Two heroes duking it out with one another, usually over a misunderstanding of some type, is pretty standard comic fare. Fans have long since wished to see some of the most heroic clashes brought to life and, in 2009, Marvel Animation did just that with Hulk Versus, pitting the Jade Giant against two of Marvel’s biggest characters, Wolverine and Thor. These two short movies, which together compromised Hulk Versus, were well-received across the board. Each were their own beast, both presenting standalone stories of the Hulk tackling renowned Marvel characters. Now, with the live-action Thor around the corner, Lionsgate Home Entertainment is releasing one of them, Hulk Versus Thor, as its own single-disc DVD release.
With the forces protecting Asgard at their weakest, Loki the trickster seizes the opportunity to destroy his cursed stepbrother, Thor, once and for all. In an epic battle that pits god against monster, the Mighty Thor is forced to clash with the only creature that has ever been able to match his strength – the Incredible Hulk! Prepare for a battle of epic proportions with Hulk Versus Thor!
Fans of Thor may find themselves torn by this 45 minute movie. Thor takes an enormous amount of punishment in this movie, but he does it for a reason. A reason that some viewers may not realize right away, which I won’t spoil here. The plot is pretty basic, though surprisingly steeped in Thor’s mythology (considering Hulk is the headliner in the title, he’s more like a guest-star in the actual feature). Loki has brought the Hulk to Asgard in order to take over the kingdom. After separating Banner from the Hulk, Loki soon finds himself unable to control the beast, resulting in Thor and Loki teaming up to save Asgard from total destruction at the hands of that green beast. While the plot may be simple, the movie brings a majestic feel to the story, helping elevate it above such simple trappings.
Additionally, we get to see a great amount of Thor’s supporting characters, some who are given smaller roles than others, of course, but still, each one gets a moment or two to shine. Thor himself is given the largest role in the movie, more so than even the top-billed Hulk, and he’s handled quite well for the character. Again, others may find fault with how the Hulk really does take Thor to the cleaners, but I thought it worked in building the suspense in the story. And given the surroundings, it’s a story that’s really easy to get totally engaged in. Maybe it was the fantastical nature of the setting, but Hulk Versus Thor will really suck the viewer right in. We have this great new world that I find is utilized quite nicely.he designs are stylized, but they also carry a sense of the fantastic to them. The movie definitely keeps the designs true to their comic roots, giving us classic versions of some of the most beloved costumes in the Marvel Universe.
Before I go any further, I just want to make specific note of a few things. In terms of the cast, Fred Tatasciore is great as the Hulk, providing just the right amount of ferocity to the role, one he’s reprising from previous Marvel Animated Features. Matthew Wolf as Thor, brings noticeable weight and gravitas to the respective roles, making it all the more easier to believe this fantastical world he inhabits. The score by Guy Michelmore also deserves a special mention. Michelmore manages to ups his game considerably with each movie he composes, and his excellent work here is no exception.
If I have any major criticism, it seems that Hulk acts mostly as a plot point for the movie. It’s because of Hulk that Thor has to go to Hell itself to try and save Asgard. Hulk is simply a pawn here, but I suppose that is one of the most logical way to throw the Hulk into a world where we wouldn’t usually see him. On the other hand, I like that this movie actually had the nerve to toss the viewer into the middle of a story. When we first see Bruce Banner in Hulk Versus Thor, he’s already been captured by Loki. Sure, the movie gives enough exposition to keep the viewers up to speed, especially those who may be new to the Marvel Universe, but it’s a nice trick to throw us into the thick of things.
While Hulk Versus Thor may not be perfect, it will definitely please fans and newcomers, plus it still holds up as its own adventure. Those coming off the live-action Thor movie will likely get a rise out of this animated brawl. If you’re looking for a kick-ass comic movie, you got it here! The visuals are eye-popping and exciting, the characters engaging and the story is a genuine “how will they get out of this?” kinda ride. It’s a no-brainer to check off Hulk Versus Thor as Recommended.
Lionsgate Home Entertainment, and Maple Pictures in Canada, has released this Hulk Versus Thor DVD as a very obvious and very deliberate cash-in for the upcoming live-action Thor movie, an easy impulse buy at a very affordable price. It’s a no-frills package. No fancy packaging or inserts of any kind. Just the disc. Click here to view media from this release.
The bonus content for this disc is identical to what was released on the original Hulk Versus: Two-Disc Special Edition DVD release from 2009. We get an audio commentary with Craig Kyle and Chris Yost, an audio commentary with Frank Paur, Sam Liu and James Peters, a “Of Gods and Monsters: The Making of Hulk Versus Thor featurette, a “Jack Kirby + Thor” featurette, a First Look – Thor: Tales of Asgard featurette, and a collection of trailers. The only real new content are a few new trailers for recent and upcoming Lionsgate releases.
The commentary by Kyle and Yost is enthusiastic and informative, basically covering the same ground as the other commentary. However, they reveal an interest fact about the opening credits for Hulk Versus Thor that really adds to the movie and talk about some neat deleted concepts. The second audio commentary with Paur, Sam Liu and James Peters basically covers how they approached this story and what they wanted to convey in their style to make the movie feel as epic as the characters themselves. The “Of Gods and Monsters: The Making of Hulk Versus Thor featurette is your standard EPK featurette, covering the basics on the creation of Hulk Versus Thor. The “Jack Kirby + Thor” featurette pays tribute to Kirby and covers the influence of the famed artist on the project and how they tried to stay true to what Kirby created. After that the “First Look – Thor: Tales of Asgard” featurette gives us our first look at the next (and last) Marvel Animated Feature, hitting shelves next month, starring a young Thor exploring the world of Asgard and covering the character’s origin.
All in all, a great selection of bonus materials, but nothing we haven’t seen before. And, much like the original Hulk Versus DVD release, the animation quality is very high and it looks really nice on a standard-definition transfer. The colors look solid and everything looks smashing. The audio track, as you can expect, sounds excellent in 5.1 Dolby Digital, with everything coming out crisp and clear. A really solid audio and video transfer.
So, can I recommend this release? Well, it’s kind-of hard to. While Hulk Versus Thor can be picked up for as little as $6, the original Hulk Versus DVD release, with both Hulk Versus Thor and Hulk Versus Wolverine, can be swooped up for between $5 – 10 dollars. The only way I could recommend this release is if you really, really can’t stand or care for Wolverine, or are coming out of Thor and just want to see more of the Norse God in action. That’s it, really. To everyone else, you can easily Skip It. Besides, for a few dollars more, the original Hulk Versus Blu-ray release is still readily available for around $10.
Hulk Versus Thor is now available on DVD home video.