Hulk Vs. Netflix Streaming DVD | Blu-ray
Directed by Sam Liu and Frank Paur
Starring Fred Tatasciore, Bryce Johnson, Steven Blum, Matthew Wolf, Nolan North
Marvel Animation and Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Originally Released: January 27, 2009
For Marvel Fans, the summer release of The Avengers directed by Joss Whedon has been a challenging act to follow up with. It was an impressive epic release of geekporn, complete with its faults, and since its release, it’s been tough to find other previous Marvel releases to fill the void left by Whedon’s stunning success.
And while it’s no alternative for The Avengers film, Netflix does have a bunch of Marvel flicks worth having a look at, including their animated line of releases. One that proves to be a fun diversion is Hulk Vs., an animated double feature that sets everyone’s favorite green giant against Thor and Wolverine.
Hulk vs. Thor takes influence from the numerous times both of these Avengers have faced off opposed to each other, taking place in Odin’s realm of Asgard.
Up to his tricks again, Loki devises a plan to use Amora the Enchantress’ spell to divide Bruce Banner from the Hulk and then take control of the beast to seek vengeance upon Thor.
The battle sequences are striking to watch, and are quite magnetic in many ways, though at times it becomes overkill – too much, too fast, and with more attention paid to the battles than the characters or the plot. In a manner, this is fine, because that fundamentally is the intent – to pit these two characters against each other.
The animation is of a decent standard, and enjoyable to watch. The stylization and design of the characters takes heavy influence the comics, with a touch of Edward Norton influence on the look of Bruce Banner. I was also surprised to see Valkyrie in the flick, one of my favorite characters from the Marvel Universe. I also particularly liked the use of the original comic book versions of the characters used during the credits – a nice tip of the hat.
Distancing from the mysticism of Asgard, the second feature, Hulk vs. Wolverine, takes strong influence to Logan’s very first appearance in The Incredible Hulk #180 & #181 in 1974; though takes stock and inspiration from the contemporary X-Men in this updated re-adaptation of the epic confrontation – and also serves as a prequel for the Wolverine and the X-Men animated series.
After the Hulk stampedes his way across the US/Canadian border, and trashes a small town (which later turns out to have more impact than initially shown), Wolverine is deployed to track down the creature and, if necessary, kill him. The original comic source cites this period as being a time when Logan was working as an agent of the Canadian government, ostensibly (though highly debated by fans and followers) as a manipulative follow-up agenda of the Weapon X program.
Logan tracks down the Hulk to an isolated forest area of Canada, where he discovers that the Hulk is more than a match than he anticipates. Likewise, the Hulk finds Wolverine to be a surprising foe, with more sting than he expects. The resulting engagement is a surprisingly compelling viewing experience, with a stellar fight sequence that is bloodier and more broken-boned than I was expecting.
And then, out of fucking nowhere: Deadpool…
…who ensues to shoot the Hulk and Wolverine with tranquilizer bullets in their asses. Well, the Hulk gets shot in the ass at least.
From there, the story evolves into turning the memorable first experience of Hulk against Wolverine into an evolving story that sets the scene for the Wolverine and the X-men series.
The Hulk vs. Wolverine film is far superior to the Thor one. The plot is much more structured, and less reliant on fisticuff spectaculars. It certainly grabs your attention, and has inspired me to take on the new X-men animated series.
The animation quality is much more refined than the first feature, taking some influence from both your classic 1980’s Marvel cartoons with a dash of modern Marvel Animation style – …..aaaaand it’s a little more brutally inclined as well.
In other words, there is blood. And a lot of it.
As well as body parts (notably those belonging to Deadpool) flying around the screen… tasty! It’s more graphic than the previous feature, making it something for more mature viewers, but it adds to the charm of the release. Additionally, there’s a bit of depth to the Logan personality, Deadpool is a hell of a lot of fun, and the 40 minute animated feature is far superior to the abortive X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie.
There is a wonderful homage to one of my favorite television shows, Millennium, in this feature. When Logan uses his power of scent, he receives flashes of scenes through his mind, displayed to the viewer in a similar manner to when Frank Black gathers his insights in Millennium. I thought this was a particularly nice touch, and gave a deeper dimension to the character of Logan.
Compiled together, the two features of Hulk Vs. is a fun diversion from reality if you’re looking for something entertaining to watch over the weekend. The animated release takes influence from the animated Avengers films, and the later Wolverine and the X-men series, and while it is no Whedon Avengers Geek Out Fest, but it is worth a look, especially if you’re a Marvel fan.
P.S. Keep watching after the credits of the Wolverine feature. I’ll leave it at that so as to not spoil it for you.