When the original announcement was made that Marvel was venturing out into the world of animation to make a straight to DVD feature on “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes,” The Avengers, every comic book fan this side of Albuquerque jumped for joy.
However, “Ultimate Avengers,” while still being a solid venture into the world of animation, doesn’t hold water when compared to its source material, leaving die-hard fans of the series to dig up old issues for nostalgia, instead of watching it develop all over again on the small screen.
Based on Mark Millar’s classic series, “The Ultimates,” “Ultimate Avengers” is simply a rehashed origin story of the group to suit modern times. While the personalities of many of the characters in The Avengers have stayed true to their comic book origins, several characters are given smaller roles in the film, taking away some of the spark and comic relief that made “The Ultimates” such an enjoyable read.
For instance, Tony Stark, AKA Iron Man, while still retaining some of his “bad-boy” charm, isn’t given nearly enough opportunities to inject his wit and charisma into the story and his famous battle with alcoholism is merely suggested, rather than exposed.
The same goes for the Norse God of Thunder, Thor. Even though we get a small taste of his remarkable power in a great fight scene with the Hulk, he is portrayed more like a Fabio rip-off than an immortal with limitless strength and intellect.
While many lines are taken away from Thor and Iron Man, many are given to the Black Widow and Nick Fury, creating an undoubtedly entertaining aura, but creating something else in the process that looks and feels totally different than what fans have come to expect from the Avengers.
On the whole, “Ultimate Avengers” is an entertaining attempt to bring classic characters to life and is a good starting point for anyone new to the series. Traditional fans of the series however may find that their favorite characters have been changed to an extent that is unacceptable, even if it is still enjoyable to watch.