OUR OWN RAGING IDS. BUT NO CHARACTER, EVEN THE HULK, CAN TRULY RESONATE IF HE IS MERELY A SIMPLE STAND-IN FOR OUR OWN DESIRES. ONE DOES NOT BECOME AN ICON MERELY THROUGH WISH-FULFILLMENT.

SO PERHAPS THERE IS A MUCH BETTER QUESTION AT HAND: WHAT MAKES THE HULK DRAMATIC? WHAT ARE WE ROOTING FOR WHEN WE WATCH HIM? WHAT IS IT THAT WE WANT TO HAPPEN IN ANY GIVEN SCENE?

WE HAVE TO GO BACK TO THE CENTRAL QUESTION: WHAT MAKES THE HULK SO COMPELLING TO US?

HULK WRITES ABOUT IT ALL THE TIME, BUT ONE OF THE ONGOING PROBLEMS OF BLOCKBUSTER CINEMA THESE DAYS IS ASSUMED EMPATHY. IT'S AS IF OUR STORYTELLERS JUST PLOP A FILM IN OUR LAPS AND SAY, "HERE'S OUR MAIN CHARACTER AND WE'RE GOING TO ASSUME THAT YOU'RE INTERESTED IN THEM FOR THAT REASON ALONE. THEY'RE THE MAIN CHARACTER!" … HULK DESPISES THIS TREND. IT TENDS TO GET EVEN WORSE WHEN STORYTELLERS FALL INTO THE MARKETING-CENTRIC TRAP OF "LIKABILITY," WHICH IS A WORD THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH MAKING CHARACTERS INTERESTING. USUALLY IT'S JUST A CODE WORD USED BY EXECUTIVES WHEN THEY'RE WORRIED A CHARACTER IS "DOING BAD THINGS." AND TO ADHERE TO THE WORRIES OF LIKABILITY IS TO THUS EMBARK ON A FOOL'S PLAY AT DRAMA.

YOU WANT REAL EMPATHY? LOOK AT THE PANTHEON OF GREAT HEROES. BEOWULF. ROBIN HOOD. SHERLOCK HOLMES. INDIANA JONES. EVEN OLD BUCKET-HEAD HIMSELF, TONY STARK. THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT THESE ICONS THAT MAKES THEM SO MUCH MORE THAN "HEROES." THEY'RE ENGAGING. THEY'RE LIVELY. THEY'RE FLAWED. THEY'RE INTERESTING. AND FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS DISCUSSION, THEY ARE TESTAMENTS TO THE FACT THAT EMPATHY CAN NEVER BE ASSUMED.

Continue reading over on The New Yorker.