The Hulk is trapped in a space shuttle and shot off into space. The Illuminati, which is made up of a small band of superheroes consisting of Mr. Fantastic, Black Bolt, Ironman, and Dr. Strange, decide that the Hulk is too dangerous to remain on Earth. They pick out a planet with no intelligent life with vegetation and livestock, and hope he can finally live in peace. The shuttle instead goes through a wormhole, and he ends up on a violent planet called Sakaar which is ran by a tyrannical monarch named the Red King. The Hulk is soon defeated and sold into slavery. -summary
I have to be honest and admit that I actually had high hopes for this adaptation of the Planet Hulk storyline, which is based on the graphic novel written by Greg Pak. For quite some time now, many comic book to animated movies have surprised me with their faithfulness to the original source material. I know it's impossible to cram so much into a short feature, and when this occurs usually something is lost and it's almost always character and story development. Surprisingly, Planet Hulk released in 2010 and directed by Sam Liu, doesn't lose much to a crippling degree if you read the book, and if you didn't read the book, there's still more than enough information provided to make the movie enjoyable. Further more, the brutal action scenes can also appeal to those searching solely for that.
Sam Liu continues to impress me, and I enjoyed his earlier works Superman/Batman: Public Enemies and Hulk vs. movie. Planet Hulk was a very complex story that could have easily been made into a 13 episode series. I commend Liu for being able to condense the story into movie length, and still get the main point across. Even though this is a Hulk movie, and he's always smashing things, he's still very well developed at the very least into more than a destructive brute, and the movie doesn't come off as a mere beat'em up.
The Hulk's pain can be felt, and he goes through a journey trying to find himself, but this is one battle he can never win alone, and this is where the side characters all come into play. Hulk is very reluctant on trusting anyone, since the very ones he trusted are the ones responsible for shooting him into space. Those who are around him do get to know him, and I enjoyed how this was implemented into the storyline, as well as its conclusion. Hulk realizes that he is a monster, however, he also learns that he is a hero, and he finds this new role hard to embrace. He's finally being accepted and there are those who look up to him for leadership, strength, and courage. Sam Liu did a wonderful job maintaining the very essence of what made Planet Hulk into the great story that it was.
For the comic purist out there, yes, there were changes made and the character development in regards to the Warbound is not completely intact, as well as other story elements being completely changed. I didn't have a problem with it, since several other things were worked out well. I recommend coming into this with an opened mind and completely ignoring the original source material.
The animation flows very well during the battle segments, in which, there are several. They are very brutal with some deaths here and there, with lots of weapon and fist play. The backgrounds also capture that feel of the book, and some moments tell the tale of the world. The only problem I had was in the character designs. For some reason, I just can't get into Marvel's art style. It just has this rather bland appeal to me.
Overall, Plant Hulk surprised me, and I find it to be one of the better Marvel movies. Now as a fan of the Planet Hulk storyline, I think Sam Liu did a very good job bringing it to animation. I think most fans will get into it, casual fans will also enjoy it. However, I kind of think the violence isn't quite appropriate for young children. There's quite a bit of onscreen death and blood. So I think parents should be aware of this. The movie is 81 minutes.
Pros: -Newbie friendly, maintains essence of the book, action, and animation
I wasn't a fan of this version of Hulk. I much preferred the bruiser of Hulk VS who was just so powerful, so unstoppable, so unbelievable strong that he could beat a God to near death and still have the strength to battle the entire host of Asgard by himself. This Hulk was just so much weaker then the one in those films, and never reached that level of power.
I have to admit that while I’ve loved almost everything that Bruce Timm and company have done with the DC Universe in animation throughout the years, I have always felt that with a few exceptions, Marvel has never been successful at making the transition of the depth and richness of their books into animated form. I toured their entire MLG (Marvel & Lion’s Gate) library and came away feeling like while the animation was nice and the vocal talent pretty deep, the … more