Ultimate Avengers 2
Ultimate Avengers 2 2006
While I’m still moving at a bit slower pace than I planned to, I’m still moving through the animated Avengers movies before writing down a full fledged review for Age of Ultron, though if you can’t wait to hear my thoughts I was on a recent Lambcast where I discussed it with several other Lamb members. The sequel to the animated Ultimate Avengers brings back the entire cast along with newcomer Black Panther. The sequel tries to amp up the action, the danger, and the consequences but it’s difficult to do with the way this cast of characters is portrayed. It doesn’t help that the Chitauri aliens aren’t any more interesting than they were in the first film. The result it a lot of the same old same old that just doesn’t have a big payoff at the end. There’s nothing terribly wrong with this film, but it doesn’t do anything new, fresh, or exciting throughout its entire runtime.
After the events of the first Ultimate Avengers movie we have the Avengers dealing with what happened during their alien attack. Captain America is throwing himself into the line of duty to avoid dealing with sixty years of lost time. Bruce Banner is in S.H.I.E.L.D. jail for wasting the entire super soldier serum research on his own goals of making the Hulk controllable only to attack his fellow Avengers. Pym is still an arrogant, verbally abusive husband trying to make himself go past the 60′ limit as Giant Man. And Thor is busy throwing runes and getting visions of the Avengers all being dead, kind of like the vision that Iron Man got in Age of Ultron. Meanwhile, Iron Man, Black Widow, and Wasp are pretty much the same and insignificant to the plot.
But what’s really important this time around is the introduction of Black Panther, in fact even the subtitle which has somehow gotten lost along the way is Rise of the Panther. In the opening, we get to see his father wearing the mantle of the Black Panther face off against the shapeshifting Chitauri who still wears the Nazi uniform even though it doesn’t really have any relevance to anything at this point in time. And in order to save his son, T’Chaka uses the power of the panther to turn his head into a panther’s head which gives him extra power for some reason. For a country that can cast Vibranium into anything, you would think that they could have a little bit more protection on their Black Panther suit. And of course, the Wakandans are extremely xenophobic as they must protect their little Savage Land glade filled with alien technology and a giant vibranium meteorite. But T’Chala takes it upon himself to venture out into the world to seek information (not help) from Steve Rogers specifically. For some reason.
Since this is a sequel, it does feel the need to ramp everything up in every possible way. There’s more Chitauri, this time in a giant mothership that encircles the entire Earth with this green membrane that drops what looks like those gooey balls that either explode or turn into the tripods from War of the Worlds only with four legs. They end up being defeated because Bruce Banner figures out that gamma radiation can weaken vibranium. The one fun little moment was when Betty Ross actually got a moment to be a woman badass with a gamma gun alongside Wasp. But like in the first live action Avengers movie, it’s Iron Man that gets to be the big hero that sacrifices himself for the greater good, only not really. And like the second live action Avengers movie we also get a death that didn’t really feel that important in the grand scheme of things. After spending the entire first half of the movie being a complete arrogant bastard to everyone especially his wife Wasp, he has a change of heart once Janet takes a Chitauri blast. When it’s Iron Man’s time to charge into the mothership, Hank ignores Janet’s warnings about his body being unable to take the stress and goes from being Giant Man to Ant Man to Giant Man and back to normal so he dies.
Honestly, pretty much every character in this movie has a near death moment. Wasp gets shot and spends a few minutes in a coma before being able to join in the big climactic fight. Cap and Black Panther fight the shapeshifting Chitauri to their own near deaths before burying him in a giant block of vibranium. And Banner gets gassed to death in his little glass jail cell only to have a brief moment as the Hulk before running off forever, until the next movie. Which seems to be yet another connection to Age of Ultron. It’s so interesting that this seems to be so different from the comics, and yet there’s several similarities to the live action movies. It’s too bad that these aren’t better movies in their own rights, though they do have the excuse that they were the first ones done, and years before the live action films started to set the tone for how Marvel characters are handled. It’s not enough to recommend to most people though, and it’s also stuck in that middle ground that’s too violent for younger kids, but also too simple and straightforward for adults. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.