HULK (2003) Nostalgia Critic Review

Nostalgia Critic has done a humorous review of the Hulk movie from 2003. It is one of the first Marvel films made just before the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) came into being. It was the very film that brought the Hulk to my attention and set me down the path to being the super fan I am today. So it does have a place in my heart.

For it’s time I thought it was an amazing Hulk movie. But since then I now see the major issues with it. I think it simply had a poor directing choice for this film. Ang Lee is a great director. I just don’t think he was the one who should have helmed this project. Honestly I think this movie was very experimental and in many ways taught Marvel how NOT to make a superhero film. The film was too dramatic for people wanting a fun summer popcorn flick…and too much a popcorn flick for people who appreciated drama. It took itself too seriously.

Check out the review here and have a laugh. It’s been a long road to Ragnarok.

 

Get SMASHED!

(She) Hulk 2016 Series Review in Progress

c8bviw2wsaawrdnCivil War 2 recently created a lot of upheaval and consequences for the Marvel Universe. One of the most notable being the death of Bruce Banner (The Hulk). This has understandably deeply upset his cousin Jennifer Walter (She-Hulk).

This new series which premiered at the end of December in 2016 has felt pretty lukewarm to me. I admittedly have never read any of the older She-Hulk comics but I have seen her in other stories. If you are expecting smashing, quips and just general fun in these issues…then your better off going elsewhere.

The first few issues really dig into the realities of mental issues such as anxiety, fear, and PTSD. I can also see it resonating well with female readers. I honestly found the idea of Jennifer becoming so emotionally shattered, from the death of her cousin, that it would swing her into a full on RAGING HULK a refreshing concept. This was a great premise and the story in the first issues, subdued though they may be, created a real tension for the character. Unfortunately they drew it out for too long. It’s not until issue #6 that Jennifer actually “HULKS OUT”. All they keep doing is teasing it for five issues. The 6th issue released end of May 2017. For nearly half a year we readers have waited for her to actually DO SOMETHING while every cover has her Hulked out visage plastered all over the cover like some sort of broken promise. So by the time she actually did Hulk-Out it lost it’s impact cause we have seen it already.

That being said when she does change her form is hidden for the most part and is downright disappointing. She looks very little like she does on the covers (at least in issue #6). Issue #7 just released and I will read it to see if things improve.

I decided to follow this series because I was genuinely interested in the premise as I described. And with the original Hulk gone (for now) I needed to get my regular gamma dosage from somewhere else. So I decided to take a gamble with She-Hulk. Sadly though I have been more or less disappointed and frankly bored. But female fans may have a different opinion.

For me I will probably be abandoning She-Hulk soon. If you are like me you will have more fun with the recent issue of Old Man Logan #25 (and subsequent issues). Trust me THAT story is packed with gamma rage.

Are you reading this Hulk series? Let me know what you think.

Get SMASHED!

‘Hulk: Where Monsters Dwell’ Review

The Hulk’s latest animated outing falls flat, but makes up for it with character development that hints at the Hulk’s big screen future.

hulk-wheremonstersdwell-00

**Warning – slight spoilers ahead***

While we Hulk fans wait patiently for Thor:Ragnarok to hit theatres, we hoped to satisfy ourselves with this newest animated feature made under the Marvel/Disney umbrella. And in some ways it did, but mostly it showed how differently Disney is pulling the strings now.

Since the earliest reports this was being made I was put under the impression this film would be “more adult” and even had it compared to Batman’s ‘The Killing Joke’ animated film. The final product barely sneezed in that direction. This film could easily be described as a Halloween gimmick meant to promote both the new Dr.Strange film and keep kids interested in the Hulk until Ragnarok releases.

The animation was passable and the story was cliche. This basically felt like something that could fit into the Hulk and Agents of SMASH series. Which may be what they wanted. The Hulk in this is a chatterbox and seems more annoyed then angry most of the time. Strange reminded me of his character from the 90’s Hulk cartoon series, so no complaints there. The Howling Commandos were slightly interesting, but we received very little back story on them. The zombie guy was probably the creepiest (and I’m stretching that term) and is most likely the closest to a ‘mature theme’ in this story.

