Ultimate Avengers: The Movie

Ultimate Avengers: The Movie (2006, 72 minutes)

Plot: SHIELD head Nick Fury assembles a group of heroes including Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow, and a newly reawakened Captain America to fight a Chitauri invasion.

Source material: This is based on Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch’s excellent but problematic and questionably aging The Ultimates vol. 1. A number of plot elements and even a few scenes are adapted. Unfortunately it mostly takes that work and puts the two halves in a blender. It also drains all of the satire and adult content from it. While it’s nice to avoid the spousal abuse in the first arc, there’s a clear sense this is for kids while the book is for adults. It also takes a number of liberties with the characters including a secret identity for Iron Man.

Animation: While I knocked Doctor Strange for its at times TV feel, this really had that throughout. This is for all intents and purposes a tv pilot, even more so than Justice League: War. The animation is jerky and while the film uses the Bryan Hitch designs, they only stand out worse for it as the only attractive things in it. Characters are completely on a G.I. Joe level.

Script: This movie suffers dramatically for having another film to compare it to, in this case the live action Avengers film from writer/director Joss Whedon that blows it out of the water. It’s not like this was a good script in 2006 though. It’s workable, sure, but it suffers from atrocious, rushed pacing. This moves like a cartoon episode, not like a film. Characters are written with absolutely no subtlety. And again, there is zero edge to this which stings given that the source had it in droves.

Voice acting: Par. I really hate that I can’t be nicer to these films that actually tap people who work in this field instead of celebrities getting a paycheck. But this feels like they were told to play it at a tv cartoon level. There’s no sophistication here. The dialogue is rough admittedly but the acting just didn’t work.

Final rating: I want to point this out. There exists a movie you can watch right now that, while not a theoretically direct version of Millar and Hitch’s work, actually captures the edge and intelligence of the book. That film is the live action Avengers movie which pulsates with life. 99% of you have seen that film instead and you’re far better for it. No question about it, this is a 1/5.

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