Off the heels of last years Hulk vs. animated movie from Lionsgate (who were kind enough to provide BSR with a review copy) comes the much anticipated Planet Hulk, a thrilling animated adaptation of the Gladiator-esque story arc that put The Incredible Hulk on the top of sales charts a few short years ago.

For those who who are unfamiliar, Planet Hulk begins with the Hulk, restrained in a ship bound for a young green world devoid of intelligent life courtesy of Tony Stark and friends who feel they are finally giving Bruce Banner what he’s always wanted. Solitude. None too pleased with the kiss off, Hulk proceeds to do what he does best and after smashing up the better part of the ship’s guts he finds himself on a new course to the savage planet of Sakarr.  Upon landing the Hulk finds himself enslaved as a gladiator play thing for a cruel Emperor along with a rag tag group of natives, soldiers and aliens like himself who are fighting for their freedom.

Planet Hulk provides a rare, almost “what if” scenario where the Hulk is not feared and reviled as an unchecked force of destruction but revered as a champion and savior.

Expertly rendered and ample fight scenes, along with a substantial cameo appearance by one of my favorite Marvel B-Listers (easily my favorite part of the movie) give the movie a brisk pace while still taking the time to develop scores of character’s that are completely new to the Marvel Universe, cramming but not cluttering the narrative with a balance of action and story.

As adaptations go, Planet Hulk demonstrates the if it’s not broken, don’t fix it storytelling model with flying colors, relying largely on the strength of the original vision while taking enough liberties to keep those of us who have read the comic on our toes.

The disk includes a glut of extras, many of which are to be expected but some that were pleasant surprises, namely issue 1 of  The Astonishing X-Men and Spider-Woman motion comics. Highly skeptical of the whole concept of motion comics (which are exactly what you imagine them to be) I gave both of them a watch. I wish I could sit here and tell you otherwise but I really dug them both and at $0.99 a pop on iTunes I could actually see myself getting into them.  I think the concept is really in the testing phase from a market perspective but so long as the price is right, I could see it taking off based on the strength of what I’ve seen so far.

All in all I’m excited to see how well Lionsgate is treating their Marvel properties and Planet Hulk is no exception, on par with their previous Hulk releases for sure.  I’m just crossing my fingers that they’ll continue this Hulk yarn into World War Hulk territory.

Planet Hulk is in stores today.
Planet Hulk (Two Disc Special Edition)
Planet Hulk [Blu-ray]
Planet Hulk

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Tags: Marvel , Reviews , Blu-ray