I won’t delve into the stories details; I found it boring for the most part. The main villain in this is Nightmare who offers very little to the plot.

Now I will give it credit where credit is due. At times the Hulk’s fighting scenes are fun to watch. I always enjoy seeing him smash things. But what caught my attention is how they are transitioning and changing the rules slightly on how Banner and Hulk work together. It seems Banner has control of Hulk and can change at will. Hulk is still no fan of Banner though. But near the end it does seem like the two are beginning to work as a team more. Also the stories ability to incorporate Banner into more of it hints at ways Marvel might utilize Mark Ruffalo on screen for future Hulk films.

This was obviously a film with influence from Disney, as previous animated films like ‘Planet Hulk’ or ‘Hulk Vs.’ were much, much better in my opinion.

My final thoughts are as follows. This film is great for kids and young children as a Halloween family film. For adults it is definitely lacking. I would recommend this as a rent not a buy (Which Marvel seems aware of since its only available for digital download at the time of this writing). This is a perfect film to watch while counting candy on Halloween night.

Get SMASHED!

 

The Fallen: Review (spoilers)

5787b1240ec18The Hulk is Dead. Bruce is Dead. Hawkeye is off the hook as people claim the murder to be “morally justified”. So what now? How do the friends and family of Hulk/Banner deal with this? Well these are just some of the questions answered in this one-shot issue titled ‘The Fallen’.

First off, I appreciate this is a one shot issue. I’m not a big fan of spin-off comics and prefer not to invest my money. But in this case I had too. I feel it handled the material it needed to within one issue. Any further details can be explored in other story arcs.

This comic basically handles the scenario I imagined should the Hulk be killed. There are those who are sad…and those who are happy. Obviously many people were affected by the damage brought by the Hulk. Their opinions are heard loud and clear. The most notable is General Ross. It becomes a father/daughter issue, but I think it only scratched the surface of how Betty and her Father should react. It’s a fairly quiet response.

The funeral is handled as expected, only the most devout friends show up. It was actually touching to see his Warbound in attendance. But the most surprising and heartfelt moment was the hearing of his Last Will and Testament. Banner leaves his friends, and the world, with the best gifts anyone in his position could give. Knowledge, money, restitution for the Hulk’s chaos, and, most importantly, a way to cope.

The Will and how it was handled was brilliantly written. It truly wanted to let Bruce’s life end on a high note. To begin to heal the wounds he had caused as the Hulk .

I hope this is not the last we see of Banner and Hulk, but if it is this a decent send off. Though I might have preferred if the Hulk died as the Hulk. The Hulk was born out of war. I would have liked it if he died creating peace. That would have been more poetic.

That being said this story clearly handles the death of Hulk from Bruce’s perspective. Meaning you never see the Hulk in this issue. Now I know he died in a previous issue, but I feel some visual reference to Hulk would have helped. Maybe a flashback sequence detailing the Hulk’s most heroic moments as well as Banner’s scientific contributions. But I do understand why they did it this way.

If you are a Hulk fan you should pick up this copy. I might even recommend you try finding the variant covers. This may be cash grab to sell issues, but in the story of the Hulk this is one worth reading and owning.

Totally Awesome HULK!! – NOT!!

So I took some time this past week to visit my local comic shop and take a closer look at Totally Awesome Hulk #1. And as I expected I found it hollow, derivative, and wholly nothing special. It was obviously written for a younger audience and by younger I mean teenage boys. So one could totally chalk up my distaste to simply being the old man here.

the-totally-awesome-hulk-01-02

I don’t recall most of the story except to recount Amadeus turning big and green, fighting a turtle monster on the beach, and hitting on a Mom and saving her kid. Oh and fist bumps. Basically imagine if Spiderman and the Hulk had a child…it would be this Hulk. Marvel seems to be trying to turn the Hulk into another Spiderman. A young snarky kid with superpowers. My only passing interest was to find out what happened to Bruce Banner which is hinted at near the end of the book…and though it only last a page or two…it was easily my favorite part. The art was darker, the dialogue more serious…and of course it was the real Hulk.

I have no complaints about the writing itself or the art itself. As a stand alone it was a fine comic. It just wasn’t a good Hulk comic. So as I expected, I put it back on the shelf and left the store. Which is a shame…I was hoping it would change my mind and make me buy it.

