Marvel Animated Features (Part 1): Ultimate Avengers

Well, this site has been up for over a year now and it’s been mainly focused on DC Comics.  While I did grow up as a DC kid, I’ve always dug the Big Red Machine that serves as the main business rival.  Since I’ve managed to hunt down every single entry, I figure that it’s no better time than to unleash a series that pre-dated the DC Universe Animated Original Movie line, but had fewer entries.  Welcome to a new series known as…

Marvel Animated Features!

This short-lived collection of direct-to-home video films was a joint venture between Marvel Entertainment and Lions Gate Entertainment, with the two companies having struck a deal together in 2004.  As a result, we received these eight movies.  First in line, we assemble six years before the Marvel Cinematic Universe does as we kick the series off with…

Our Title Card!

Originally released on February 21, 2006, this film serves as a loose adaptation of the Ultimates’ first six issues, written by Mark Millar and drawn by Bryan Hitch.  How does the series’ inaugural outing handle the translation involving the Ultimate Marvel Universe’s mightiest heroes?  Let’s find out.

Captain America-The Final WWII Mission Begins!

We open over the North Atlantic in 1945.  World War II is nearing the end, but the Nazis haven’t given up yet as they look to enact one last plan (a “secret Nazi super weapon”) in order to regain any hope.  Fortunately, the U.S. military caught wind of this in time as a large number of soldiers parachute down in order to unleash one last assault.  They initially make some progress, but the constant barrage of gunfire start to hamper their advance.

Captain America-I've Got Our Key To Getting In! Captain America-Let's Storm The Castle!

Fortunately, a plane flies in and crashes into the opposing castle, weakening the Nazi’s barrage.  It turns out that it was flown by Steve Rogers a.k.a. Captain America (voiced by Justin Gross) who jumped out before the impact as he rallies the troops together in order to swarm the enemy base.

After leading the soldiers deep within the compound, Cap and company discover the Nazi’s secret weapon: a nuclear missile.  With his comrades giving him cover fire, Captain America makes his way up to the main control deck.  To his surprise, he sees a group of aliens working alongside the scientists.  Just then, the main culprit appears as Herr Kleiser (voiced by Jim Ward) orders for the missile to be launched.  As Cap begins to tussle, he’s shocked to discover that his foe also has super-strength as his shield just barely protects him from the vicious punch.

Herr Kleiser-My True Form! Captain America-For America!

During the fight, Captain America throws his shield at Kleiser.  Not only does it penetrate its target, but it’s also revealed that this Nazi isn’t exactly human.  With the missile launching, Cap manages to leap onto the projectile just as it takes off.  Kleiser also managed to catch up in order to stop our hero, yet Steve manages to kick his foe off and drop a grenade into the missile before leaping off.

Captain America-Mission Accomplished! Captain America-Goodbye Forever, 1940s!

With the Nazi’s last ditch effort blown into oblivion, the U.S. Army isn’t exactly cheering since they took notice of Cap’s presence on the missile via Bucky’s camera.  As such, they have a respective silence for their fallen comrade.  Meanwhile, Captain America was knocked unconscious from the explosion as he falls into the dark abyss of the Atlantic Ocean.

Nick Fury-On A Deep Sea Discovery! Betty Ross-Off On Some Deep Sea Exploration!

Following the opening credits, we cut to modern times where a submarine is traveling through the North Atlantic.  On board is Gen. Nick Fury (voiced by Andre Ware) who’s out on an exploration mission.  Accompanying him is Prof. Betty Ross (voiced by Nan McNamara) whose search drones manage to pick up something important.

Captain America-His Frozen Portal To Modern Times!

After a drone is sent out to melt away at a slab of ice with a lazer cutter, their hopes are assured as they manage to discover Captain America frozen within the formation.

Nick Fury-We're Making Progress, Betty!Bruce Banner-The Super-Soldier Project Is Go!

Later, they arrive back at the Triskelion (S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters).  While Captain America’s body is placed in the lab for a steady thaw, we cut to Dr. Bruce Banner (voiced by Michael Massee) who has a small group of scientists with him.  He explains that they’re attempting to recreate the Super-Soldier serum so that it can be administered to their twelve candidates.  However, the actual formula was lost due to the poor record-keeping of the past.  In the meantime, they are to assist Betty in perfecting the Rebirth Chamber.  Just then, she arrives to tell Bruce about the successful discovery.

