Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Exfanding Review: Hulk Vs.

Hulk vs. posterLast week I picked up the latest Marvel Animation direct-to-DVD release, entitled Hulk Vs. So today, I'm going to write a quick review of said movie. Mostly because I have no idea what else to write about. Oh, and actually, this review is...almost...topical.

Well, way more topical than reviewing... say...Star Wars.


Anywho, on to the review. Now, I like cartoons (The Simpsons being my favorite show and all), but mostly I get tired of cartoons about comics characters very quickly.

Don't get me wrong, I loved (and still love) Batman: The Animated Series, which many fans consider the pinnacle of that form of storytelling. However, other than that show and choice episodes of Justice League and maybe the 1990s Fox X-Men cartoon series, I always hated how the TV show adaptations of my favorite characters seemed to ring so hollow.

And, yes, I get that cartoons are for kids, but so are comics, right? (He says, sarcastically...and a little meanly...before making himself a little sad.)

But this DVD is different, as it is written and produced by Marvel Comics writers, for, well...Marvel Comics readers. Out of the series of movies released by Marvel Animated, Hulk Vs. is certainly the most "adult" of the flicks, what with plenty of blood and even some Bart Simpson-esque light swearing.

Wolverine in Hulk Vs.That said, let's backtrack so I can explain things a bit better. While the title is rather odd and tough to write in the middle of a sentence in fear that readers will think I've reached a premature end to said sentence, Hulk Vs. (this is not the end of this sentence, by the by) is actually two movies.

In one movie, Hulk fights Wolverine. And, well, Hulk smashes Wolverine. Quite a bit, actually. And in the other movie, Hulk smashes Thor. And most of Asgard.

I'll start with my favorite of the two flicks, Hulk Vs. Wolverine. Now, while the story opens with the title characters slugging it out, this film is more of a Wolverine back story than anything else. And, as such, it is quite good. We see bits and pieces of Wolvie's past in the Weapon X Program and we also see former Weapon X teammates, such as Sabretooth, Lady Deathstrike, Omega Red, and Deadpool.

Yep--Deadpool! Everyone's favorite merc-with-a-mouth.

Now, for those of you who just read that last paragraph and went..."uh, when did Alex stop talking about things I know existed?"...well, that's the main point I want to make about this film.

See, it's kind of an inside-joke thing. So, for fans familiar with the Marvel Universe, and with Wolverine and Deadpool specifically, this is a must-watch movie. I loved it, as they are two of my favorite comics characters. And instead of going into a big long background post on the two characters, I'll instead reccommend that you go out and read the following comics, as a much better intro.

To get into Wolverine, I'd suggest reading Greg Rucka's first run on the character's main book, which relaunched in 2003. You can check out the single issues as well as the trades here. There's also the classic 1982 Wolverine mini-series, by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller, and you can check out the classic cover art to issue one, below.

Wolverine comic book miniseriesAnd for Deadpool stories, Daniel Way's current series is quite good, and very funny, so I'd suggest checking that out. It's also been suggested that I go back and read the various Cable and Deadpool trades, which are also out now.

All that aside, back to the movie review. Like I mentioned, this film is more violent than others Marvel has put out, and when you have these types of characters involved, the violence is not only appropriate for such a film, but necessary. So, yes, there is blood splattering and limb-tearing and gun wounds to'll see.

And all that stuff makes this movie a keeper for Marvel fans. Oh, and Deadpool really does steal the show, with some of the funniest one-liners in comics movie history.

Hulk vs. WolverineSo, go out and grab this if you're into these characters, or even if you'd like to get a little taste of Weapon X before the Wolverine feature film starring Hugh Jackman hits theaters in May.

Now, onto the second movie on this DVD, Hulk Vs. Thor. The plot can be summed up in Thor's own words when he says, dramatically and with more than a little dread in his voice, "The Hulk has come to Asgard."

Hulk smashes stuffI'll start right off by saying that I enjoyed this flick a lot. Way more than I thought I would, actually. Like I said, I'm a big Wolverine fan, so I knew that movie would be right up my alley, but while I like Thor, I'm just not that familiar with his background and supporting cast.

I mean, I know Asgard is his home and his evil half-brother Loki typically tries to mess things up for him, but other than that Thor is a bit of a mystery to me. Even so, I found myself pretty invested in this flick.

The art is great, and the scenes of Asgard are striking and everything you'd expect from Marvel Comics. In terms of storytelling, there are plenty of twists and turns along the way, and we have some nice Bruce Banner emotional beats in the story. Certainly more than the Wolverine flick, Thor focuses quite a bit on the Hulk, and Bruce Banner, while still managing to tell a great Thor story.

And now for the Classic Alex Wrap-Up, because today's post is quickly becoming a short novel.

Both movies have some flat out great action sequences (shockingly violent, even) and while the premise of the flicks is basically "Hulk fights everyone," there's great story and character-driven plots behind both.

So, I say to thee, go forth them. Or Hulk will smash you.

'Kay. Bye, now.

Hulk vs. Thor

No comments: