So many men started out as young boys who dreamt of being heroes… super heroes. Marvel knows it’s target audience but, seemingly in an effort to push the envelope, they seem to miss the mark with too little story and too much violence.
The first of the DVDs is Hulk Vs. Wolverine. Inspired by the very first appearance Wolverine ever made (The Incredible Hulk issue number 180, released in 1974) the story takes place in a Yukon wilderness where Hulk appears to have gone on a crazed rampage. “Department H” calls in Wolverine to help stop him. Unfortunately for everyone involved, some of Wolverine’s past, namely the villains from the Weapon X project that bonded the adamantium to his skeleton and tried to turn him into a weapon, show up and capture both Wolverine and Hulk. One would be bad but both, together, turn out to be downright disastrous.
On the second of the two DVDs, Hulk Vs. Thor, Loki, the Viking god of mischief and mayhem and Thor’s evil brother, somehow brings the Hulk to Asgard, the home of the mythical Viking gods. Asgard, normally guarded by the all-father, Odin, is left vulnerable each winter while Odin sleeps. Odin is protected by Thor, the god of lightning and thunder. Loki’s plan is to use the Hulk, the only creature to ever match Thor’s might, to kill his brother. However, Loki’s control over the Hulk is lost and Hulk heads straight for Odin’s tower. Without Odin, Asgard would fall forever and the dreaded “Age of Ragnarok” would be unleashed.
Anyone who followed any of the three comics these stories are pulled from, Thor, Hulk and X-Men, will immediately recognize the incredibly familiar themes. Bruce Banner shows up, occasionally, to whine about how tortured his life is with the Hulk raging around inside of him. No one around him seems to care how badly it tortures Dr. Banner knowing what horrible destruction the Hulk causes.
In the comic books, especially thirty years ago, most of the super heroes lived isolated lives. They were one of a kind in a world that didn’t understand or accept them, especially the Hulk. Dr. Banner was a pioneer, he was a genius whose powerful creation, the gamma bomb, ironically became the method through which he unleashed the ultimate in human destruction. Bruce Banner was forced to run from the rage and destruction that his out of control anger caused. It was an intelligent commentary on the kind of destruction that rage, in any form, could cause. Bruce was tortured, sure, but he sure wasn’t a sniveling weakling. His nearly super human self-control and his heart were the only thing keeping the fury of the Hulk in check. He wasn’t a coward. Unfortunately, that’s exactly how he’s portrayed in both of these movies.
Playing against Bruce Banner’s wimpy ineptitude is Wolverine’s cavalier callousness and Thor’s sappy, romantic honor. In both movies, expect Hulk to beat the other two within an inch of their lives, almost literally. There has to be some tension to the story, right? It just doesn’t make up for the hackneyed dialogue and unreasonable gore. Marvel understands that bringing it’s characters to movies, even thirty minute ones, can be a chance for them to engage in themes that wouldn’t be appropriate for the printed page. More adult, more mature and more enticing storylines are possible. Unfortunately, what they offer is just unbridled carnage. Sure, thirteen year old boys may revel in it. The adults in the crowd are probably just going to cringe while they wait for something original in the story that will never appear.
Frank Paur (director) / Craig Kyle, Christopher Yost (screenplay)
CAST: Mark Acheson … Sabretooth (voice)
Steve Blum … Wolverine (voice) (as Steven Blum)
Jamyle Jared … Lady Deathstrike (voice)
Bryce Johnson … Bruce Banner (voice)
Tom Kane … Abraham Cornelius
Graham McTavish … Loki (voice)
Colin Murdock … Omega Red (voice)
Nolan North … Deadpool (voice)
Fred Tatasciore … Hulk (voice)
Matthew Wolf … Thor (voice)