With the encased ice completely melted, scientists proceed to examine their newly-acquired Super-Soldier.  Suddenly, Captain America wakes up and starts beating them up.  Bruce and Betty arrive to discover Cap easily defeating S.H.I.E.L.D. agents as Nick Fury is also taken down with the quickest of ease.

Captain America-Welcome To The Future!Captain America-Welcome To The Future! (2)

After escaping the compound, Steve is stunned to see the New York skyline with more sleek buildings than what was around in his time.  After Nick Fury catches up and confirms that the good guys won World War II, Captain America passes out as scientists rush to his aid.

Later on, the satellite SHIELD-1 is going online just above Earth’s atmosphere thanks to a small group of astronauts.  Fury is monitoring this from the command center as he has it tested out before it’s put into orbit.  Suddenly, it detects a bogey speeding along the Nevada desert, to which it’s confirmed to be a Chitauri spaceship, before it ascends towards space.  Unfortunately, it attacks the satellite and the astronauts as it pushes the shuttle towards Earth.  Fury then rushes to the war room where his superiors monitor the situation.  The mission ends in tragedy as the shuttle burns up in the atmosphere and the astronauts are killed off in the process.  Afterwards, Fury’s superiors demand for a new satellite to be deployed within one week.  In the meantime, they order him to begin recruitment for the defense initiative “Project: Avenger”.

Meanwhile, the Super-Soldier project is underway as Bruce watches it from the observation room.  As he takes his medication, Betty likes how the experiment has given him a reinvigorated feel.  She believes that this project will help restore his scientific reputation, but Bruce tells her that this will let him have complete control over his alter-ego and allow them to be together.  However, Betty doesn’t believe that, knowing full well that it isn’t going to happen and she wants no part of it.  Shortly afterwards, Fury comes in and tells them that the experiment is about to be pulled unless they come up with results soon.  Bruce wants to be relieved of his medication in order to help the process out, but Fury instantly shoots that suggestion down since S.H.I.E.L.D. is still recovering from the damage that his alter-ego caused.  After Banner storms out of the room, Betty tells Nick that they’re still waiting on key components from Stark Enterprises in order to finish up the Rebirth Chamber.  The scene ends with him leaving to take care of just that.

Tony Stark-The Fine Life! Black Widow-On The Recruitment Trail!

We then cut to a fancy rooftop restaurant where Tony Stark (voiced by Marc Worden) arrives at the bar, bringing his usual suave, ladies-man charm.  Just then, a woman named Natalia Romanoff a.k.a. Black Widow (voiced by Olivia d’Abo) walks up and orders the exact same drink.  The two of them proceed to flirt as Tony introduces himself.  She promises to give out her name, if only in private quarters.

Black Widow-Gotcha, Tony! Black Widow-Gotcha, Tony! (2)

After making their way to a private office, Natalia subdues Tony while telling him her name.  It turns out that Nick Fury was also waiting inside and it’s not just key parts that he’s after.  He tells Tony that he’s interested in Iron Man, but Stark denies any connections between himself and the super figure.

Tony Stark-Another Time!

Just then, his faithful butler Edwin Jarvis (voiced by Fred Tatasciore) says that his helicopter is ready to take him to his dinner with the governor.  As he’s leaving, Tony says that he’ll supply Fury and company with some plasma cannons.

Captain America-Connecting To Modern Times!

The next day at the Triskelion, Bruce pays Steve a visit and lets him know that the Super-Soldier program is up and running again.  After Cap allows Banner to take a blood sample, he’s then given something that he once carried into battle inside his uniform: a picture of his fair lass, Gail.  Bruce says that she’s still alive, but the scene ends with him telling Steve “there’s something you should know”.

Over in Brooklyn, Nick Fury and Black Widow arrive at Pym Industries.  Upon entering, he’s given a not-so nice greeting from Hank Pym a.k.a. Giant Man (voiced by Nolan North), who’s still holding a past grudge (we learn that he lost the SSP post to Bruce Banner).  Shortly afterwards, his wife Janet Pym a.k.a. Wasp (voiced by Grey Griffin [credited as Grey DeLisle]) comes in to tell him that his scientists are ready for his experimentation.

