Marvel doesn’t produce animated movies as often and as well as DC. They don’t really need to, since they’ve been winning when it comes to producing theatrical films, which is a more significant front. But I’ve always wished they would also start exerting serious effort in making great direct-to-video animated films as well, minuscule the profit may be when compared to blockbusters.
Their latest offering, Hulk: Where Monsters Dwell, is unfortunately not the breakthrough that I’ve been waiting for. In the four DC animated movies released this year, I actually only love one, but I like them all over Hulk: Where Monsters Dwell.
The movie sees Doctor Stranger recruiting the Hulk and S.H.I.E.L.D.’s paranormal containment unit (or the recent S.T.A.K.E. monster squad version of the “Howling Commandos” in the comics) – consisting of the zombie version of Jasper Sitwell, Nina Price a.k.a. Vampire by Night, Man-Thing, and Warwolf – to save teens that have been turned into monsters and to stop Nightmare, the ruler of the Dream Dimension, from invading the world.
Set on Halloween, and obviously intended to tie up to the season, the movie follows the diagram of a very sequential, safe “Halloween special” production. The storyline is generally predictable. And though its characters are peculiar and make an unlikely teamup, the plot doesn’t boldly reach for something unconventional or explore deeper themes.
That said, this movie is not devoid of fun. It’s entertaining enough. It works as a “Halloween special” superhero movie that kids will surely enjoy – and they’re obviously the intended audience anyway. And to be honest, coming into this movie, I never really expected it to be otherwise. Still, I wish I had been surprised to find out how thoughtful and thrilling it turned out being, for that would mean Marvel is finally ready to take on DC in the animation front.