Lionsgate // 2006 // 73 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Judge David Gutierrez (Retired) // August 25th, 2006
For this they thawed out Captain America? Really?
Earth's mightiest heroes band together, once again, to save the planet from an alien threat in Ultimate Avengers 2. Based on the lineup from Marvel Comics' The Ultimates, the Avengers are: Captain America, World War II Super-Soldier; the Wasp, shrinking debutante; Giant Man, abusive scientist; Thor, possibly insane pagan god; Iron Man, alcoholic genius; Black Widow, Russian spy; the Hulk, a green Hercules, and Nick Fury, the James Bond of the Marvel U.
As Ultimate Avengers 2 opens, none of the Avengers is in a good place. Captain America's unhappy and has a death wish. He's been reckless on his missions and is plagued by nightmares. Black Widow reaches out to him, but gets a cold shoulder. Giant Man's marriage to the Wasp is troubled, since he's become mentally abusive. Iron Man's hitting the sauce while Thor tries to find himself and understand his involvement with humans. Nick Fury tries to hold his team together, but knows his chances are slim. In Africa, the alien Nazi from Ultimate Avengers -- The Movie has returned to kill the King of Wakanda, leaving Prince T'Challa to rule the hidden kingdom. T'Challa, successor to the Black Panther mantle, sets out to avenge his father's death and ends up receiving unsolicited aid from the Avengers. Though they have to deal with problems of their own, the Avengers put aside any differences they have in order to save the Earth from the alien threat. All the while, Bruce Banner (a.k.a. the Hulk) -- still imprisoned from his rampage in the first film -- tries to figure out a way to defeat the alien menace. Bonds are formed, relationships are broken, and the Avengers suffer their first casualty in defending earth.
Ultimate Avengers -- The Movie lifted its storyline from the 12 issues of The Ultimates. Since the first film laid the groundwork, Ultimate Avengers 2 was free to tell an original story without being bogged down by character introduction and exposition. Simply put, the movie's a big war story with Captain America and the Black Panther looking for redemption and vengeance. Really, this is all the movie has going for it.
The film never picks up steam until the very last act. While it was supposed to be an exciting thrill to see the Avengers get beat up and thrown around, it never wowed me. This is due to the lackluster animation in the film. The movie's direction was good, guided by animation vets Will Meugniot and Will Sebast, the problem was the movie looked rushed. The look of the film never rises above the most mediocre Saturday morning fare. Considering this is supposed to be one of key franchises in Marvel's bag, it's treated shoddily. It's a real shame considering how good this film could have been.
When the Hulk returns, I should feel that. When a main character dies, I should feel something other than apathy. I should care when the battle for Earth happens, but I don't. The movie never lives up to its title, sadly. Instead, I'm saddled with reviewing what should be called "The Ehs 2."
I hope that the Dr. Strange and Iron Man animated films previewed in the Special Features fare better than this one. Also included is a gag reel that should be skipped, a "What Avenger Are You" game, and a nifty featurette on The Ultimates focusing on the Marvel Comics team behind the title.
The film looked and sounded adequate. The problems were with the animation, not the picture quality.
The movie does have some good points. Thor's conflict with his father, Odin, is handled well and an interesting aspect for the character. How much involvement should a god have in the affairs of man? I like that the film shows Iron Man drinking. It's an important character point, though it can easily be removed for the sake of the children. I loved that the Wasp and Giant Man's marriage was dissolving. It felt a little forced, but it's nice to see that kind of drama in an American animated film.
At least the movie tried to tell its own story. I can't fault anyone for that.
If there's anything that needs avenging, it's this movie.
Avoid this one if you can. It's like taking Thor's hammer to your head.
Review content copyright © 2006 David Gutierrez; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Spanish)
Running Time: 73 Minutes
Release Year: 2006
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13
* First Looks at "Iron Man" and "Dr. Strange"
* "The Ultimates" featurette
* "What Avenger are You" game
* Gag Reel