Judge Clark Douglas is the 5425th-best at what he does.
Move along, bub.
There's little I can say about this release that I haven't said in my recent reviews of Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk and Iron Man and Hulk: Heroes United, but I suppose my main complaint is worth repeating: Marvel Entertainment seems entirely too willing to damage the reputation of their brand with cheap, poorly-produced straight-to-DVD releases. The theatrical films are great. The comics are a mixed bag (inevitable, given that they're publishing approximately five billion titles at the moment), but sometimes those are great, too. These motion comics and straight-to-DVD movies, though? Ugh.
If you saw the Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk motion comic, you have a pretty good idea of what to expect from Wolverine vs. Sabertooth: two macho beasties duking it out for just north of an hour. In all honesty, this particular tale has a few advantages. Despite the fact that the story (originally dubbed "Wolverine: Evolution") is one of writer Jeph Loeb's lesser works, it's less campy and more engaging than the over-the-top foolishness of Damon Lindelof's tale. On the visual side of things, Simon Bianchi's clean, attractive artwork works much better in this format than Leinil Yu's grittier style (which is wonderful on the page, but suffers when presented in close-up on an HDTV). Even so, the final result is pretty awful.
Why? I hate to say this, but the voice acting is a big problem. Look, I get that the actor voicing Wolverine is probably just doing what he was told—he's trying to make the guy seem as rough and tough as possible. Unfortunately, what we ultimately get is a voice that sounds an awful lot like Gob Bluth doing a terrible Clint Eastwood impression. It's impossible to take Wolverine seriously, because it sounds like he's delivering lines written in all caps with countless exclamation points at the end of every sentence. Most of the other characters aren't much better, but Wolverine does most of the talking here. Additionally, despite the fact that most of what we hear is inner monologue, the fact that Wolverine is talking so often betrays the character's strong, silent demeanor. It's just one of those things that works on the page but not on the screen.
The story doesn't feel particularly self-contained, forcing viewers unfamiliar with Wolverine and (especially) Sabretooth to do some research on why the relationship between these two is so significant and contentious.
The narrative offers a whole lot of needless detours—the flashback scenes prove more distracting than illuminating.
We really don't need this 66-minute story divided into six individual "episodes" with over two minutes of opening and closing credits attached to each part (you'll be hitting the "skip" button a lot).
The root of the conflict between this particular incarnation of Wolverine and Sabretooth is that they have different color hair. No, really.
The DVD transfer is fine, offering decent detail throughout. The Dolby 2.0 Stereo track isn't great (the music can be rather abrasive), but it's functional enough. The only supplement is a featurette offering interviews with Loeb and Biachi.
In fairness, I'm still not sold on motion comics as a form of entertainment—with almost no room to alter things that might not work in a different medium and without the budget for strong voice actors, they generally feel like substandard products made for people too lazy to read the actual comics. Still, Marvel could be doing a whole lot better. Wolverine vs. Sabretooth is awful.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Shout! Factory
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