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Rated PG-13 Runtime: 71 minutes Release: 2006
Ultimate Avengers The Movie
I had a birthday recently. Its about the only time of year besides Christmas when I can expect a phone call from my cheap ass friends back home. An old buddy was telling me how he just saw this Avengers movie, but I'd never heard of it. The conversation then went back into the usual stuff, like "How's your sister doing?", "You seen Such-and-such lately?", and "Dude, you won't believe what happened last week." , but I made a mental note to find out what movie my friend was talking about. After all, I'm an old school comic book fan so I was interested in it.
Then I totally forgot about it in the following weeks.
Until I saw it for rent in the video store. Now I haven't collected comic books for years, so I'm not completely up on the Ultimate line of Marvel Characters. I know its a bit of a retcon on some of their most famous characters and from the buzz I see on some forum online the Ultimates are pretty good. Now for those of you that aren't super-hero fans this might be a bit confusing, so I'll try to be as clear as possible.
The story starts in the ending days of World War II. The US Army is preparing to attack a secret nazi stronghold where intelligence tells them the krauts have a new super weapon. The soldiers are led by none other than the Living Legend of World War II, Captain America. In both versions of the Marvel Universe (which from now on be called MU so I can stop typing "Marvel Universe") Captain America is the result of an experiment to crreate superhuman soldiers. The Super Soldier serum couldn't be replicated after the gubmint used it on Steve Rogers so Captain america is the ONLY supersoldier made. Cap finds the nazi weapon, a nuclear missile they've built with the help of aliens called the Chitauri. Cap manages to scuttle the missile in flight as it heads for Washington DC but is lost in the sea. His frozen body is retrieved in the present day by General Nick Fury and Professor Betty Ross. Heres where things are a lot different from the old comics I used to read. In the Ultimate Universe, Nick Fury is a black man. But in the mainstream MU Fury himself was a sergeant in WWII (He even had his own comic book, "SGT Fury and his Howling Commandoes" and later "Nick Fury, Agent of Shield") In both of those books Fury is a cigar chomping tough as nails white guy. Hell, only the typical science fiction explanation in comics can explain how Fury....a soldier in WWII is still young enough to have adventures as a spy in the modern world. I guess the Ultimate Nick Fury never fought in WWII. Betty Ross...well, she's always been a love interest/ supporting character for the Hulk. In the original Hulk stories she was always just a "damsel in distress" but later versions of here like this one (and her character in The Hulk movie) have been scientists. And just FYI if you didn't know, SHIELD, the organization Fury leads and Betty works for is one of those High Tech organizations that protect us all from evil High tech organizations and aliens and stuff. (SHIELD origianlly stood for Supreme Headquarters I-something, E-something, Law enforcement Division, but I hear its been changed to some other nonsensical string of words that spell Shield.)
Well, SHIELD is stunned to find that Captain America isn't dead...he revives after being thawed out. They had hoped to examine his body as to unlock the secrets of the super soldier serum and create more super soldiers. But with Captain America alive they can have an easier time of it, by examining his blood. Their lead researcher in this endeavor is Dr. Bruce Banner, the alter ego of the Hulk. Everyone knows Banner is the Hulk, but he takes sedatives that keep him calm so he won't change into the Hulk. (You won't like him when he's angry). It seems after the Nazi's were beaten the Chitauri stayed on Earth. SHIELD knows they have three ships on the planet, and has taken measures to track and destroy them. To aid in this General Fury wants to recruit other superbeings into a team under the command of Captain America. The team they want consists of the members of the original comic book Avengers, in their updated Ultimate Universe forms. The Wasp and Giant-Man, Iron Man and Thor. Fury's aide happens to be the Black Widow, a second tier superheroine that started off as an Iron Man villainess/russain spy in the 60's, led the super team the Champions in the 70's and who know what after that. But in the Ultimate Universe she works for Fury apparently. Thats a good thing, because Giant-Man, Iron Man and Thor don't want to. This flick doesn't go into what past they may have had with Fury, but apparently theres some friction there. Thor and Giant-Man metnion some encounters from the past, and Iron Man just seems to want to be a loner.
Despite their differences the heroes try to work together when a SHIELD facility is breached by the Chitauri. Fury orders them to stop the Chitauri from hacking into their computers there and to capture the alien. The mission is a disaster though as none of the others listens to Captain America's orders and end up getting hurt and allowing the alien to escape with the info he was stealing AND destroy the facility. Fury chews out the team for their failure, and they do deserve it, but that only helps break up the team.
With an idea of the SHIELD strengths and defenses, the Chitauri begin an all out assualt on the HQ in New York. Fury discovers that Banner has not only been skipping his meds that keep him from turning into the Hulk, he's been using the Blood sampl,es from Captain America to seek a way for him to remain in control as the Hulk instead of recreating the super soldier serum. The General doesn't have time to kick Banner's ass like he wants to because the Chitauri are storming the place. In desperation Banner uses the formula he's been working on and becomes the Hulk. At first he's in control, and uses the Hulk's power to fight the aliens, but he soon turnsinto the raging, screaming "Hulk Smash" cabbagehead of the Hulk we all know and love. The others show up, and the team makes short work of the aliens to be honest. Unfortunately the Hulk has gone completely off his nut from SMASHING aliens and attacks the other heroes. Now, some of you younger folks may not know this, but the original Avengers line up included The Hulk. He joined the team but left shortly after, mostly because the Hulk is, well, basically, a living engine of destruction. And as usual, most heroes get completely owned when they try to stop him. The hulk puts a serious hurt on all of the heroes, including Thor, which is a bit suprising. Thor in the MU is probably one of the few heroes who can stand toe to toe with the Hulk strength wise. The Hulk is finally put down when the Black Widow manages to pump him full of the drugs that Banner had been using to NOT change into the Hulk.
The victory of the "Avengers" seems to have made the heroes reconsider teaming up under Captain America. Banner is of course locked away under SHIELD guard, but I think we can be sure that the Hulk will escape eventually.
The Ultimate avengers runs at only 71 minutes and it could have used another 20 I think. Yeah, its fine enough for people that know about the Comic book version, but you have to take a lot of things at face value. You don't really get to find out why Billionaire Tonmy Stark created his Iron Man armor, how the Wasp got her powers or how Thor got his. As a comics fan I know the original origins of these heroes but I damn sure don't know the Ultimate versions and they seem a bit different from the originals in some ways.
If Marvel is testing this out to see if a series is viable I hope they try to expand on this. And as a comics gfan I naturally hope there are more. Hell, Justice League was pretty good. Maybe the Avengers can be too.
Best Lines: "No Hulk! Fight ME!" -Captain America challenges a rampaging Hulk.
Are you kidding me?
1.) This flick was rated PG-13 but they didn't pamper it too much! When the aliens attack a SHIELD satellite we're treated to seeing an astronaut begin to burn up with her shuttle on reentry as she screams "We're burning up!" and when the aliens attack SHIELD HQ they show soldiers being disintergrated!
2.) This is kind of nitpicky, but its a peeve I've had with the Avengers forever. Its Giant-Man. Come on....Giant-Man? Even the name is lame. And his powers are to what...turn into a giant? Big Whoop. I can't think of too many other heroes lamer enough to even be beaten by Giant-Man. (and FYI: Giant-Man was Ant-Man, too. Geez...this guy is TWO dumbass heroes. Super-Chicken is cooler than Giant-Man!
3.)Captain America has always been the Boy Scout of the MU. He's one of those guys that doesn't kill his foes because he's the hero. (Any bad guys that die in the comics usually do so because their plan backfires, not because Cap went all "Punisher" on them) So imagine my surprise when Cap impales the Nazi officer with his shield in the beginning of the movie. (Cap's original shield from WWII was originally a V shaped one not the familiar round one we're familiar with. Theres no way you can convince me that Cap didn't mean to kill the guy. Yeah, the alien turned out to be an alien, and he was a nazi so who cares. I just never expected to see Captain America kill someone. e of those guys with the "He
4.) In the forums I've read there was a discussion on how Captain America could survive a hit from the Hulk. A lot of folks say that the Ultimate Universe Cap is a bit stronger than the MU version. In the MU Cap is supposed to be as strong as a human being can possibly be. But in the Ultimatre Universe he's supposedly strong enough to lift 3 tons. Still, the Hulk can lift 100+ tons (These are Marvel's numbers, not mine) so I can't see how a blow from the Hulk wouldn't kill him.
Nudity and Sex: None
Good Grief, Giant-Man is lame. And he has the nerve to tell Cap that he's the most powerful member on the team. Compared to Iron Man? Is he kidding? The Hulk makes mincemeat out of Giant-Man too, and its funny. At one point he punches the giant in the knee which brings him to scream in agony and a bit later he practically strangles him. Geez, this guy is useless. They'd have been better off with Coo-Coo man from the old "Mighty Heroes" cartoon.
It'd be nice if they explained how the Wasp got her powers. Seriously.
Ok, I'll admit this is fueled by the fact that Iron Man has always been one of my favorite heroes....but they sure made him a wuss in this flick. (I do like the voice he has though) I've had comics where old Shellhead (Iron Man's nickname) has fought the Hulk and nearly beaten him. Heck, there was one where he actually knocked the Hulk out. In this flick though he gets his armored pants kicked off of his ass by the Hulk. Now i'm not saying he should have beaten the Hulk but Iron Man should be able to give the Hulk a bit more of a challenge. Captain America lasted longer than he did!
They never explained why the Chitauri were helping the Nazis, why they were still on Earth in the present or where exactly they came from.
The Final Judgment: The Utlimate Avengers is one of those movies thats only going to appeal to comic book fans. It would get 4 devil heads, but i have to take one back because they should have gone further into the origins of some of the heroes. Thor comes to mind. That'd be sure to confuse anyone with no prior knowledge of the MU.
Starring: Justin Gross, Grey DeLisle, Michael Massee, Olivia d' Abo, Marc Worden, Nan McNamara, Nolan North, Andre Ware, David Boat, Fred Tatasciore, Jim Ward
Directed by: Curt Geda, Steven E. Gordon
Written by: Bryan Hitch Greg Johnson