Ultimate Avengers

Back to animated movies for the next review, and we have Ultimate Avengers: The Movie, released straight to video by MLG (a collaboration of Marvel Comics and Lions Gate Entertainment). It is based upon the Ultimates comic book, which saw a more realistic version of the Avengers. Stark’s alcoholism, Pym’s spousal abuse, Black Widows traitorousness and Hulk being a brutal killer, for example, are all contrasted against their heroic deeds. Unfortunately this movie tones all of that down.

We do still get to see Pym being quite frankly a bit of a dick, but Stark / Iron Man barely has any development whatsoever, and Black widow is largely irrelevant. The main focus is instead on the Betty Ross / Bruce Banner relationship. The actual recruitment of the Avengers feels extremely rushed, and could have done with maybe an extra ten minutes of explaining why it is that (especially Thor, who is the least seen character in the movie) certain characters initially turn down the Avengers then just turn up when the fight kicks off.

The story starts as Captain America saves the day against the Nazi’s working with the Chitauri, but gets trapped in ice. Years later he is found, and this is when Nick Fury is ordered to initiate the Avengers program and recruit everyone on the shortlist (which differs from that of the Avengers live action movie slightly), in order to fight the Chitauri. The team must deal with their differences and learn to work together to overcome the threat.

Being the central villains, it was quite bizarre to see the fight between the Avengers and the Chitauri being so underwhelming. In fact, they kind of fizzle out like punks after being built up as a threat that only this special team can deal with, for the entire movie. Most of the animation budget seems to have gone on the fight involving the Hulk vs the rest of the Avengers which comes directly afterwards. It is a pretty impressive fight, admittedly.

The animation is pretty neat while not being exceptional. There are some good uses of special effects, and while it isn’t going to win any awards, the set pieces are pretty good too. Voice acting is good. This is one of the better Marvel animated movies.

Another criticism (only slight) is that it seems to be stuck in a void between being too adult themed for young kids and too toned down for adults. I guess the target audience is young teens. That’s not to say adults can’t watch it, but don’t expect it to cover the more adult themes because it ignores most of them and, in my opinion, suffers for it. It’s still better than half of the movies I have watched so far on the list. I’d recommend it to any Avengers fan looking to fill some time between movies or comics (if they haven’t already seen it). You’re not going to see anything drastically different, but you will get a good movie with some great action set pieces, most notably the fight vs Hulk, and the Avengers getting a kicking from Kleiser due to their individual showboating.

My Score: 52 percent

Movie info from Marvel Movies Wiki:

Director: Curt Geda
Steven E. Gordon
Bob Richardson
Writer(s): Greg Johnson
Boyd Kirkland
Craig Kyle
Release Date: February 21, 2006
Running Time: 72 mins