Sat…er…Wednesday Movie Review: “Ultimate Avengers”

In Fiz’s defense, he did give us these last week before he left.

Cast, Crew, and Other Info

Justin Gross as Captain America
Grey DeLisle as the Wasp
Michael Massee as Bruce Banner
Olivia d’Abo as the Black Widow
Marc Worden as Iron Man
Nan McNamara as Betty Ross
Nolan North as Giant Man
Andre Ware as Nick Fury
David Boat as Thor
Fred Tatasciore as the Hulk

Screenplay by Greg Johnson, who shares credit for the story with Boyd Kirkland and Craig Kyle.
Directed by Curt Geda and Steven E. Gordon

Complete information is available from the IMDB.

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In a direct to video adaptation of The Ultimates more than The Avengers, Captain America is found and thawed out just in time to lead a civilian team into combat against the alien Chitauri.

High Point

Thor’s arrival, and confidence as he faces the foe who will be less obliging than the rock giants.

Low Point

Captain America’s voice lacks the authority I’d hoped for. (In fact, the special features with the fan applications had a rare few individuals I’d have chosen instead.) Frank Miller described how his voice should be during his “Born Again” arc on Daredevil. Quoting from issue 233: “A SOLDIER with a voice that can command a GOD – and DOES.” This isn’t the impression I get from the Captain American in this movie.

The Scores

This does lack originality, for sure. It’s an adaptation of an adaptation of a comic meant to copy the JLA comics at DC. While it’s certainly aimed at an older audience than most other animated series (innocent people die, for example), it’s still not quite as tough-edged as some of them. I give it 2 out of 6.

The animation has two distinct aspects. On one hand, we’ve got traditional hand-drawn characters, who don’t move as smoothly or as naturally as they should. (The steady shoulders and constant walking pace of some characters really irritates me in this day and age.) On the other hand, the animation effects used to zoom, reflect heat distortion and so forth is actually quite good. In short, the animation itself is poor, but the animation effects are excellent. I give it 4 out of 6.

The story is primarily a combination of the first run on The Ultimates by Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch. They’ve removed most of the character work for characters who aren’t Captain America, left out a few of the Avengers, and compressed the alien battle and Hulk rampage into the same instance, leaving us with a pretty basic plotline. There was nothing extraneous in this 71 minute flick, though Hank’s change of heart does seem to be missing. I give it 4 out of 6.

The voice acting had only one major flaw: the choice of voice casting for the lead character. There are other minor issues (including d’Abo’s Russian accent) which are there, but there is also some great work from Worden, Ware, McNamara and Boat to offset that aspect. I give it 4 out of 6.

The emotional response is still fairly good. Yes, it’s a borrowed plot, but they picked a good plot to borrow, and this is the first chance to really see this group of characters in motion working together. It’s fun for the fanboys like myself. I give it 5 out of 6.

The production is fairly well done. The camera angles and movement are fairly extravagent, using many of the moves that are generally reserved for live action sets where you can mount a camera on a crane. I give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, it’s a movie that’s fun for us fanboys, but won’t turn you into a fanboy if the comics haven’t already. I give it 4 out of 6.

In total, Ultimate Avengers receives 28 out of 42.