Wasp-I'll Only Join Alongside My Husband! Giant Man-I'm Awesome!

Shortly after Hank takes his leave, Janet grows back to normal size.  Fury then says that he’s forming a superhero team to deal with a growing crisis and wants her to join.  Janet says that she’s interested in joining, but only if her husband can be with the team as well.  To convince Fury, she brings him to the main lab where Hank demonstrates his superpower by growing to titanic sizes.  Just then, Black Widow is informed of a downed airplane that’s being rescued by Iron Man.  Seeing his opportunity, Fury takes his leaves by telling Hank and Jan that they’re now official members of his team.

Giant Man-Let's Talk, Iron Man! Iron Man-Not Interested!

Shortly after setting the downed airliner into the river (thus allowing rescue helicopters to pick up the crew & passengers), Iron Man briefly engages the media before he’s forced to flee due to S.H.I.E.L.D. pursuing him in order to talk.  Thanks to the newly-recruited Giant Man slapping the fleeing hero down towards the ground, Fury is finally able to confront the elusive being.  He then proceeds to offer a spot on his team, but Iron Man declines stating “I work alone” before flying off.

Meanwhile, a fully-recovered Steve Rogers heads out to reunite with his former Army bud, Bucky Barnes, as the two of them are tearfully happy to see each other again.  Steve learns that during his decades-long absence, his sweetheart Gail ended up marrying Bucky and they lived good lives.  Even though Steve’s longtime lass was presently at home, she decides not to see him yet in order to cope with the situation.  Shortly afterwards, he visits a cemetery where his former comrades have long since departed from this plane of existance.  Fury arrives and tells Rogers that he still has his country, also that his services are needed now more than ever.

Captain America-Fury's New Field General! Thor-Thou Shalt Not Sway Thine Hand Of Greenpeace!

As they fly off to continue their recruitment tour, Steve learns from Fury that he’s been chosen as the team leader.  Nick then proceeds to give him the files of his fellow teammates in order to learn up on them.  Shortly afterwards, we cut to an oceanic standoff where Thor (voiced by David Boat) has sided with demonstrators whose boats are blocking those that belong to a group of whalers.  Despite a hostile threat, the mighty figure refuses to bow down.

Thor-Whalers Are But Ants To Me! (2) Thor-Thou Shall Face Thine Wrath!

As such, a whaler fires a warning shot that lands near Thor.  This provokes him enough to bring out his signature weapon Mjolnir and summon a lightning storm, causing the opposing ship to get pelted by waves, high winds and ice shards.  As a result, it ends up scaring the whalers into retreating back to port.

Thor-Thine Offer Is Declined! Thor-Fury's Team Shall Have A Great Leader!

Shortly afterwards, Nick and Steve arrive at the boat and invite the Asgardian to join their team against the impending crisis.  Thor turns down the offer, but is confident that Rogers will be the team’s conscience.

Hulk-Destructive Past!

As our heroes arrive back in New York City, Steve notices that part of it has been ravaged.  Fury tells him that it was caused by Bruce Banner’s alter-ego, the Hulk.  He then shows Rogers some footage of the gamma giant’s rampage while explaining that this monstrous being came to be when Bruce survived a gamma explosion and that his strength increases as long as he’s angry.

The next day, Fury assembles his new team in the war room (including Bruce Banner and Betty Ross) to explain their mission.  To his surprise, even Iron Man had a change of heart as he also shows up.  With everyone gathered, Fury tells his team about Captain America’s valiant deed from decades ago.  He reveals why the Nazis suddenly had capabilities to pocess a nuclear missile: an alien race called the Chitauri.  It turns out that they’re still hiding on Earth, which is why the SHIELD-1 satellite was launched and eventually attacked.  As an added bonus, a Chitauri warship that was destroyed from the nuclear missile was made of an unearthly metal called vibranium.  Being able to withstand opposing energy forces, it easily resists a gunshot, the fires of a flamethrower and a small rocket launcher.  Also, the vibranium that S.H.I.E.L.D. recovered was minimal.  Despite the seemingly overwhelming odds against our heroes, neither one bows out of the mission.

Chitauri-Your Identity Is Mine! Chitauri-Your Identity Is Mine! (2)

We then cut to a quick scene at a military base where a Chitauri alien attacks a military policeman on patrol.  After killing his prey by jabbing its claws into the victim, it proceeds to shape-shift and become the guard before heading inside the building.

