Monday, 17 September 2007

Ultimate Avengers II: Rise of the Panther - DVD Review

They’re back! And this time they’re kicking alien ass in a foreign country. Okay, I know this opening tag line sounds really corny, but I couldn’t think of a better way of introducing a DVD review of Ultimate Avengers II: Rise of the Panther.
Following on from the events of the original Ultimate Avengers animated movie (which was excellent by the way, and which I’ll probably review at a later date), the alien Chitari, along with their shape-shifting leader Herr Kleiser, have returned, and this time they’ve targeted the African nation of Wakanda, whose isolationist policy has cut them off from the rest of the world, making it difficult to ask outsiders for help.
This is where our heroes come in. Having assumed the role of king after the death of his father at the hands of Kleiser, T’Challa travels to America asking for Captain America’s help. But the Cap has problems of his own right now, adjusting to 21st century life having been frozen in ice since 1945.
And this is what makes the universe of the Ultimate Avengers all the more compelling. The characterisations are so damn real it’s….well….unreal. While watching these films you actually forget you’re watching a cartoon, as you watch Captain America struggle with his new surroundings, as you watch Hank Pym struggle with his inner demons, taking his frustrations out on his wife Janet Van Dyne, and as you watch Bruce Banner confronting his much larger demon in the form of the Incredible Hulk.
The writing on this thing is incredible. Although there are several main characters, nobody is ignored, and each is given his/her time to develop, instead of being stereo-typical one dimensional comic book characters. That’s the beauty of the Ultimates series, as they portray what could happen if these men and women existed in the real world. And the animation isn’t too bad either.
The DVD extras include a look at the origin of the Ultimates universe, as well as promos for the upcoming Iron Man and Doctor Strange animated movies. To say I can’t wait for their UK release would be an understatement.
In conclusion - buy this thing. You won’t be disappointed.

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