Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Hulk vs Wolverine and Thor
We finally watched this and it does not disappoint. Both of the segments are between 35 and 45 minutes, but they feel longer. We were expecting a couple of simple brawl-fests, but there's actually a lot more to them than that, including more fan pampering cameos than you could hope for. Both stories were written by Christopher Yost and Craig Kyle, the former writing team for the New X-Men comics, so we knew they were in good hands. And like their run on that book, Hulk Vs gets violent, sometimes shockingly so, especially in the Wolverine segment.
Logan is called in to hunt down The Hulk after the destruction of a small town in Canada. We think Wolverine is still working for Department H at this point, like he was in the comics, though it's possible he's just on loan from the X-Men. After a short slugfest, both Hulk and Logan are hit with tranquilizer darts by a squad of Weapon X soldiers. This cartoon plays loose and fast with the comic book mythology (Alcohol actually gets Logan drunk), so they pretty much put Logan's main villains all together as the Weapon X team whether they ever really were part of it or not. This works fine for us, since it allows Sabretooth, Omega Red, Lady Deathstrike, and DEADPOOL!!! to all guest star together. The 'Pool is less of the fourth-wall breaking manic nutcase he is in comics these days, and more of the smartass mercenary he was in his early appearances, but he does get a couple of good lines. ( Professor Thornton : "We've put a lot of time and effort into you, Logan." Deadpool : "And pointy things!")
The professor wants to brainwash The Hulk and Wolverine into weapons of war, cause that's kind of his whole 'thing', y'know. It's weird, actually, Thornton appears to the only non-combatant in the entire facility. Besides the X-Mercs and about a dozen guards for Logan to slice through, the whole place seems deserted. Maybe Logan killed all the other scientists the first time they brainwashed him into a war machine? We actually see him get a pretty good start on that in a flashback. The flashback also uses the iconic image of Logan getting pumped full of adamantium and sprouting random metal spikes all over his body, which is cool looking even if it doesn't make any sense. Hey, that should've happened to Deathstrike at the end of X2. That would've been sweet.The Hulk is more of a plot point in this segment than a full-fledged co-star. Logan of course gets free, and the next several minutes are him fighting the Weapon X guys and freeing a drugged up Bruce Banner. More clawing, then Bruce finally shakes off the groggies enough to hulk out and wrecks everybody's shit. The End.
Hulk Vs Wolverine loses points for not being named Wolverine Vs Sabretooth, Omega Red, Lady Deathstrike and DEADPOOL!!! (guest-starring The Incredible Hulk!), but it's still a hell of a lot of fun. The animation's a mixed bag...it's energetic and smooth, but some of the faces are really weird looking, and Logan's physique is just wonky. The voice work and sound were fine but nothing to write blog about (phrase: coined). It definitely earns it's PG-13 rating with some blood(which promptly disappears along with the wounds when the healing factors kick in) and a surprising amount of dismemberments, including a graphic but strangely bloodless one for the 'Pool. So watch it, but maybe not with small children. Or do watch it with them. Or let them watch it while you're out selling drugs all day and they have to fend for themselves. Shit's on your head, not ours.
Hulk vs Thor is more appropriate for the kiddies, unless you're some sort of religious zealot that rails against the existance of any belief systems besides yours (even the pretty much defunct ones), in which case you really need to chill your ass out. We cool? All right.
We're not quite as familiar with Thor lore as we are with Wolverine storytell-ine, so we're not sure if the set up for this one is comic-accurate or not. Odin, king of the gods, keeps it real all year long, but he has to stop for a nap each winter. During this time Asgard is vulnerable, so all the frost giants and trolls hurry right over to get their asses handed to them by Thor and company, year after year. This year, though, Thor's eeeevilllll step-brother Loki has a new trick up his sleeve. He magically extracts Bruce Banner from The Hulk and takes control of Ol' Jade Jaws himself, which leads to some really disturbing scenes of the Hulk smilling eeevilllyyyy and talking like a Bond villain. Holki makes unfortunately short work of this segment's awesome guest stars, The Warriors Three, who are in character but get shafted on screen time. Also, Volstagg's voice felt off.
The Hulk faceoff is more of the focus here (even if he is being remote controlled by Loki a lot of the time), and it's well done. Thor's hammer makes a metallic 'CLANG' when it hits Hulk's flesh, which sounds really painful while also demonstrating that the Hulk's tough as hell. The only letdown here was the music, which is typical cartoon fight music. I had to supply Led Zeppelin's Immigrant Song with my own mouth, which I think Justin really appreciated, even if he did think it was supposed to be the Rocky theme.
This next paragraph is pretty spoilery, so skip it if you care.
In a fairly awesome plot twist, Loki gets frustrated and kills the crap out of Bruce Banner. But then his hold on The Hulk gets broken and the 'embodiment of rage' beats Thor almost to death and turns his attention to Asgard and Odin himself, which is apparently further than Loki intended to go. This leads to the two step-brothers teaming up (in the loosest sense of the term) to retrieve Banner's soul from Hel, where we guess Asgardians go after death if they're not badass enough to make it into Valhalla. In a Buffy Season 6-like twist, Banner's actually finally at peace in the afterlife, and doesn't want to come back to his Hulk-haunted life again. We won't ruin the ending for you, but considering that either A. Bruce makes the sacrifice and gets the Hulk under control, or B. Mindless Hulk kills everyone and destroys Asgard, you can probably figure it out.
Hulk vs Thor was a fun romp that could have been better with more of The Warriors Three and an epic guitar riff that busts out everytime Thor summons lightening with his hammer and the power of heavy metal.
We do love Thor, but for certified X-Manchildren like us the Wolverine segment was more exciting. Your favorite of the two films will likely be decided the same way, since both are quite entertaining and well worth a watch.
Now here's some more pics of Thor being Totally Metal!!!