Captain America-Here Comes A Blast From The Past! Captain America-The Painful Origin!

Back at the Triskelion, Steve makes his way towards Bruce Banner’s office.  Upon seeing the Rebirth Chamber, he suddenly flashes back to the original Super-Soldier program where he received his super-strength.  Afterwards, he examines the various artifacts of the past S.S. project before Bruce arrives.

Captain America-There's Still Hope, Bruce!

After taking another blood sample, Banner says that the project is going swimmingly.  When Steve tells him that he knows about his vicious alter-ego, Bruce exclaims that this experiment is what will ultimately help him have complete control over the Hulk.  However, Rogers doesn’t think that it can work.  Shortly afterwards, he’s given the call to assemble as he takes off for the mission.

Bruce Banner-Hulk Need No Meds! Bruce Banner-Betty's Trust Is Betrayed!

Furious that not ever Captain America sides with his theories, Bruce starts lashing out in his office.  Fortunately, Betty catches this in time as she grabs a sedative and injects it into Banner, allowing him to calm down.  She becomes disappointed in the fact that Bruce has been ignoring his medications in order to get his work done.  As such, she takes her leave in sadness.

Captain America-Here's Your New Shield! (2) Captain America-Here's Your New Shield!

With the team assembled at the heliport, Fury informs them that a lone Chitauri alien has broken into a military base and killed everyone inside in order to find the schematics to SHIELD-1, evening putting the base in security lock-down.  Their mission is to stop the alien and bring him back to base for studies.  As such, Fury presents Steve with his new shield made out of vibranium and adamantium fragments.

Chitauri-All Of Your Tech Info Belongs To Us!

Meanwhile inside the military base, the Chitauri alien pulls out a device from inside itself where it proceeds to hack into S.H.I.E.L.D.’s computer mainframe and download the schematics on all of their tech & security codes.  Fury and company tries to prevent this from happening, but all of their lockout codes have been nullified.

Avengers-Mission Is Go!

Outside, the Avengers arrive at the base as Iron Man flies in and joins up with them.  Captain America warns his team about the automated weaponry that separates them from the central hub.  Immediately, Wasp shrinks down, grabs a headset communicator and flies in assuring him that her tiny figure will let her get by without setting it off.  Cap then orders Iron Man to fly above the base and scan through the building in order to find out where the alien’s current location is while he and Black Widow enter the compound through different locations.  To his dismay, Giant Man is told to stay outside so that he can go after the lone alien should it escape.

Wasp-This Is What Happens When You're Overconfident! Iron Man-This Is What Happens When You Go Against The Plan!

As our heroes make their way deep within the compound, Captain America tells Wasp to hold her position until everyone else can arrive due to the growing threat of infrared triggers, to which Janet shrugs off with confidence.  Suddenly, she flies past one of the triggers which blows up and injures her.  Against Cap’s orders, Iron Man decides to go in and save Wasp.  Tony manages to find her, but an automated weapon manages to shoot him, causing him to get pounded by numerous triggers and get hurt in the process.

Captain America-Compitent To The Mission! Black Widow-Able To Follow Orders!

Meanwhile, Captain America and Black Widow manage to dodge the automated fire and make their way further into the compound.  Upon their arrival however, Cap notices several armed charges already planted onto numerous satellites as they end up retreating.

Giant Man-This Is What Happens When You Disobey Orders! Chitauri-Mission Complete!

The Chitauri alien then presses a trigger, activating the explosives.  Due to Giant Man leaving his post in order to try and save his wife, he gets caught within the blast and is knocked out, allowing their foe to easily escape.

Wasp-Iron Man Is Dying! Iron Man-Identity Revealed!

Meanwhile, Captain America and Black Widow manage to locate Wasp who says that Iron Man is suffocating in his outfit and is unable to get his helmet off.  Cap easily manages to remove the mask piece as he and his team discover who their comrade really is, Tony Stark.

Avengers-Mission Failed! Avengers-Mission Failed! (2)

Shortly after the Avengers limp away from the wrecked compound, Fury arrives and berates the team for not saving the satellites and letting the alien escape.  He’s especially mad at Hank Pym for leaving his post and promptly kicks him off the team.  As such, Giant Man and Wasp take their leave as does Iron Man.  Distraught over the failed mission and the team’s lack of cohesion, Cap gives Fury his shield back and walks off as Black Widow follows in order to talk to him.

