Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Hulk Vs. Review

Hulk is undeniably the biggest and baddest Marvel Hero as far as strength is concerned, as he says just about every 5 minutes, he’s the strongest there is. Marvel Animation studios finally made a video more for it’s fans, and it involves the big green giant going against 2 of his best sparring partners ,Wolverine and Thor. Written by the current writers of X-force, Craig Kyle and Christ Yost, this is a movie made by fans for fans.

We’re going to dissect this review into 3 aspects to the post. One for Hulk Vs. Wolverine and the other to Hulk Vs. Thor and then finishing with an overall sum of both films.

Part 1: Hulk vs. Wolverine

The whole story plays out as a prequel to the new Wolverine and the X-men cartoon where this is before Wolverine met the X-men and was just a regular hero, no team or friends. After the Hulk tears through Canada he gets sent in to take him down, after some awesome back and forth fighting they both get knocked out and captured by Weapon X. From there it’s a crazy escape for the two fighting heroes as they try to escape and fight both Weapon X’ top mutants and each other.

The opening was all right, things don’t really pick up until Hulk and Wolverine get fighting. Though up until then it’s just all right. We get a nice synopsis of what’s going on, why Wolverine is there and what he’s going up against so that was nice. Though once Wolverine and Hulk go toe to toe is when it improved.

Though what really helps make this story so great is the excellent animation by Jeff Matsuda. This guy has done a lot of work for The Batman (ugh) and it’s nice to see a really talented artist like him working on this. His style is great as every character looks great and has a cool animation to them. Hulk looks great but best of all is Wolverine and Deadpool as far as animation.

My only complaint about how everyone looks is Sabertooth. His face is all flat and scrunched together, it looks weird as all hell compared to everyone. That an Omega Red has a really weird looking chin but that’s it really.

The fight at first was great. It was nice to see Wolverine just really cut loose and show some blood finally in a cartoon. Up until know his only victims have been renegade doors and robots. Seeing him actually cut flesh and limbs was just plain great seeing as he’s been doing it for so long in the comics.

It was a great twist to see them end up in Weapon X as opposed to just fighting for 30 minutes which is cool, but not cool enough to take up an entire storyline. With Weapon X in the mix we got some really cool characters, mostly Deadpool (more on him soon) and it was just great to see Wolverine back at this place, kicking ass.

Now Deadpool…oh god Deadpool just…wow…wow. He stole the show beyond what stealing the show can describe, he stole it, slit it’s throat and blew it’s brains out…in a good way. Nolan North does a great job as the Merc with a Mouth in that not only are all Deadpool’s lines great but North delivers them in such an energetic way that really brings them out and improves on greatness.

I could go on for days about Deadpool as every line was great. Don’t believe me? Check out some of his best lines from the film in this Youtube video. Warning, some spoilers for the film (though there are spoilers filling this review so you probably figured that)

Steve Blum is another phenomenal voice actor as Wolverine, this guy just totally gets tough guys as he’s also the voice of Jack in the new Must Have Wii game Madworld. He just understands perfectly what it is to be a tough badass in every way as he perfectly captures Wolverine.

Hulk was more like an element through the film, not an essential character as far as what he did. He still got in some really cool moments and lines (“talking man hurt hulk. Hulk rip off Talking Man’s Head!” Talking man is Deadpool) and Frank Tatasciore is another great voice actor. While the Hulk has had a lot of great voice actors, this guy just nails the rage while still keeping it very cohesive which was really cool. Perfect line delivery, a great Hulk.

Overall the plot was great but my only real complaint was the fairly weak ending. While it all played out nicely the ending is the Rocky inspired ending with Hulk and Wolverine flying at each other to finish their fight. Rather then just getting to see the end. While it doesn’t ruin the whole film I was definitely disappointed with it. Still if you’re a fan of Wolverine, Weapon X, Deadpool, Hulk, hell, anything really as far as the X-verse, you’ll dig this.

8 out of 10

Part 2: Hulk vs. Thor

While I’ve never really been big on Thor, Matt Fraction made me a believer with Ages of Thunder and since then I’ve read all of my Dad’s Thor comics that he gave me. One thing I noticed was a fight between Thor and the Hulk, I read through it and I must be honest, it was pure awesome. It was fairly simple, but cool still, and I was hoping that we’d get at least an homage to it in this movie. No such luck, still, despite not being at the same level as Hulk vs. Wolverine, Hulk vs. Thor is still a good flick.

The plot starts out well enough, doing a great job to inform us of the Odin sleep and introducing Thor’s torment over losing his friends to such trivial battles. Though the plot suffers mostly with how it twists around so much. We go from Asgard to Hell after Thor gets smacked around by a Loki controlled Hulk, Loki and Thor soon team up to try and convince Hela to help them, it doesn’t go well so they try and get Banner’s help in Hell after Loki killed Banner after separating him from the Hulk with Enchantress’ powers and he refuses so eventually Hulk comes down to Hell and…well as you can tell by now it’s a tad too twisting and after a while it just felt a little obnoxious.

While the fighting was great, of course Thor and Hulk going toe to toe is always great, the story just dragged on too long for it’s own good and that really killed some of the excitement.

The animation is also a step down, though I’m not sure who animated it. While most of Asgard, Hell and all the denizens of these areas look from good to Great, the 2 main characters Thor and Hulk look rather poor. Thor looks far too blocky for my liking as does Hulk. Though it’s strange, they both look fairly poor whereas most everyone else looks just fine and in the case of Enchantress and Volstag they look pretty good and well animated.

Hulk also suffers from not really getting any lines this time, except one line as he passes out at the end. With the great voice acting it was disappointing that he got zero lines here.

This film definitely had a better incorporation of the Hulk as a more important and main character though even more so Bruce Banner who only got a few minutes in Hulk vs. Wolverine and they where both fairly uninteresting. Here we see him in his own personal heaven upon death, with Betty and his son, and we see him torn from it and forced to make a choice to merge with the Hulk again.

What was so great about this was that at first he refused, like any sane man would, but when he saw how Hulk could even tear apart Hell he sacrificed his chance at happiness and peace to stop the monster. It was just a really great moment for the character and really tugs at the audiences heart strings and reminds me why Banner is such a great character in the first place.

The overall story was dragged out but had plenty of good moments and characters, Enchantress was very well done as we see her struggle with her wanting revenge on Thor for picking Siph (not sure exactly how to spell her name, my apologies) and still caring for him. Should there ever be an ongoing Thor cartoon it would be a great thing to pick up on for her character.

Though I guess the best part to Hulk vs. Thor was the ending as Odin gives this great speech about how great a hero Banner is for taking back the Hulk to save Asgard. It was just a brilliantly done speech both as the content and whomever wrote it and the amazing voice acting for Odin. It was a powerful great way to end the movie and brought it all together nicely.

Overall Hulk vs. Thor is undeniably a step back from how great Hulk vs. Wolverine is, but it has some great moments and despite weak animation still looks good for the most part. That along with an incredibly well done ending boosts it a bit as far as how good it is.

7 out of 10

Part 3: Final thoughts and overview.

Hulk vs. is one of those great animated films that, while it isn’t really perfect, has a lot of good qualities still. I could easily say buy this for Hulk vs. Wolverine alone but I must admit that Hulk vs. Thor is still a good watch as well. Though overall I must admit that not everyone will love it as much as I did, it’s not very open for new possible fans of the characters so if you’re not big on Marvel comics you may not enjoy it as much as a regular True Believer. Still, if you’re interested I highly suggest you at least rent it and check it out and if you like it, buy it.

Overall grade: 7 out of 10

Must Rent

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