The Marvel animated feature line is continuously growing as it explores the massive universe launched by the mind of Stan Lee. The more popular characters like Wolverine, Iron Man, and the Avengers have seen releases, though others such as Dr. Strange have gotten their fair shot as well. Many of these features are retellings of origins or adventures already put into print, and it's along those lines that their latest film draws its inspiration.
Planet Hulk is an animated retelling of the popular storyline from the Hulk's comic, which was also later turned into a successful graphic novel. For the most part it's pretty faithful to the original storyline and both newcomers and fans of the Hulk alike will be able to appreciate it. For this direct to video title, Lionsgate has opted for both standard definition DVD and Blu-ray disc releases. Before we get into the technical bits, let's talk about what Planet Hulk is all about.
The film opens rather abruptly with Hulk being launched into space by Iron Man and the other heroes. Basically he's just too darned uncontrollable and powerful for his own good and they officially kicked him off Earth. His new home is to be a lush, vegetated planet with plenty of game and nobody to hurt, so he can live out his days in peace not bothered by anyone; at least that "was" the plan. Things change, however, when Hulk breaks free from his shackles and smashes the spaceship, altering the plotted course into a wormhole and launching him to another part of the galaxy.
The event spits Hulk out onto a remote planet called Sakaar. He finds himself weakened by the journey and overpowered easily by the troops of a tyrant known as the Red King. Soon enough Hulk becomes a gladiator fighting for his life in an arena for sport along with some other local aliens. It's clear he's no ordinary combatant and naturally the big green machine puts on quite the show for the spectators and the king himself. He joins a brotherhood with the other gladiators, but for the most part he's really just out for himself.
Eventually it comes to bear that Hulk may just be the hero of prophecy who will either save the populace and restore the beauty of their world, or destroy it. Does he want to deal with that though? Wouldn't Hulk just prefer to beat the crap out of something? The way the film works in this storyline is handled perfectly. It's nicely balanced and the progression is paced so the pieces come together smoothly. It can feel a little heavy-handed at times, but overall it was nicely implemented.