Black Widow-It's Not Your Fault, Cap!

A short time later, she catches up to Steve and let’s him know that the failed mission wasn’t his fault.  Black Widow assures him that even though the team has its flaws, they knew the risks going in and she even approves of his performance.  However, Cap is still shouldering the blame for what happened and isn’t willing to accept pity at the moment.

Iron Man-Contemplation Time! Wasp-We Let Cap Down!

While Iron Man contemplates over the transpired events, we have a brief moment at Pym Industries where Janet tries to convince her husband that it was their own faults and that they should tell that to Fury and Cap.  Hank angrily states that it was a mistake for Steve to be put in charge of the team.  Wasp then berates him on how it’s “always everyone else’s fault” and never him, causing Giant Man to storm out of the building.

Later, Nick Fury arrives back at S.H.I.E.L.D. after previously contacting Bruce Banner and learning that the Super-Soldier serum is finally ready.  Upon arriving in the labs however, he finds out that Betty Ross wasn’t informed of this.  They also discover that Bruce was discretely working the formula on his own blood and there’s absolutely no trial results on the proper candidates.  When Banner arrives back at his lab, Fury berates him for wasting away their precious resources in an attempt at controlling the Hulk.  Just then, he’s contacted and informed that the Chitauri have appeared for battle as he takes his leave.

At that moment, Bruce manages to grab one of his bloodied serums and makes it to the Rebirth Chamber where he properly installs it and locks himself inside.  With Betty unable to stop the process, Banner is enveloped in a chemical mixture.  As the formulaic gas pours onto him, Bruce starts his painful transformation into the Hulk (also voiced by Fred Tatasciore).  Upon the completed process, the Gamma Giant breaks out but doesn’t harm Betty as he demonstrates his fluent speech and firm control over himself to her.

SHIELD-In Final Battle! Chitauri-It's On!

With the Chitauri forces approaching, S.H.I.E.L.D. launches a heli-carrier and sends a squadron of fighter jets out to combat the threatening opposition.  However, their missiles fail to do any damage due to the alien ships being made out of vibranium.  As such, the Chitauri easily wipes out the squadron and blasts the helicarrier out of the sky.  Afterwards, they begin their attack on S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters by first cutting off the power supply and follow up by sending down their own armada as they proceed to begin their attack.

The invading aliens even blast their way towards the Rebirth Chamber as the Hulk uses his body to protect Betty from the falling debris.  After smashing up towards another room and telling his love to run for it, the gamma giant joins in on the fracas and proceeds to smash up his opposition.  Nick Fury and Black Widow arrive to save her from more invading Chitarui forces as Betty warns them that Bruce has become the Hulk again.

Upon seeing Captain America’s return, Black Widow throws him his shield where he proceeds to defeat several Chitarui aliens.  Shortly afterwards, they’re greeted by the sight of Giant Man, Wasp and Iron Man arriving to help out as the Avengers find themselves reunited again.  As such, they proceed to effectively fight back and even create openings in the Chitauri’s vibranium armor to exploit the newly-exposed weaknesses.

However, a remaining alien ship nearly catches them off guard with a fierce energy blast.  Fortunately, Thor returns as he summons up a large amount of lightning which strikes the Chitauri space craft with enough force to disable it and explode.

At the same time, the Hulk manages to defeat the remaining Chitauri aliens as Captain America heads over to tell him that the battle has ended.  However, the gamma giant smacks Cap away as he begins to lose control of himself.  The rest of the Avengers try to fight back, but the Hulk continues to easily beat up his comrades.

Thor-Face Thine Might, Hulk! Thor-A Physical Match For Hulk!

With everyone defeated, Thor steps in and proceeds to smack the Hulk around with his trusty hammer, Mjolnir, and proves to be a physical match against the gamma giant.  With the God of Thunder buying the Avengers some time, Captain America orders Betty to go round up the strongest amount of sedative that she can get.

Hulk-I'm Worthy! Captain America-Gotta Get This Uber-Powered Teammate Under Control!

