Last year, Marvel Entertainment and Lions Gate Entertainment teamed up to produce the first ever animated feature length Marvel movie, Ultimate Avengers: The Movie. It was the story of seven very different heroes who were recruited by the US Government to stop and alien invasion.
Capitan America, Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk, Giant Man, Wasp and the Black Widow were all brought together by Nick Fury to save the world, but they had to overcome their differences first. This movie was based on the popular Avengers revamp from a few years back called the Ultimates. With solid writing and strong animation, this direct-to-DVD release was a hit with comicbook geeks everywhere.
Well guess what! The aliens are back for round two and Nick Fury is calling on his team once again to save the world. This time, the aliens seem to have an interest in the African land of Wakanda! Will the Black Panther be able to save his land or will he have to bite his lip and call for extra fire power?
This sequel delivers the same strong animation as the last release. I am so glad to see that every bit of effort is being put into this to produce quality work. It is some of the strongest animation that Marvel characters has seen yet (next to X-Men: Evolution). The characters are on model and the action sequences rich and exciting.
The story is not as strong as in the last one. This film, not being based on any previous comic storyline, takes liberties with the characters and their history. This may bother the fanboys but if you see this as a new telling of classic characters, like the Ultimate franchise, then you should be fine. While I do like the story of the Black Panther, the Avengers seem out of place in Wakanda and the aliens seem especially out of place. Maybe is it because we are so used to seeing alien invasions in big cities that it just seems weird in the jungles of Wakanda.
Marvel's live actions features, like Spider-Man and X-Men, have been so successful because they play up the reality. They focus on the human aspects and therefore the super powers, outlandish costumes and wild plots seem believable. But animation is perfect for comicbooks because we are already expecting to see colourful characters and weird monsters. We are expecting to see the unbelievable and are more willing to accept it because it is animated.
Because of the success of the Ultimate Avengers DVD, Marvel Animated Features and Lions Gate Entertainment plan to release more direct-to-DVD features. The next two features are previewed as special features on Ultimate Avengers 2. They will be Doctor Strange and Iron Man. They don't give you much information but you do get a sneak peek at the animation and it looks just as strong as the their other efforts. I can't wait to see them.
Here are a few screen caps. The first two are from Doctor Strange and the last two are from Iron Man. Click the images to see large versions.