The Marvel Animation: 6 Film Set includes all six animated movies Marvel has made thus far. Included in the set are Ultimate Avengers, Ultimate Avengers 2, The Invincible Iron Man, Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow, Doctor Strange, and Hulk Vs. Packed with great special features, this set is good for fans of Marvel or for newcomers with virtually no familiarity with the subject.
The first movie in the set is Ultimate Avengers, which is based on the comic book The Ultimates. The Ultimates served as a re-imagining of the classic Marvel team, The Avengers. In Ultimate Avengers, Nick Fury assembles a team to try and stop an evil alien race. The members of this team range from famous Marvel characters (Thor, Captain America, Iron Man) to some lesser known characters (Giant Man, Wasp). Bruce Banner also plays a prominent role as a genius who is desperate not to let his violent alter ego, the Hulk, become unleashed. This movie is the first in the series, so there are understandably a few kinks and growing pains that are ironed out by the later releases. The movie might be too immature for some viewers, but it has some outstanding battles that make up for the hokey dialogue.
Ultimate Avengers 2 is a direct sequel to Ultimate Avengers. The team is reassembled to thwart the revitalized alien invasion that was thought to be vanquished in the first movie. Some new characters are introduced, and this movie seems to be a bit more mature on the whole. The violence is more noticeable, and some key characters die. This is definitely a solid second effort by the Marvel animation team.
The Invincible Iron Man tells the origin story of Iron Man. This movie does a nice job portraying Tony Stark’s transformation into a superhero in a fun new way. The animation in this movie differs from the previous two in that some 3D effects are used, particularly in some battle scenes between Iron Man and minions of Mandarin. These battle scenes are the certainly the highlight of this movie, with some taking place on the bottom of the ocean and in the heart of a volcano. A surprising plot twist near the end might catch you off guard.
Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow is probably the least mature movie in this set. Geared towards a younger audience, this movie features the children of the Avengers under the care of an aged Tony Stark. The Avengers sent their children into hiding before being defeated by Ultron, and in this movie Ultron tries to destroy the children. The action is definitely a bit more gimmicky, and some of the dialogue is groan-inducing for anyone over the age of twelve. That being said, an old Hulk makes a surprise appearance, and Thor’s interaction with his daughter is really cool but far too brief.
Doctor Strange definitely struck me as a surprise. This is a character I had virtually no previous knowledge of before watching the movie. Going into the movie with no expectations, I discovered one of the most complex characters in this entire film set in Dr. Stephen Strange. A gifted surgeon, Dr. Strange is in a car crash and loses the use of his hands. Only then does he realize his potential as a master magician, but an evil threat lurks that must be dealt with for the sake of humanity’s survival. The animation in this movie is some of the best in the series, but there are some alarming scenes that might frighten children.
Hulk Vs. is the last movie in this set, and it is fitting that the set concludes on such a high note. This is actually two shorter movies, with Hulk Vs. Thor running 45 minutes and Hulk Vs. Wolverine clocking in at 37 minutes. Hulk Vs. Thor showcases many characters from the Thor universe without much backstory or explanation, which is a minor problem for people who are unfamiliar with Thor’s mythos. In any event, this movie delves into the character of Bruce Banner and how much he loathes the Hulk while still providing some great violent action between the citizens of Asgard and the Hulk.
Hulk Vs. Wolverine is also more violent than the standard cartoon fare seen on TV today. Wolverine digs his claws into Hulk’s body on multiple occasions, drawing blood in a visceral display. This movie also serves as a bit of an origin story for Wolverine, as several of his Team X comrades make appearances and flashbacks showing the adamantium fusing process are briefly shown. The highlight of this movie is Deadpool, who makes jokes and cracks one-liners in all of his scenes. This is the Deadpool who deserves his own solo movie, not the strange hybrid creature that was briefly featured in the Wolverine solo movie. My only complaint about this movie is that the members of Team X have unnatural healing abilities that are never fully explained. One character gets his arm completely cut off. He grabs the severed pieces of his limb and replaces them in their proper alignment. Did the Team X members receive some sort of super-healing treatment? If they did, why not mention this? A single line of dialogue could have cleared up any confusion, but again, this is a minor issue in an otherwise stellar movie.
The special features included with each of the titles are quality. Writers and artists from the original comic books are interviewed in a multitude of featurettes. The production team for the movies talk at length about what went into the project. Some featurettes also provide a good deal of context about the history of the assorted characters. Stan Lee offers his always valuable insight in some of these special features. An Iron Man Hall of Armor is included that lets viewers read about dozens of different suits of armor. This attention to detail is fascinating. Audio commentaries are available for both segments of Hulk Vs. by the writers.
This set consists of the individual releases of these movies packaged together. If you already own a few of these movies it might not be wise to get the box set. If you are interested in a six-film set featuring some of Marvel’s most beloved heroes, this is definitely a worthy purchase. The voice acting is solid and the animation improves with every release. This is a set that can be enjoyed by children and adults alike.