However, the Hulk manages to rip the cannon off of a tank and smacks Thor with it, causing the God of Thunder to drop his hammer.  The rampaging beast sees Mjolnir and tries to pick it up.  Although he struggles at first, the Hulk surprises Thor by being able to lift it up and throw it at the son of Odin, hitting him hard enough to knock him out.  Fortunately, Captain America arrives to save Thor.

Giant Man rejoins the fight as he grabs the Hulk and tries to contain him in his own hand.  However, the rampaging figure forces his way out, jumps onto Hank’s throat and tries to choke him.  Fortunately, Wasp manages to save her husband by blasting the Hulk with her stingers.

After Iron Man recovers, the Avengers continue to try and get their rampaging friend under control.  After Betty returns with a stronger sedative, Captain America orders Iron Man and Giant Man to subdue the Hulk.  They manage to do so as Tony blasts the gamma giant with a powerful repulsor beam before Hank punches the rampaging machine into the ground.

Captain America-I Can't Get A Lock On The Hulk!Hulk-Get Out Of My Head, Wasp!

However, the Hulk manages to recover and continues his vicious assault.  His constant movement prevents Captain America from getting a clear shot, so Wasp tries to help out by shrinking down and going into the gamma giant’s ear in order to mess with his equilibrium.  However, the Hulk is able to smack Janet out of his head and notices Captain America trying to sedate him.  As such, he throws a rock at Cap which hits the tranquilizer gun hard enough to knock the sedative out.  From there, he picks up Steve and tries to squeeze the air out of his lungs.

Fortunately, Black Widow picks up the sedative and manages to jump onto the Hulk’s back as she properly injects him before getting knocked unconscious.  To help the stimulant work properly, Betty steps in and has him calm down.  The medicine proceeds to do its job as the Hulk grows tired and collapses, causing him to transform back into Bruce Banner.

Betty Ross-The Painful Visit! Bruce Banner-Paying For His Actions!

We cut to the next day as we see the aftermath of the climatic battle.  Because of his actions in both the Super-Soldier experiment and as the Hulk, Bruce Banner is held in a special containment cell as Betty visits but doesn’t bother to speak to him.

Captain America-Reunited With The Past! (2) Captain America-Reunited With The Past!

Meanwhile, Steve Rogers is recovering in bed as he receives a visit from his friend Bucky.  It turns out he brought his wife Gale with him so that she can catch up on some old times with Cap.

Iron Man-Cap's Our Man! Avengers-Cap's Our Man!

Upon being able to move around out of his bed, Steve heads outside to find his teammates waiting for him as Tony Stark and company give proper toast to their respected leader.

Captain America-Here's A Well-Deserved Sting On The Lips! Black Widow-We Did Good, Fury!

Steve is then rewarded with plenty of praise from his teammates.  After giving him a well-earned kiss, Black Widow heads up to Nick Fury and compliments him for putting this team together.  And so, the film ends with Captain America inviting them back down to join in on the well-deserved hero’s picnic.

Nuck Fury-Let's Monitor This Satellite!

Since I don’t own any of the 13 issues that made up the original Ultimates series, I’ll jump right into character evaluations and kick things off the man who put this initiative together, Nick Fury.  He’s head-strong towards making the Avengers a successful team despite his initial doubts.  At the beginning, he has the utmost confidence in figures like Captain America & Black Widow while not as much faith in people like Giant Man and Iron Man.  While the situation keeps him tied down at S.H.I.E.L.D. long enough for there to be not enough of a character arc to become defined, he does fight alongside our heroes near the end against the main threat of the film.  Because he and the rest of the team return for another entry, I’ll save my final look at his character arc for that review.  Until then, he’s a hard-nosed general (even if somewhat stereotypical to a degree) who strives for a better tomorrow.

Bruce Banner-We Found Our Super-Soldier!Hulk-The Pampaging Giant!

One of the more interesting character arcs comes in the form of Bruce Banner.  It’s an absolute pain that he has a literal creature of destruction inside of him and wants to do something in order to fully grasp the Hulk whenever he wants to.  When the Super-Soldier project starts to make progress, he’s feeling positive that his ulterior motive will finally help him out.  However, he gets desperate when the higher-ups wants results sooner than expected, so he starts getting desperate as he stops taking his medication, despite the fact that it actually helps with keeping the Hulk in check.  Bruce seemingly gets what he hoped for when his own experiment works, but then the Hulk lashes out on his teammates once the Chitauri has been defeated.  I’m assuming that he burned through his Super-Soldier serum and that it takes longer to wear off than it does the sedative that subdues him in the end.  It’s to be seen where this character goes in the follow-up since he’s locked up at the end and he now has to pay for trying to cure his problem behind S.H.I.E.L.D.’s back, so one wonders how Banner will attempt to redeem himself.

