The Illuminati, a superhero cabal consisting of Iron Man, Mr. Fantastic, Doctor Strange, and Black Bolt, decide the Hulk is too dangerous and shoot him into space to live the rest of his life on an uninhabited planet. But the Hulk struggles and knocks the rocket off course, sending him through a wormhole to the planet Sakaar instead. Weakened from the trip, he is enslaved and forced to compete in gladiatorial games.
There’s nothing wrong with the story per se, it’s just not a faithful adaptation. And instead of pulling at your heart strings, it cuts them.
Iron Man’s assertion that the Hulk is too dangerous is laughable because he says it right after Hulk saves the world! At least that’s how it happened in the comic. The movie skips over any backstory and given the Hulk’s past, we’re left siding with Iron Man.
Not satisfied with making the Hulk an unsympathetic character, they’ve also managed to make him less heroic by removing scenes of self-sacrifice and replacing them with sappy symbolism. Originally the Hulk saved the people of Sakaar by letting alien parasites feed on him rather than his adoptive people. This time though Hulk saves Sakaar with his Miracle-Gro blood. Whenever he bleeds flowers magically sprout up! They’ve even worked this into the title screen, which is surrounded by green plants a la “The Smurfs.”
But what really makes me angry is that they turned what was an epic tragedy into a fairy tale. The whole point of Planet Hulk is supposed to be that the Hulk finally finds people who accept him only to lose them when the rocket that sent him there explodes and kills them. This brings about the biggest smack down ever when the Hulk returns to Earth for revenge in World War Hulk. But that sequel seems unlikely since there’s no explosion in the movie adaptation!
The Hulk has been so streamlined that he’s barely recognizable. It’s not just the lack of bulging veins, in both size and proportions he appears physically smaller. And despite being one of the Hulk’s smarter incarnations, he’s got an awfully dumb look on his face. In a failed attempted to make the Hulk look scarier, his trademark green eyes are now RED & YELLOW!?
The Hulk isn’t the only thing they’ve dumbed down. No longer do the natives refer to the Hulk primarily as Green Scar, after his face is cut in the arena. Apparently Marvel thought having multiple monikers would too confusing for the audience (What an “amazing” “sensational” “spectacular” failure!).
You’re doing yourself a disservice if watch this without reading the comic first. However, if you’re just looking for some good old fashioned “Hulk Smash” you won’t be disappointed. In fact, Planet Hulk is the most murderous Marvel (or DC) movie yet, which is probably why it’s “not rated.” Gladiators are dismembered & crushed, citizens are burned alive, even the biggest taboo of all is broken – killing kids! (Are you not entertained?)
There are numerous cameos in the arena. They aren’t exactly hidden but they do go by very fast.
- Pip the Troll & Gamora @ 11:45
- Starlord @ 16:02
- Grandmaster @ 17:19 (in shadows behind Red King)
- Skrull @ 19:56
- Adam Warlock @ 41:02
- Skrull @ 45:04