Review: Hulk Vs Wolverine / Cert: 12 / Director: Frank Pauer / Screenplay: Christopher Vost / Starring: Fred Tetasciore, Steve Blum, Nolan North / Release Date: July 8th
Marvel Studios may have DC Comics licked when it comes to their live action blockbusters but they have seriously lagged behind them in the direct-to-DVD animation market. Marvel have tried, with the first two Ultimate Avengers movies being fairly decent, but mostly the animation and storytelling has never risen above the Saturday morning cartoon standard, never reaching the heights of The Dark Knight Returns or All Star Superman. The latest is Hulk vs. Wolverine, which is cribbed from an earlier release which also included a short of Hulk vs. Thor.
This release finds everyone’s favourite angry mutant, Wolverine, despatched to the Canadian wilderness by the government to get the Hulk under control after his latest rampage. Once there the two of them fight of course, but then they come across evil/misguided mutants Sabretooth, Omega Red, Lady Deathstrike and Deadpool and are captured. In captivity, Wolverine learns that they are to be part of a revived Weapon X experimental programme and that the programme has been specifically after Hulk and Wolverine has been used. Wolverine isn’t very happy about this obviously.
Unlike some other Marvel animation efforts, this actually looks quite good and stylised. It’s still not up to the standard of DC but it’s a start. What is surprising about this release is how brutal it is. Wolverine goes to town on Hulk with his claws, drawing blood. Limbs are hacked off, bones are broken and Hulk pounds Wolverine into pulp. With this aspect being taken seriously, it’s disappointing that they didn’t pay as much attention to the story. Nothing wrong with it, but the fact is that it’s so short and so inconsequential that it barely registers. It’s good to see Deadpool in animated form and the possibilities of exploring this character and his specific quirks are mind boggling, but apart from one scene though they don’t do much of anything with him. The flashbacks to Wolverine’s past are welcome moments of character development but the whole thing is so slight that none of it seems to matter.
Marvel has tons of opportunity with their animated universe but so far they don’t seem to understand its potential. They keep timing these releases to coincide with the release of the latest Marvel based movie and think that will be enough. Hulk vs. Wolverine is a prime example of this, being a short with masses of scope for a more substantial feature but never becoming more than something fan-made you might find on the internet. This release is really only for those who really really have to, otherwise the full Hulk Vs. set (with Thor) is still available on DVD at the moment.
Extras: Audio Commentary / Making Of