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DVD Review: Ultimate Avengers 2

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The earth is being invaded by shape-shifting aliens. There’s only one thing to do – call in the Avengers!

The animated movie Ultimate Avengers 2 picks up the tale of a band of government-funded superheroes including Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Giant Man, and more.

It’s part of a line of Marvel Comics original-to-DVD animated features that aim to be a little more adult than your typical cartoon – characters die and bleed real blood. Screenwriter Greg Johnson, who has years of animation credits including writing for Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, Fantastic Four and X-Men: Evolution, wrote the first Ultimate Avengers movie and is also penning upcoming sequels Iron Man and Dr. Strange.

screen shot from Ultimate Avengers 2Ultimate Avengers 2 continues what worked well in the first toon –- the in-depth characters, who are flawed and have problems, and some truly impressive cartoon violence. Iron Man’s a troubled wise guy, Thor might be a lunatic, Giant Man’s a big jerk, and as for the Hulk –- well, his issues could fill this entire review. The writing has a less adult edge than the comic -– Giant Man's domestic abuse issues aren't dealt with here –- but it does strive for a bit of depth.

The sequel is a bit better than the first movie –- less time is spent on exposition, and there’s a lot more bombastic action as the Avengers try to thwart the massive alien invasion. The characters are solid, particularly the man-out-of-time Captain America and the young African warrior king, The Black Panther (making his animated debut here).

screen shot from Ultimate Avengers 2Unfortunately, the same thing that hampered Ultimate Avengers mars its sequel –- cheap, uninspired animation that feels like it’s from a late 1980s Saturday morning cartoon. I’m not expecting a Pixar-quality movie, but the flat and unexpressive animation doesn’t do justice to an interesting story. It’s a shame Marvel didn’t feel like shelling out for more quality.

Still, Ultimate Avengers is a fun ride for superhero fans. If the animation was better, this series of movies could even rise to the level of greatness.

DVD extras include an excellent 20-minute documentary on "The Ultimates" comic book, a DVD-rom game and previews of the upcoming Iron Man and Dr. Strange animated flicks.

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About Nik Dirga

  • Paul E

    I found the Ultimate Avengers quite the opposite. The animation seemed pretty good to me, but some like more unrealistic, fantastically muscled people. I hate the costume changes. Many changes seem ridiculous and all seem unecessary. In 2, Black Panther has a sleeveless suit. Why? But worse than that is that the heroes are stupid, don’t work together, display nothing but unlikable characteristics (except for cap who is just plain wooden), and they use their powers poorly. In 2, Thor barely shows up, only fights in the end, and then he only bats at a ray to redirect it at a ship (to no effect) repeatedly until he finally misses. Giant man just stands around a lot and gets shot a lot, Iron man’s armor gets trashed again and again (Stark, stop using tin!) . I could go on and on, but the worse things are that Black panthers dad gets shot repeatedly in the chest and then acts like he’s not hurt a bit, an act that is followed by his son who gets shot dead center of the chest and shrugs it off even standing around at the end as if nothing’s wrong!
    The overall plot is ok, but he team interaction sucks. Maybe the writer is only following the Ultimates storyline and attitudes, but if I don’t want to watch a bunch of losers with superpowers.