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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Movie Talk - Marvel Animated Features Part 1: The Avengers

For my first step into the world of the Avengers, I’m actually going to look at some direct-to-DVD movies that Marvel did a few years ago. Before DC got its stuff together with its animated market, Marvel started off with its own in 2006 with its release of Ultimate Avengers.  They teamed up with Lions Gate Films to put out movies at about twice a year.  All of the movies from that line are on Netflix, so you know what I’m gonna do. Instead of talking about them all in one post, I’ll spread them out according to hero. Today, it’s the Avengers.

Ultimate Avengers was released in early 2006 while its sequel, Ultimate Avengers 2: Rise of the Panther, was released in the fall of 2006. The next Avengers-themed movie to come out from this venture was Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow and it was released in 2008. I bought the first movie and still own it to this day. I rented Rise of the Panther from Hollywood Video while I was in college. As for Next Avengers, I waited a long time until I just decided to see it on Netflix some months ago. Since the Ultimate Avengers movies are also on Netflix, I decided to re-watch them again. So, what do I think about them now? Find out below.

Ultimate Avengers
Ultimate Avengers is adapted from Mark Millar’s and Bryan Hitch’s The Ultimates. It’s  a loose adaptation in that it uses a lot of the memorable moments like Captain America’s stuff, the Chitauri’s attack, and Hulk’s smash up of the team. The Avengers get brought together when aliens start to infiltrate SHIELD’s defenses. Unfortunately, they have a problem with working together as a team. When SHIELDS’s main base is attacked, they’re able to come together especially when one of their own (The Hulk) goes berserk.
Man, I know Steve has confidence, but you don't do that without knowing what might happen next.

This was a decent one in my opinion. It works well as a team movie for the most part. I liked most of the team like Cap, Iron Man, and Thor. There were also some pretty funny moments in the movie.  The story was okay for the most part. I thought the voice acting was pretty good as a whole. The animation and action was pretty good for the most part.  While it doesn’t have the grit from the comics, it does try to make things more violent and mature than a lot of Saturday morning cartoons. The WW2 action scene at the beginning and the team’s fight against the Hulk are my favorite moments of the movie.
Wow, if this happens to men who get beat up, I should get knocked out more.

I did have some issues with the movie. Some of the team members were pretty unlikable. Hank Pym is the biggest culprit and Bruce Banner isn’t far behind. The story also feels rushed in a lot of ways. It’s like they wanted to fit a lot of the book into the movie and a lot of stuff felt browsed over too quickly. Some of the animation is also pretty wonky at times. Sometimes it’s stiff and other times it can be pretty weird. Overall, it’s an okay movie.


Ultimate Avengers 2: Rise of the Panther
Unlike the first movie, this movie is not an adaptation of The Ultimates. The book was still being written at the time the movie came out, so they did an original story and added bits and pieces of the book. It’s also more violent that the first movie. The sequel takes places sometime after the events of the last movie. The Ultimates are still reeling from Chitauri’s attack and the Hulk’s attack. We get introduced to the Black Panther as he comes to New York to get the team’s help. It turns out that the Chitauri are after Wakanda’s vibranium. Many fights ensue in Wakanda and New York as the aliens come to invade Earth.
Aw, man! I wanted the Power Rangers, not these guys!

I also liked this movie and I think it’s a little better than the previous one in some places. I really liked the story. I liked the inclusion of the Black Panther even though his powers were weird here. I liked the team’s various small subplots like Cap’s reluctance to live a normal life. Thor and Iron Man also had some more decent time to show their stuff. Even Banner had an interesting situation.  The voice acting was still pretty good as usual. The action scenes were really awesome. The final battle with the Chitauri was really good.
You know, if he wasn't such a complete butthead in these movies, I might be sad for Jan.

I also had some problems with the movie. Of course, you had the unlikable characters who are d-bags for little reason. The biggest culprit  is Hank Pym again. I think he’s actually worse in this movie. You just want someone to hit him. At least he isn’t doing the whole “domestic abuse” thing. Also, some of the animation was pretty wonky and inconsistent in this one. There are times where it still feels rushed in order to get it under 70 minutes. We also only get to see the Hulk cut loose for a few seconds… A Few Seconds! That ain’t right. Still, I thought this was pretty decent and better than the first movie.


Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow
As for this movie, I’m not sure how it fits in with the other movies. It could be a spinoff to the Ultimate Avengers movies, but there’s the fact that Pym is the son of Wasp and Hank Pym. In the last movie, Hank died at the end, so it’s possible that the movie is in its own continuity. Either that or Janet didn’t change her last name when she had the kid, whatever. This one is pretty kid-friendly unlike the rest from this line of movies. The movie looks at the Avengers’ offspring.  Sometime in the future, Ultron kills most of the Avengers and takes over the world. Iron Man takes their kids and keeps them hidden from Ultron for a number of years. When they get older, Ultron finds them and they have to use the training that Iron Man instilled in them to save the day.
Hmm... I wonder how they would fare against Aang and the others.

I waited a long time to see this movie because I thought that it might suck. Luckily, I was proven to be somewhat wrong. This was a good movie. While it is pretty kid-friendly and lighthearted, it is still pretty dark. I mean, the Avengers are dead and Ultron has taken over the world. Say what you want but that’s pretty dark. I liked the whole team especially the new Hawkeye. I also like seeing what was left of the original Avengers. I also liked Ultron as the main villain. The voice acting was also on par. While I didn’t like the animation all that much, the action scenes in the movie were pretty good.

There isn’t a lot to not like about the movie. For some reason, the Pym men tend to be the annoying factor in these movies. Pym was the annoying one on the team but I will say that he had his good moments. I also wasn’t a big fan of the animation. Sometimes, things move a little weird. Also, some of the designs were a little too cartoony. I shouldn’t jump on it too hard since this was meant for kids too, but it’s just my opinion. Overall, this movie was pretty good.

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I have to end this somewhere, so I’ll end it here. If you’re a fan of the Avengers and haven’t checked these movies out, do so. While some of them aren’t really good, I can safely say that they are all better than Avengers: United We Stand. Yes, I remember that crappy show from the late 90’s. Luckily, I don’t remember much of it to talk about it. Next time, I’ll look at another group of movies from this line. Until then, Peace and God Bless. 

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