Hulk vs. Wolverine, 2009.
Directed by Frank Paur.
Featuring the voice talents of Fred Tatasciore, Steve Blum, Bryce Johnson, Nolan North, Mark Acheson, Janyse Jaud, Colin Murdock and Tom Kane.
Despatched into the Canadian wilderness to stop The Hulk’s latest rampage, Wolverine is captured by Weapon X, who plan to erase Bruce Banner’s memory and turn his monsterous alter-ego into an unstoppable weapon…
Despite the fact that Marvel are head and shoulders above DC when it comes to live-action movies, they’ve never quite managed to match the quality of their comic book rivals when it comes to the realm of animation. Still, there are a few hidden gems tucked away, such as Lionsgate’s superb animated short Hulk vs. Wolverine, which may just be Marvel Animation’s finest hour. Originally arriving direct-to-DVD back in 2009 as part of the double-feature Hulk Vs. (where it was joined by the weaker Hulk vs. Thor), Hulk vs. Wolverine is now receiving a solo re-release, presumably timed to coincide with Hugh Jackman’s latest live-action outing in The Wolverine, not to mention the increased popularity of the Green Goliath after his show-stealing turn in last year’s The Avengers.
With The Incredible Hulk tearing through the Canadian wilderness, Department H task Wolverine with tracking the beast and putting an end to his latest rampage. Stumbling upon Bruce Banner, Logan begins his interrogation, but of course his methods only serve to enrage the scientist and soon he’s transformed into his alter-ego, leading to a brutal showdown between the two heroes. However, the brawl is interrupted by Logan’s former colleagues at Weapon X (Deadpool, Sabretooth, Omega Red and Lady Deathstrike), who tranquilize the two combatants and take them to a secret facility where Professor Thornton plans bring Wolverine back into the fold, as well as weaponising The Hulk for his own dasterdly ends.
Wolverine and The Hulk have had some notable showdowns in Marvel’s comic book continuity, and this animated feature makes fantastic use of its source material to deliver a brutal, bloody smackdown between the two Marvel heroes. However, the title Hulk vs. Wolverine is a little misleading given that the main bulk of the plot here concerns Weapon X, but in now way should that be taken as a criticism. It seems a prerequisite for any Wolverine feature to detail his Weapon X origins, and that’s no exception in Hulk vs. Wolverine; we’ve seen the whole adamantum-bonding process countless times, but it’s handled exceptionally well here, while Team X make for memorable bad guys, Deadpool in particular.
Unlike X-Men: The Animated Series and Wolverine and the X-Men, the producers of Hulk vs. Wolverine aren’t restricted by the constraints of Saturday morning cartoons, which means we get to see just how damaging a pair of adamantium claws really can be as blood flows freely and limbs (and parts of limbs) fly through the air. It’s pretty brutal stuff and the 12 certificate is fully justified, but I can’t imagine too many kids complaining, especially when the film is virtually non-stop action for the entire 37 minute running time.
As I said at the start of this review, Hulk vs. Wolverine is Marvel Animation at its very best, and is sure to entertain fans of both characters. The voice cast are exceptional through-out, the animation is top-notch, and there’s just the right mix of action and humour to keep you entertained from start to finish. If I had one criticism, it’s that you can still pick up the complete Hulk Vs. for less than the price of this single release, but however you get your hands on it, this is definitely one you want to have in your collection.
Flickering Myth Rating - Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★
Gary Collinson is a writer and lecturer from the North East of England. He is the editor-in-chief of FlickeringMyth.com and the author of Holy Franchise, Batman! Bringing the Caped Crusader to the Screen.