Title: Hulk Vs.
Starring: Mark Acheson, Steve Blum, Jamyle Jared, Bryce Johnson, Tom Kane
Written by: Craig Kyle, Christopher Yost
Directed by: Frank Paur
Review Format: Blu-ray
I’m trying to remember the first appearance of the “being thrown so hard you fracture the ground or the side of a mountain” scene. Was it Superman II? Can you think of an earlier appearance? We see it constantly now, both in live action and animated films. The new Animated Marvel Features release Hulk Vs. makes full use of this particular conceit. Earth and rocks and rubble fly as Hulk does what he does best…smash. I suppose that’s what people want, but it left me unfulfilled, with a slight headache. Essentially, Hulk Vs. is comprised of two short films, so I’ll talk about them individually.
Hulk Vs. Thor
“The Hulk has come to Asgard.” Loki makes this pronouncement early on, and he should know, since he’s the one who brought the Hulk to Asgard. It’s Odin Sleep time in Asgard, so the trolls and ogres and frost giants are on the attack. The denizens of Asgard defeat the uninvited guests and think it’s business as usual, until the big green jerk arrives. I’ve never understood the appeal of the Hulk. He’s a fairly one-dimensional character, loud, angry and annoying. Not unlike some guys I’ve dated. And like them, when the Hulk starts out loud, angry and annoying, there’s really no other place for him to go except louder, angrier and more annoying. So, for me, the appeal of this part of the Hulk Vs. package is Thor and Asgard. Having arrived at the Thor party only recently, it was exciting to see these characters come to life. If you’re wondering, this is pre-Stracyznski, pre-Ragnarok Thor. The story plays out with a few surprises, including some nice moments for Bruce Banner. But overall, the smashing overwhelms everything else.
Hulk Vs. Wolverine
In sharp comparison to the Hulk cranked up to high in the Thor segment. The Hulk Vs. Wolverine piece starts with Banner trying not to fight. Wolverine has been hired to capture or kill the big green guy and stop his recent rampage through peaceful, bucolic villages. Little does Wolvie know that as he follows the Hulk, the gang from Weapon X are following him. The movie spends most of its time focused on Wolverine. We get to see flashbacks of his past and get to see him transformed into Wolverine for, like, the millionth time. The interaction between Logan and his Weapon X pals is probably the best part. Deadpool is a scream, and Lady Deathstrike is convincingly unpleasant. It makes me wonder what Hulk’s purpose in all of it is, except as an excuse to get all these other characters together. There’s a nice protracted scene of a shirtless Logan in shorts chained to the wall, which was pretty hot for a cartoon. Then there’s a nice bit where Sabretooth licks Logan’s face, which is supposed to gross out teenage boys, I guess, but obviously had the opposite effect on me. I want to see more face licking and less Hulk smashing next time. How about it, Marvel?
I got the Blu-ray version, though with a film this vivid and colorful, the extra expense hardly seems necessary. The Blu-ray version comes with four collector trading cards, including Thor, Wolverine, Loki and Deadpool. In addition to audio commentary on both films by the creators, there are two short “making of” docs for each film, as well as some “first look” shorts on upcoming releases Wolverine and the X-men and Thor: Tales of Asgard. Tune in to the Wolverine “making of” doc to see sexy Steve Blum, the voice of the cranky, clawed character. That voice coming out of Wolverine in the film is fine enough, but when you see it coming out of a real guy, it’s crazy sexy! Overall, Hulk Vs. is an okay, if overwrought, effort that may be of interest to die-hard Marvel fans, but won’t be a lasting or memorable entry in the Marvel catalog.
On the FBOTU Scale of Fabulousness, I give Hulk Vs. 2 out of 5 screaming emoticons: