And what a joy it was. You wouldn’t want to live there, but it’s certainly worth an hour and twenty minutes of your time. Planet Hulk is the newest animated feature from Marvel’s Direct-to-DVD line of animated films. There have been seven in total, and five have actually featured the Hulk – Ultimate Avengers 1 and 2, Hulk Vs., Next Avengers, and now Planet Hulk.
The last Marvel feature (which actually was Hulk Vs., I think) was fun, if uneven. Does the new feature, based on one of the most acclaimed Hulk stories of recent times, live up the the tale it adapts? Check out my review after the jump!
Planet Hulk is actually a pretty kickass Hulk tale. Though I didn’t read much of the comic from which it’s adapted, I hear great things. Still, I think not having a ton of familiarity with the source material might have actually helped my enjoyment of the title, as I think Planet Hulk the comic lasted over a year, which has been cut down to a 75 minute animated feature.
The story kicks off pretty much the same way, if a little rushed. Marvel’s Illuminati (except Professor X) make a super brief and shadowy appearance, launching the Hulk into space because he’s too smashy on Earth and they don’t like things getting smashy. Of course, what does Hulk do when he finds out they’re sending him to a nice planet where he can live the rest of his life in peace and harmony? He gets smashy! He messes up the guidance on the ship and lands on Sakaar, where he’s quickly captured and put to work entertaining crowds as a gladiator (like Spartacus!). As expected, he kicks ass, chews bubble gum, etc.
Again, I’m not familiar with the original comic, just it’s follow up World War Hulk, so if it wasn’t already obvious, I knew where the story was going. And it’s not hard to see it coming – still, whereas the story isn’t the strong suit of this movie, the animation and spectacle surely are. The fight sequences are FANTASTIC – when Hulk gets smashy, he smashes good, and things are appropriately bloody and explodey. The biggest fight of the film, featuring Hulk vs. Beta Ray Bill, is probably the single best piece of Marvel animation I’ve seen to date, and truly epic (especially the way it ends).
The only fault I have in the film is in The Hulk’s voice – I don’t know why, but whenever he talked too much, it bugged me. Either it wasn’t deep enough or something, but it just didn’t seem angry or loud enough for the green goliath. Still, it’s a small complaint in a really fun film that I highly recommend all fans of the character check out, whether you’ve read the original tale or not.