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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Hulk Vs

Here we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin, where I watch and ramble about one of the movies I own.  This time out, we get into one of the direct-to-DVD animated films that were popular around 10 years ago, with Hulk Vs.  This shows up in my notes at February 8, 2015.

In this little ol' blog, I've always wondered if I'd go back and re-visit some of the straight-to-DVD animated films I've picked up, as I'm usually pretty quick to blog a review of them as soon as I watch them.  But I caught a bit of Hulk Vs. on TV the other night, and that encouraged me to pop in the DVD and re-watch it from the beginning.  After re-watching Hulk Vs., I figured, "Why not?"

In the mid-2000s, "original DVD content" became one of Hollywood's big buzzwords, and that's when we had a surge of straight-to-DVD sequels to a bunch of your favourite movies.  Of course, comic book companies jumped on board by producing straight-to-DVD animated films of many of their beloved characters.  The benchmark was set by Warner Bros. and DC Comics, who are pumping out straight-to-DVD films starring Superman, Batman, and the Justice League to this very day.  There were a couple of very good Hellboy films produced, utilizing a lot of the same talent that worked on the live-action films.  And, of course, Marvel got into the action signing a deal with Lionsgate to co-produce several straight-to-DVD films featuring the Marvel characters.

The Marvel/Lionsgate films never really grabbed my attention.  While most other straight-to-DVD productions sought to have animation of a bit bigger quality than Saturday morning, the Marvel/Lionsgate films always seemed a little low-budget.  That, coupled with mixed reviews online, always made me pass them over.  Or maybe it's because I've always been more of a DC guy at heart.  Regardless, positive reviews, and clips online showcasing a higher quality animation, made me think Hulk Vs. might be worth my time and money, so I snatched it up when it came out in 2009. 

On a side note, I'd kind of like to see Marvel resurrect these films, now that they're owned by Disney.  It'd be curious to see one with the full might and power of Disney animation behind it.

Hulk Vs is really a series of two short films.  The first one is Hulk vs. Wolverine, taking it's cues from The Incredible Hulk #181, which unleashed Wolverine on the world.  When a mysterious force lays waste to a small Rocky Mountain town just a stone's throw from the American border, Canadian intelligence suspects the Hulk has wandered into Canada.  Department H (the shadowy branch of the Canadian Armed Forces that utilizes superheroes...think Canada's answer to SHIELD) dispatches Wolverine to investigate, with orders to neutralize the Hulk at any cost. 

Wolverine soon finds the Hulk, and the two slug it out, but they're soon interrupted by Wolverine's old strike force Team X, the other creations of the Weapon X project.  Turns out they staged the attack in an attempt to capture the Hulk, and unlock his secrets for a new Weapon X program.  Before long, Wolverine and the Hulk are joining forces to stop Team X and bring an end to Weapon X once and for all.

I should also mention that Team X is tweaked to become more like Wolverine's Sinister Six...Wolverine's deadliest foes teaming up to end Wolverine once and for all.  Our line-up is Sabertooth, Deadpool, Lady Deathstrike, and Omega Red. 

The second of our shorts is Hulk vs. Thor, and as the creators say on the featurette, it should really be Hulk vs. All of Asgard.  It's that time in Asgard known as the Odinsleep...Odin enters his hibernation to rejuvenate his abilities, leaving Asgard vulnerable to attack.  All of the forces of darkness mount an assault on Asgard to try to claim the throne.  It's up to Thor to lead Asgard's defense.

In all the realms, Loki knows of only one being who's been able to best his brother Thor in battle:  the Hulk.  Loki spirits Bruce Banner to Asgard, and uses sorcery to separate Bruce Banner and the Hulk into two separate beings.  Loki then takes control of the Hulk, and mounts an assault on Asgard.  Loki/Hulk and Thor throw down, but the Hulk's rage is too much for even Loki's magic to control, and soon Thor and Loki are forced to team up before a mindless, rampaging Hulk lays waste to all of Asgard and brings about Ragnarok. 

Hulk really is the daikaiju of the Marvel universe.  Who cares about the plot?  The fun is in seeing him fight, and we get some massive Hulk battles in spades in these one.  Seeing Wolverine and Hulk duke it out is spectacular.  As I said, being more of a DC guy, I never knew that Hulk/Wolverine battles were a big thing, but Wolverine's healing factor makes him more of a match for the Hulk, and watching them slug it out is spectacular. 

Sadly, we don't get much of a Hulk/Thor battle.  Thinking Bruce Banner's mind is still within the Hulk, Thor spends too much time trying to reason with Hulk before realizing Loki's in control, and as such, Loki/Hulk gets the upper hand pretty quickly.  But still, it's great seeing the Hulk pretty much battle every great warrior and beast in Norse mythology. 

Some pretty good voice acting in this one, too.  Nolan North becomes the first one to give voice to Deadpool, and he nails it.  He is just so freakin' hilarious as Deadpool.  And over in Asgard, Grey DeLisle really brings the sexy as Thor's beloved, the Lady Sif. 

There's not much plot to them, but if you're just in the mood to see some superheroes duke it out, this is a fun one. 

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