Marvel Cinematic Universe actors: Liv Tyler


Long before Black Widow soothed the Hulk with her lullaby, Betty Ross was the original Hulk whisperer. Liv Tyler played Betty in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s second movie, The Incredible Hulk.

The Incredible Hulk hit theaters five years after Ang Lee’s standalone, unconnected Hulk, starring Eric Bana and Jennifer Connelly. It just might be the worst movie of Lee, Bana, and Connelly’s careers. With Marvel Studios running the remake, Edward Norton was a step-up from Eric Bana, yet one would have to admit that Liv Tyler hardly compares to Jennifer Connelly (who would later lend her voice to the MCU Spider-Man suit). The two Betty’s played sisters in Inventing the Abbotts. By the time Tyler joined the Marvel team, she was already well versed in big budget blockbusters and makes a strong case as the better Betty.

The chemistry between Liv Tyler and Edward Norton was not particularly explosive. Still, her role of the concerned love interest was serviceable. Tyler has not displayed a wide range in her acting career, yet this is not an issue for the Marvel movie; adjustments may have even been made to tailor the character for Tyler, utilizing her talent applicably. Her fierce stare expresses resolute determination to see Bruce prevail – the story calls for her to be strong-willed and supportive, as she helps to save her superhero, monster boyfriend from the government, her father, and himself.

Liv Tyler has not made additional appearances as Betty after The Incredible Hulk, although her father, Thunderbolt Ross, crosses paths with the Avengers in both Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. This leaves the door open for a future Betty sighting and even a potential love triangle depending on what direction the filmmakers choose to point Bruce toward beyond Avengers: Endgame. And the fact that the Russo Brothers have suggested that Betty perished by Thanos’ decimation event lets us know the character is still in the back of people’s minds.

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Liv Tyler made her way to the big screen over ten years before The Incredible Hulk, with movies like Bernardo Bertolucci’s strange yet artistic romance, Stealing Beauty and then moving to the other end of the spectrum in Empire Records, which is kind of like Mallrats set in a record store. Armageddon is what really made her a movie star. Her father’s band, Aerosmith, recorded an original song that was just as popular as the movie itself. Tyler is situated at the heart of the Michael Bay film considering she plays the daughter of the crew leader, who is in the middle of the central love story with one of the crew members.

In Armageddon, Tyler shows off her signature watery eyes, which she would also turn to for all three Lord of the Rings. The fantasy epic trilogy features dozens of characters, yet Tyler has the spotlight on her during a key segment in The Fellowship of the Ring. She saves Frodo in a Ringwraith chase and then reunites with her star-crossed lover.

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Other essential Tyler performances are in That Thing You Do as the Yoko Ono to a one-hit wonder pop rock band, and in Jersey Girl she hooks back up with her Armageddon flame Ben Affleck, who lost his wife and is raising his daughter alone. And shortly before Incredible Hulk, she appeared as Adam Sandler’s empathetic therapist in Reign Over Me, also helping a man who lost loved ones.

The best acting of Liv Tyler’s career actually comes in the form of the HBO TV series The Leftovers. The Damon Lindelof-led show doubles down on the tactic of knowing how to best use someone’s talents. Tyler is deeply expressive with her eyes, and for a large portion of her role, she was silent and would communicate without words.

Liv Tyler’s Top 5 Movie Roles

  1. Arwen in The Lord of the Rings trilogy
  2. Grace Stamper in Armageddon
  3. Betty Ross in The Incredible Hulk
  4. Lucy Harmon in Stealing Beauty
  5. Faye Dolan in That Thing You Do

Liv Tyler doesn’t have many headlining roles under her belt, so at this point The Incredible Hulk remains in the conversation regarding her best performances. It could be intriguing if she does get brought back into the MCU mix. Unlike Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster, there are no clear signs that the franchise is breaking ties with Betty Ross. However, no new Hulk solo movie is on deck, so her reappearance as Betty would have to come in a smaller capacity, à la Gwyneth Paltrow’s brief visits in Spider-Man: Homecoming and Infinity War.