Captain America-Leading The Charge Against The Nazi's Last Stand!

The one who has the best character arc of the film is my personal favorite Marvel hero, Captain America.  He’s a man out of his own time period after succeeding in his WWII mission, only to end up on Atlantic ice for his troubles.  After getting thawed out in modern times, he has to adjust to the surrounding culture (which is does when he visits Bucky) while S.H.I.E.L.D. helps him continue to have purpose in his life in helping to fight for a greater cause.  He doubts himself as team leader after the Avengers’ first mission became botched, but ultimately regains his confidence during the climax.  Helping out in this regard is Black Widow, who ends up being his biggest supporter since.  There seems to be a bit of a romance between the two and we’ll see where that goes along his character arc when we hit up the sequel.

Outside of that, there’s little else in terms of character arcs or development.  Giant Man starts off as a cocky and overly-confident hero who’s attitude clashes with Fury and eventually his wife Janet.  In the end, he becomes more of a team player because of the experience.  Meanwhile, Wasp serves as his means of being more tolerable to the team.  She’s determined, has a perky charm, and is more willing to accept her mistakes right away.  Her over-confidence in the team’s first mission is nowhere near the same level as her husband, but it also helps to make her a well-rounded character.  With Black Widow, she’s basically very loyal to Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. and proves to be very skilled in combat.  She’s impressed with Captain America’s skills during the inaugural mission and her kiss towards him does hint at a possible romance in the next film.  Then, we have Iron Man.  He’s starts off as S.H.I.E.L.D.’s main tech supplier and some how, he’s been able to hide his identity from them.  After he turns down Fury’s offer, he changes his mind off-screen and joins the Avengers just as they have their first briefing.  It’s never explained why he ultimately decides to team-up after shunning them initially, yet his charisma and suave charm does shine enough alongside his technological intelligence.

Thor-Feel But A Taste Of Heaven's Wrath!

Without a doubt, Thor is the least developed character in the bunch.  Outside of the details that Nick Fury gives to Captain America, he doesn’t have much time to shine.  It definitely hurts him in that he’s only in three scenes and after his introductory scene where he shows off some of his power but isn’t interesting in joining, he has a off-screen change of heart just like Iron Man and reappears in the climax.  Maybe he contacts the Avengers of his re-decision since he does say “Sorry, I’m late.” so maybe he was contacted somehow, but like Iron Man, there’s no explanation on what made him change his mind.  One hopes that the second film gives him more to do.

Black Widow-You've Got All The Help U Need, Cap!

The animation is definitely the standout of the film.  This pre-dates the DC Universe Animated Original movie line by at least a year and yet it’s so fluent, it still stands up today.  From the colors to the lip-sync, it’s hard for me to find anything wrong in that category.  The action scenes have a fair amount of thrill to them, as the action moves at a good pace and never feels tiring in the slightest.  Each Avenger makes the most out their screen times to show off their powers and abilities whenever the situation calls for it.  The story is basic yet engaging, as it’s an invasion story that bides its time after the Chitauri have been initially defeated in World War II.  Sure, they haven’t killed off any humans and secretly replaced them,  but their armor and weaponary makes them enough of a threat for our heroes to deal with.

Avengers-Gotta Get A Friend Under Control!

Overall, this is a fairly decent start to the series.  While every character isn’t completly fleshed out and developed (hopefully that’s rectified in the sequel), they’re still fun enough to be engaging and likable.  The action never overstays its welcome, the plot is easy enough to follow, and the animation really shines through.  It’s worth a watch for an Avengers fix and also to see how this series began.

Next Time: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes return for another mission.  However, a blast from the past awaits them as he’s after something precious within the dark continent.  Fortunately, its champion will rise up and join the fight as we dig into “Ultimate Avengers 2: Rise Of The Panther”.

Avengers (created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby) is owned by Marvel Comics.

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