Marvel Animation/Lionsgate Home Entertainment
It’s taken me some time to finally get around to watching this one, I know. Especially since it’s been around for so long. I’ve been prompted by the long-awaited “Avengers” movie which will be hitting theaters in a week to devoting time to watching the animated Marvel superhero movies I haven’t seen and re-watching the live action movies that I have. I’m fairly familiar with the DC animated movies as I enjoy the stories and the animation much better than the Marvel animated movies that I have seen. But as HULK VS. features two of my favorite Marvel superheroes going at it toe-to-toe, there was no way I couldn’t start with this one first.
HULK VS. THOR
Directed by Sam Liu
Produced by Frank Paur
Story by Craig Kyle and Frank Paur
Screenplay by Christopher Yost
Once a year in the fabled kingdom of Asgard, All-Father Odin lapses into the fabled Odinsleep for one week to regenerate his divine power. During that week, every evil power in The Nine Worlds assaults Asgard, hoping to either destroy Odin or take his power. But the faithful warriors of Asgard, led by Thor, the God of Thunder (Matthew Wolf) have always successfully protected Odin.
But this time, Loki, the God of Mischief (Graham McTavish) has what he thinks is a trick that will work. He’s snatched Dr. Bruce Banner (Bryce Johnson) from Earth and brought him to Asgard. With the aid of Amora The Enchantress (Kari Wahlgren) Loki magically separates The Hulk from Banner. This enables Loki to gain full control over the man-monster and sends him on a rampage through Asgard. Without Bruce Banner’s soul to provide some form of control over The Hulk, he’s now the very incarnation of pure rage and totally unstoppable. Wave after wave of Asgard’s best warriors try to take down The Hulk and get the immortal piss walloped outta them.
And then we get to the moment we’ve been waiting for when Thor brings the thunder and lighting. Not to mention his enchanted war hammer Mjolnir which he then proceeds to layeth the smackdown on the green varlet. Let the ass-kicking commence.
While I liked HULK VS. THOR a lot more than HULK VS. WOLVERINE I didn’t like how Thor was portrayed as pretty much The Hulk’s punching bag in their fight. There’s a scene about a minute, maybe a minute and a half long which it nothing but The Hulk pounding mercilessly on Thor. Indeed, so badly is Thor beaten up that Hela, the daughter of Loki and the Asgardian goddess of death attempts to claim his soul. My own opinion is that Thor can beat just about anybody in The Marvel Universe and he certainly can beat The Hulk. But hey, I didn’t write the story. What I did like is how the story takes an unexpected twist when Loki kills Banner and as a result, The Hulk can’t be sent back to Earth since Banner’s soul now belongs to Hela. This forces Thor and Loki to team up to recover Bruce Banner’s soul and reunite it with The Hulk before The Hulk destroys Asgard completely.
The animation isn’t anything to cheer about. It’s of high quality, yes, but I’ve been spoiled by the DC animated features which are regularly spectacular. But don’t get me wrong, now. I’m recommending HULK VS. THOR. It’s a solid, very well made straight-up superhero story that delighted me with its Old School 60’s/70’s Marvel vibe. And I loved the final scene homage to the “Incredible Hulk” TV series.
HULK VS. WOLVERINE
Directed and Produced by Frank Paur
Screenplay by Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost
The Hulk is on a rampage in the wilds of Canada. Apparently he’s destroyed a small town and Wolverine is brought in by Department H to stop him. What puzzles Wolverine (Steven Blum) is the numerous spent shell casings and heavy scent of gunpowder still in the air. Somebody spent a lot of bullets trying to stop The Hulk but failed. There’s also an odd toxic smell that Wolverine believes he can use to track The Hulk.
Wolverine soon tracks down Bruce Banner (Bryce Johnson) and slaps him around as Wolverine detects the same toxic smell on him. The slapping around results in making Bruce Banner mad and we all know what happens when he gets mad. The adamantium claws come out. Let the ass-kicking commence.
The situation becomes complicated when Team X, composed of Deadpool, Omega Red, Lady Deathstrike and Sabretooth show up. They’ve been tracking The Hulk for weeks so as to capture him for Weapon X, the same project that created Wolverine by bonding adamantium to his skeleton. It was actually Team X that destroyed the town fighting The Hulk and those were Deadpool’s bullet casings. Both The Hulk and Wolverine are drugged and taken to the Weapon X facility where they will both have their memories erased and be used as living weapons. It’s up to Wolverine to somehow escape, set The Hulk free and stay alive while Team X tries to kill or recapture the both of them.
HULK VS. WOLVERINE is pretty much a Wolverine story that guest-stars The Hulk. Unlike HULK VS. THOR where The Hulk/Bruce Banner is an active character in the action of the story and it’s Bruce Banner’s choice that resolves the story’s conflict. The villains in the story are Wolverine’s villains and the story stops cold at one point so that we can flashback to Wolverine’s origins. And except for The Hulk, there’s no characters in the story I really care about or am interested in. Wolverine has become the most overexposed and overrated character in comics in the last twenty years. Deadpool I’ve never gotten the point of. He’s supposed to be this utterly hilarious character but damned if I can see it. As for Sabretooth, Lady Deathstrike and Omega Red…meh. Now that I’ve said all that, you may find it odd that I now say that “Wolverine: Origins” is one of my favorite superhero movies and I enjoyed both Wolverine and Deadpool in that one but that’s another review.
But it’s not all bad and considering it’s called HULK VS. WOLVERINE there’s no point in my BMW’ing about a movie that told me up front it’s just going to be a slugfest which is exactly what HULK VS. is from start to finish. It’s made for longtime fans of these characters and it’s well worth a viewing on a Saturday afternoon. HULK VS. THOR is 45 minutes long while HULK VS. WOLVERINE is 37 minutes long so it’s not going to take up half your day watching it. The short run time of both stories means that there’s no filler scenes of unnecessary padding. It’s straight action from start to finish. Enjoy