Hulk smash! That's what Marvel fans expect from a movie entitled "Hulk vs. Wolverine," and if today's screening was any indication, they won't be disappointed. Due out on DVD in January of 2009, fans were allowed a first look at the film on Thursday at Comic-Con International in San Diego.
The movie begins with a pre-X-Men Wolverine recouping from a bout with the green monster. But before Logan can regain his full strength he is attacked again. We then flash back to before the two characters began their battle.
Bruce Banner's alter ego is causing destruction throughout Canada, so the government brings in their super tracker, Logan to follow the trail. But what Logan finds is a weak and distraught Bruce Banner. When Wolverine realizes that the scent he has been tracking belongs to Banner, he gets a bit physical with the doctor. Ignoring Banner's "Don't make me angry" request, things begin to get out of control.
The battle that ensues is everything fans want from a PG-13 film of this nature. The action is eye-popping, with plenty of blood and carnage. The two Marvel icons really go after each other in this initial battle, with Hulk at one point continuingly using his giant fists to smash Logan in the face, followed by Wolverine retaliating and stabbing him in the chest with his claws.
The fight however gets broken up when Wolverine's old team, Weapon X, come looking for the Hulk to use him as their new weapon. The crowd in the hall went wild when they saw which Marvel characters were included in the group - Sabretooth, Lady Deathstrike, Omega Red and fan-favorite Deadpool were all present. The audience really enjoyed the filmmakers' take on the Merc with a Mouth, as they played up the wisecracking aspects of the character.
After Weapon X takes down our two heroes and captures them, we are given a brief flashback to Wolverine's history with the team and how he got his adamantium claws. Audience members paying close attention noticed an interesting Easter egg when they saw another fan-favorite character, X-23, make a brief cameo. The gasp from the crowd at this point was overwhelming. Eventually Logan breaks free and must team up with the Hulk in order to stop his former colleagues. But once Weapon X is defeated their legendary battle continues on.
"These are the films that we should be making, and we're making them for you," exclaimed co-writer and supervising producer Craig Kyle after the screening. He went on to explain that if fans like what they saw and want to see Marvel making more PG-13 direct to DVD films, then they need to show their support. "You dictate what we do next. You need to support us and buy the movie to show us that you like it."
Kyle was joined on the panel by co-writer Christopher Yost, producer and supervising director Frank Paur and actor Fred Tatasciore who provides the voice of the Hulk in the film.
"The great thing about this project was that the only requirements were that Hulk had to be in it and Wolverine had to be in it, so we decided to make a big action movie", said Yost. "If you know Craig and my comic book work then you know that we like big action and this was a chance to really dive into these two characters."
Kyle went on to say that this is not the end of the Hulk vs. Wolverine battle and that we would see round two in the sixth episode of the upcoming "Wolverine and The X-Men" series.
"Hulk vs. Wolverine" will be joined by "Hulk vs. Thor" when the DVD is released next year. Yost spoke about the differences between the two films. "Hulk vs. Wolverine was fun because it was dark and gritty, like the characters it involves. It was an in your face, close fight. 'Hulk vs. Thor' is exactly the opposite; it's on a big, sweeping, grand scale. We really tried to capture the land of the gods and put the Hulk right in the middle of that."
The panel also announced that they are working on an adaptation of the popular "Planet Hulk" mini series. "This had me very schizophrenic. I was developing two shows about the Hulk at the same time," said Paur. "On the surface they may seem the same but they're not. They're two completely different types of stories that require completely different types of art direction. So that was a challenge but this one ("Hulk vs. Wolverine") was a lot of fun to do," continued the director.
"Fred's playing three different versions of the Hulk," mentioned Kyle. "In this movie he is the classic version of the character from the comics. In 'Hulk vs. Thor' he's more of a monster and in 'Next Avengers' he plays an old Hulk." Tatasciore demonstrated by giving the crowd a taste of all his different Hulk voices.
The panel ended with questions from the fans and a screening of the trailer for "Next Avengers."
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