On the brighter side…I have time to read the older stories I missed or the ones I already have.

The Avengers: Age of Ultron SMASHING Review

So the new Avengers movie is out in theaters. People have been waiting with bated breath for three years and what are they saying about it? Well its a mix of “WOW!!” and “Pretty Good”. The movie was a wild ride and for most it was enjoyable. However, it didn’t quite hold onto the magic of the first one. Since there are so many reviews of the movie already out there I will not add to the bulk with another. My review is specific to one detail, a big detail…Hulk.

**SPOILER ALERT** you have been warned…

Hulk in this film definitely had more screen time and for the first time in cinema history he actually appeared on screen within the first ten minutes of the film. In all previous Hulk films one would need to wait at least 30-45 minutes before seeing any green skin (the credit sequence at the beginning of Norton’s Hulk doesn’t count). So this was a pleasant surprise. Though his time on screen was still considerably less then all the other Avengers (Tony Stark still in the lead) it was a vast improvement from the first. Though of course being as this is the only time I get to see Hulk on screen I wanted more. Most Hulk appearances happen so quickly you barely have time to absorb all the details of the performance and the grandeur that is Hulk. This film actually gave a few special moments where you could actually take in the performance and not worry about blinking.

The performance of Hulk was also improved. Andy Serkis (Lord of the Rings, King Kong, and Planet of the Apes) assisted Ruffalo with his mo-cap performance. For a couple of scenes I could see a bit more “ape” in the acting, most likely a carry over from Andy’s previous work. Hulk was more primitive, more scary, and of course more angry. But there was also a tenderness given, especially in the scenes with Black Widow.

Now most people have complained about this ham fisted attempt at romance between Black Widow and Hulk. And for the most part I tend to agree…it totally appeared out of nowhere and really didn’t lead anywhere. It was more a plot convenience then anything. It gave a mechanic for easily calming Hulk back into Bruce whenever needed. Hulk has always had a weakness for the ladies. Also it did help bring out the pain/suffering of both these characters and assisted in exploring their characters depth. Banner was definitely shown grappling with his own personal demons, in this case a big green one. Widow also opened up emotionally in response.  This was good for the Hulk/Banner in the sense it reflected the comics and the turmoil between the two. However, it kind of sapped the fun out of the Hulk. The Hulk was fun in the first film. Though attempts were made in this second film, I don’t think anything topped that “Puny god” moment.

The Hulkbuster scene definitely was a wild ride for the Hulk and easily the most epic Hulk battle on screen with the Abomination battle a close second. I am also happy they decided to keep him green for the sake of the audience and fans. Though rumor is he was going to be grey for that scene…it would have not added much to the Hulk on-screen. The true grey hulk was a bit smarter and could even talk a bunch. So unless this grey version was going to live up to its roots, it’s better he stayed green. My only other gripe with the scene is once again the prevalence of Iron Man dominating screen time during the fight. Tony Stark and his weapons took up most of the scenes with Hulk peppered seemingly in-between. Also I plainly do not agree or believe a punch from the Hulkbuster would have knocked the Hulk out cold. I more easily would have accepted him being drugged or maybe running off, after seeing the destruction he caused, and reverting to Banner somewhere quiet.

And finally we reach the end…the Hulk flying away into hiding. Many think the jet took him into space. However, the jet was supposedly reported to have crashed in the ocean. The evidence supports Hulk is still on Earth and in hiding on a tropical island. My dreams for a Planet Hulk movie have been continually dashed upon the rocks of Hollywood. I cannot see a studio picking up the tab on such a film and be expected to do the comic justice. I will cling to the hope of it happening someday…but not anytime soon. Hulk is most likely on Earth and he’s hiding (though with Marvel anything can happen). What will bring him back? The Civil War? Ruffalo is supposedly slated to be in the film. Will Banner/Hulk accept registration or oppose it? But then again Hulk was never part of Civil War in the comics. Could he team up with the Guardians? Or will he remain hidden until Thanos comes calling? I hope we see Hulk again long before Thanos shows up. But if that’s the way it has to be…Hulk better put a green fist into that Mad Titan’s purple jaw.