Sunday, May 6, 2012

Ultimate Avengers Movie Collection 3-Movie Set Blu-ray Review

Perfectly timed for the theatrical release of The Avengers on May 4th, Lionsgate Home Entertainment and Marvel Animation have teamed together to release the animated feature movie collections of the Ultimate Avengers Movie Collection 3-Movie Set These films were the first-ever full-length animated movies from Marvel and star some of the most popular super heroes in the Marvel Universe while staying true to the best-selling comic book roots. These collections give fans of all ages their favorite characters in one convenient set. The Ultimate Avengers Movie Collection 3-Movie Set includes Ultimate Avengers: The Movie, Ultimate Avengers 2 and includes a bonus movie, Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow and it's loaded with bonus materials including "making of" featurettes, games, concept art, "first looks" and more. 

Film (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)

For fans of the Avengers, this is a great set since we get to see the history of Captain America and the formation of the Avengers. It's a nice way to prepare for the big-screen Avengers and I'm sure the reason why this set has been re-released into this three disc set.  This serves as a nice introduction into this universe as we see Captain America sacrifice himself to save the world only to be frozen in time until he is brought back by Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D.  Fury also recruits Iron Man and Thor as well as the arrogant Hank Pym and his wife Janet who can transform into Giant/Ant Man and Wasp respectively.  The team doesn't get a long that well and it doesn't help that the Hulk (who should be part of the team) is on a rampage that they need to stop.  

In the second movie it revolves around the country of Wakanda and it's leader the Black Panther.  This time the threat is from aliens and every Avenger and S.H.I.E.L.D. agent will be needed to stop the threat.  The stakes are high and there's a lot of action in this movie but I preferred the original movie more.  I was surprised that they actually killed one of the main characters but they chose wisely and redeemed a character that had been annoying for a long time.  Both movies are a lot more brutal that I would have thought for animated movies but these are more for older fans than the younger skewing Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes

The third movie showcase the children of the original Avengers team in an effort to court younger viewers.  We are asked to believe that despite beating Ultron on several other occasions, this time Ultron was able to kill them all for some reason.  We are asked to believe that these kids can succeed  where their parents failed despite a lack of experience or training.  The only Avenger to survive is Tony Stark who does his best to raise these kids and Thor who for some reason doesn't return to Earth to help anyone.  This movie is a poorly conceived desperate attempt to rein in some new younger viewers but it does so at the expense of the history of everything Marvel has built up.  I was pretty disappointed with this third one but the other two make up for it.

Here's the original descriptions of the movies:
  • Ultimate Avengers: The Movie: A world in crisis. Age-old enemies on the verge of attack. A mighty team is recruited, and Earth's ultimate hero is sought to lead them - Captain America. Unfortunately, he's been frozen in ice for over sixty years. Inspired by Marvel's best-selling books, "The Ultimates," this is the extraordinary story of six very independent heroes who, like it or not, must fight as one to save the world. Little did they know that their biggest threat would emerge from within their very own ranks - The Incredible Hulk.
  • Ultimate Avengers 2: To save humanity, the Earth's mightiest heroes must reunite for a rematch of heroic proportions. Mysterious Wakanda. It lies in the darkest heart of Africa, unknown to most of the world. An isolated land hidden behind closed borders, fiercely protected by its young king - the BLACK PANTHER. But when brutal alien invaders attack, that leaves the Black Panther with no option but to go against the sacred decrees of his people - to ask for help from outsiders. And so he turns to THE AVENGERS - Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Giant Man, Wasp, Black Widow and the Incredible Hulk. These mightiest of heroes have battled the aliens before, and barely survived. They thought it was over. They were wrong.
  • Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow: Whenever the forces of evil threatened mankind, Earth's mightiest heroes, the Avengers were there to stop them - until they made the ultimate sacrifice in their final fight with the indestructible robot, Ultron. But all was not lost, for Tony Stark (Iron Man) kept the children of the Avengers safe and raised them to become the teenage heroes of tomorrow. Now James (Son of Captain America and Black Widow), Torunn (Daughter of Thor), Azari (Son of the Black Panther) and Pym (Son of Wasp and Giant Man) must finish the fight their parents started. Soon the arrow-slinging son of Hawkeye will join their ranks but it will take more than five teens to destroy the machine that defeated their parents. If these young heroes have any hope of winning they must find the missing Hulk and come together as... the Next Avengers!

Video (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)

All three movies offers a nice variety of colors that stand out as well as some decent detail.  Black levels are nice and inky for all three as well.  The first two movies have some severe color banding issues that render images blocky and it ends up in some cases looking pixelated. The third movie looks a lot better than the previous two since it benefits from being the newest.  All in all, all three movies look pretty good on Blu-ray but new transfers should have been created for the first two instead of reusing the same one that was previously released.

Audio (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)

The area that these movies don't slouch is in the audio department. The first two movies offer 7.1 uncompressed LPCM tracks which are incredible and make up for the video quality. The third movie has a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 mix that is also very impressive. For all three movies, every channel is well used and extremely active. Rear channels offer up an abundance of surround effects and music which is well balanced with the rest of the mix. Directionality is accurate and natural and it adds a punch to the mix. Dialogue is clear but a bit thin but that improves with the third movie.

Extras (3 out of 5 stars)

Compared to the animated features three pack this set doesn't have a lot of extras but the featurettes are interesting and the highlight of these special features.

Ultimate Avengers and Ultimate Avengers 2:

  • Featurettes "Avengers Assemble" and "The Ultimates"

  • The Ultimate Voice Talent Search 

  • The Ultimate Gag Reel 

  • Trivia Track 

  • Trailers

    Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow:

    • Kid Power - Next-gen Marvel 

    • Trailers

      Summary (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)

      I liked the first two Ultimate Avengers movies but I could have done without the Next Avengers. They all have some excellent action and Lionsgate has done an excellent job on the audio quality for each of these releases.  The extras are decent but could have been better but at this price this set is a great deal for Marvel fans hungering for some more Avengers action while they wait for The Avengers 2.

      Order your copy today!

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