Written by David Holland
Sometimes you watch a sequel and you’re just like “Wow… that was so much better than the first one.” That’s what happened to me with “Marvel’s Ultimate Avengers 2”. I thought the first one was fine but had a lot of room to grow and boy did the second one grow.
I thought the first “Ultimate Avengers” got in its own way by spending a lot of time on individual stories and bringing the heroes reluctantly together. This is fine for a two and a half hour blockbuster, but in a seventy-five minute animated feature, you really need to make every moment count. This film benefits from the leg work done by the first installment. It can assume that we know the characters and that they are already a team, so now it can devote more time to the plot. The story is clear, there is plenty of action, and we even have familiar bad guys.
This movie introduces Black Panther and the world of Wakanda, and kudos to the animated Avengers for doing so in their second film instead of waiting for twenty movies like their live action counterparts. The challenges T’Challa faces from both his own people and the threatening alien force are clearly established quickly, Wakanda and the Avengers have their necessary spat, and then everyone comes together to kill the aliens. It’s a formula that astute Marvel fans will recognize.
There are even real stakes when Giant Man dies, simultaneously showing that our heroes are not invincible while also killing off the most annoying member of the team!
I thought this movie was a marked improvement over the first one, but it still wasn’t without its flaws. Comic book heroes are historically problematic, and Hank Pym is certainly no exception. In this film he is a gigantic turd to his wife, Hope van Dyne, throughout the movie until she finally ends things. He then recklessly throws himself into danger in order to “prove he is the man she wants”, ends up dying, and guilting her into confessing love. This is not how you should communicate your feelings, but it is portrayed as The Noble Sacrifice. After watching this I am also incredibly grateful for the Afro-futurist version of Wakanda we saw in Ryan Coogler’s “Black Panther” and the subsequent MCU films. The Wakanda in this film just doesn’t do justice to the technologically advanced nation of Marvel lore.
Better than the original and still lots in this universe to explore. The animated Marvel world is a hidden gem.
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