Superhero movies have become very popular again in recent years. Superman: The Movie and Batman did very well before the sequels ultimately went downhill. Marvel characters started to turn up in movies as well, first in a few not so good movies - Howard the Duck and The Punisher (1989) - before the very well done X-Men and Spider-Man were released. Marvel has continued to release new live action superhero movies as well as beginning to make animated movies. Ultimate Avengers was the first of Marvel’s animated movies.
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In the North Atlantic in 1945, U.S. forces were launching an attack against the Germans. Some of the men were calling one solider, Steve Rogers, a super solider. He was also called Captain America. He managed to stop something from happening before seeming to die.
Sixty years later, Dr. Bruce Banner was working to recreate the super solider serum that had been used on Steve. He was thrilled when Nick Fury, leader of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Dr. Betty Ross found Steve’s body frozen in a glacier. Bruce hoped that Steve’s body would help his research with the serum. Steve was actually still alive and he was shocked to find himself in a different time. Nick had to put together a team to fight a group of aliens who were threatening Earth. He wasn’t happy that he was supposed to find superheroes to make up the team. Nick made Steve the leader of the group that included Iron Man, Wasp, Giant Man, Black Widow, and Thor. Bruce and the Hulk ended up getting involved as well.
Even though I tend to really enjoy movies about superheroes that have been based on comic books, I don’t know a lot about the original comic books or the characters in many cases. The movies have been my first introduction to several characters. I had heard of Captain America before but I didn’t know much of anything about him. I use to watch the television show and cartoon featuring the Hulk, so I was slightly more familiar with him even though I had forgotten several things. I had heard of Thor and Nick Fury before without knowing much of anything about them. I had heard of the Avengers before but I didn’t know which characters were part of the team other than Captain America before watching Ultimate Avengers. I have no idea how close to the source material this movie was. I am thinking that all of the characters from the movie had been in the comic book, but I could be wrong about that.
The plot for Ultimate Avengers was interesting without being overly complicated. It started off back in 1945 with Steve. The fact that he had been part of an experiment to turn him into a super solider wasn’t explained at that time, so I was wondering why some of the other men were calling him the super solider. It would have been nice if some time was taken to explain that at the beginning for people who aren’t as familiar with the character. Once the movie jumped forward sixty years, some time was taken to introduce the new characters who turned up then as well as set up the situation with Bruce being so obsessed with cracking the serum. The fact that the team had to fight aliens was a bit different from what I expected, but it worked for the most part. The plot could have been a bit more developed and fleshed out though it did make for an entertaining movie. I have no idea if the Avengers ever had to face aliens in the comics or not.
Ultimate Avengers was the first animated superhero to be released by Marvel. There were plans to release more animated movies focusing on some other characters. I know that three more were released after this one. I’m not sure if there are plans to make more or not. I thought this was a good introduction to the Avenger characters and I am interested in seeing more of them. I thought that the animation was well done even though it was not anywhere near the quality of the best computer animation produces now. It did have the look of hand drawn animation, but I don’t know if it was or not. It did use the same type of bright, vibrant colors that are used in most comic books.
I went into watching Ultimate Avengers without knowing much about most of the characters and nothing about the situations. I don’t remember even hearing of Wasp or Giant Man before, so I was wondering just who they were for a while. I had heard of Thor and Iron Man without realizing that they had been part of the Avengers group. It was interesting to see the group of superheroes figure out how to work together. All of them had their own private issues they were trying to deal with while also adjusting to working together to face the alien threat. Janet and Hank were married, though perhaps not happily, and they knew Nick from working with him in the past. Hank didn’t seem to care for Nick that much. Nick didn’t like working with civilians. Black Widow, Natalia Romanoff, worked with Nick. Practically nothing was shared about her. I don’t think she had any sort of actual super power.
Steve, or Captain America, seemed to receive more attention than the other characters. Time was taken to show him during World War II before his body was found in modern time. He felt out of place, but did seem to adjust fairly well overall. He did have doubts about leading the team that Nick put together. Bruce was mostly dealing with his own demons connected to turning into the Hulk, which had messed up his life and his relationship with Betty. She seemed to be trying to move on though she still cared for him. Everyone knew that Bruce was the Hulk, something I really don’t remember ever being the case before. I also had never heard of Bruce taking some sort of medicine to stop turning into the Hulk. Tony was a very rich man who had been selling weapons to the military. He had kept his identity as Iron Man a secret and he didn’t like working on a team. Thor, who could control the weather, also didn’t seem interested in being on the team at first. Herr Kleiser was a Nazi solider that Steve had to deal with early in the movie. I didn’t recognize any of the voices while watching the movie and when I looked up the cast information, I only recognized the name of Olivia d’Abo as Black Widow. The voices all sounded fine without being anything special.
David Boat - Thor
Olivia d’Abo - Natalia Romanoff/Black Widow
Grey DeLisle - Janet Pym/Wasp
Justin Gross - Steve Rogers/Captain America
Nan McNamara - Dr. Betty Ross
Michael Massee - Bruce Banner
Nolan North - Hank Pym/Giant Man
Fred Tatasciore - Hulk
Jim Ward - Herr Kleiser
Andre Ware - Nick Fury
Marc Worden - Tony Stark/Iron Man
Bob Richardson - Director
Ultimate Avengers was released straight to DVD in 2006 and is rated PG-13, so this isn’t a movie for younger children even though it is animated. I received the movie for Christmas of 2007. My copy has the widescreen version of the movie and I don’t know if there is also a full screen version. There was an Ultimate Avengers trivia track that could be selected to run during the movie. There is a first look at Ultimate Avengers II that was interesting. Marvel did a talent search for voices and some of the audition tapes that they received were shared in The Ultimate Voice Talent Search. Avengers Assemble was a very interesting featurette that shared information about the Avengers comic book and how it has changed over the years. I learned a lot from this.
Ultimate Avengers could have had a more developed plot and more character development, but it was still an entertaining movie that I enjoyed. I did like seeing other characters that I’m not as familiar with.
Comic Book/Graphic Novel/Superhero Related Reviews
The Amazing Spider-Man: The Ultimate Guide ~ Batman ~ Batman Returns ~ Batman Forever ~ Batman & Robin ~ Batman Begins ~ Batman: The Ultimate Guide to The Dark Knight ~ Catwoman ~ Daredevil ~ Elektra ~ Fantastic Four ~ Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer ~ Fantastic Four: The Ultimate Guide ~ Flash Gordon ~ Ghost Rider ~ Ghost Rider Visual Guide Hellboy ~ A History of Violence ~ Howard the Duck ~ The Incredibles ~ Judge Dredd ~ The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen ~ The Legend of Zorro ~ Lois & Clark: The Complete First Season ~ Lois & Clark: The Complete Second Season ~ Lois & Clark: The Complete Third Season ~ Lois & Clark: The Complete Fourth Season ~ The Mask of Zorro ~ Men in Black ~ Men in Black II ~ Mystery Men ~ My Super Ex-Girlfriend ~ The Punisher (1989) ~ Sky High ~ Spider-Man ~ Spider-Man 2 ~ Spider-Man 3 ~ Stardust ~ Superman: The Movie ~ Superman II ~ Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut ~ Superman Returns ~ Superman: The Ultimate Guide to the Man of Steel ~ Transformers ~ Underdog ~ X-Men ~ X2: X-Men United ~ X-Men: The Last Stand ~ X-Men: The Legend of Wolverine ~ Ultimate X-Men ~ V for Vendetta ~ Zoom ~
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