Avengers Pre-Game! Netflix Has You Covered

by on April 30, 2012 >> ComicsMoviesReviews

Are you Jonesing for some Avengers? Can’t wait to plop your butt down in that seat this upcoming weekend and watch and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes do battle? Or maybe you just want to explore a bit more of the other interpretations that have had over the years. Either way totally has you covered. The majority of what Marvel is offering on right now is their animated features they made in partnership with Lionsgate. Sadly these can be pretty hit or miss but there are a few other items that make me squee like a little girl who just saw Justin Bieber. We’ll give you the full run down.

The Invincible
This was one of the first films in the partnership between Lionsgate and Marvel and it shows. It’s unfocused, doesn’t know what story it wants to tell and completely flips around the order in which Tony Stark becomes Iron Man which changes his motivations and those of the people around him. There are fights between Tony and his father, a large portion of the film is about magical forces raising an ancient Chinese ruler known as The Mandarin from the dead and a liberal use of CGI for anything they felt it could be used on. What you get is a really odd take take on Iron Man that misses the mark but is also something fans should see just for the ridiculousness of it.
Score: 3 out of 5

Iron Man Extremis
Coming straight out of the comics is Iron Man: Extremis, where the panels of one of the best Iron Man stories ever are brought to life through animation and digital manipulation. You’re not going to get a lot of the flashy anime inspired stuff you’d get from most Marvel films but you will get a good and very adult Iron Man story. Motion Comics are a mixed bag and because the animation isn’t going to sell you very much, the voice acting has to be top notch and here it is. This is one of my favorite motion comics and I actually own it.
Score: 5 out of 5

Iron Man Armored Adventures
Shortly after Iron Man came out in theaters Marvel wanted to put a new Iron Man show on the air. They did and it sucked. It makes Tony Stark a young high school genius who acts a lot more like Spider-Man than Iron Man ever has. Gone are the ladies he romances, the interesting relationships and don’t ever expect the Devil in a Bottle story line. The entire show is done in CGI which can make for some interesting moments but over all the show looks cheap and fails to impress.
Score: 2 out of 5

Iron Man 2
Ah live action? YES! Of course it’d be Iron Man 2 though which is the weakest of the live action films. It’s story is so desperate to connect itself to The Avengers that it fails to impress at all. It’s more of Iron Man fighting Iron Man copies and going up against… well… a mash up of Whiplash and The Red Dynamo, which isn’t a bad idea in and of itslef, but it falls flat in most areas. Paced horribly, with all the dilemmas of the film solved by a mysterious package that’s introduced in the last act. It’s pretty bad writing. But it does have a cameo by DJ AM after he died and as some one who met him a few times and liked the dude, I have to say that’s pretty awesome
Score: 3 out of 5

: Tales of Asgard
Dropping just in time for the Thor movie, this film tells the stories of Thor and Loki as young brothers before Thor was given his hammer. Honestly I had a hard time sitting through it but it does offer a bit of insight into the childhood of Thor and Loki and how they’ve always had their differences but for a long while were able to work together. A rather generic story and because it’s a story of Thor and Loki’s youth you know what characters will turn out ok in the end.

Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers
Yet another motion comic, this one is actually a rather Loki-centric story that tells a great what if. What if Loki actually defeated Thor? What would that mean? What would he do with himself, the kingdom of Asgard and his time on the throne? Despite how the opening credits to each episode are played out, the series is a lot of dialog with beautiful artwork. Because Loki is the central character you’re going to get something that you wouldn’t get normally. Very few series actually give the villain his due and in the end turn you over to his side of things. This is a triumph in writing. A must see for any fan of Thor.
Score: 5 out of 5

Bruce Banner is one of the most interesting characters in the Marvel universe and a lot of that has to do with the nerdy obsession of who can he fight and who can actually beat him. The answer is almost always “Nobody,” but that doesn’t stop Hulk VS from pitting the green machine against Thor and Wolverine. The two stories aren’t connected and in fact they’re both short and in different animation styles. Even the tone is wildly different. In one you have a Banner who’s ready to die so that won’t be a problem anymore and in the other you have him coming to grips with being and how that means giving up a perfect life. They’re both good for their own reasons and don’t pull their punches, especially Hulk VS Wolverine which has the entire Weapon X team including Deadpool and a lot of blood. Limbs are removed, people are killed. It’s pretty great. The VS Thor story is a bit more boring with the general “Loki controls ” kind of story line.
Score: 4 out of 5

It doesn’t get much better than this. A hulk story with no Bruce Banner. After the greatest minds on Earth (Tony Stark, Professor X, Reed Richard, Dr Strange and Blackbolt) decide The Hulk is just too dangerous they strap him into a rocket and send him to a planet where he can roam free. Of course this goes horribly wrong and Hulk crash lands on an inhabited world ruled by The Red King… who is a jerk. Now take 1 part gladiator, one part Conan, throw in The Hulk, remove Bruce Banner completely and you get Planet Hulk. Gladiator fights to the death, a king who’s a bit of a wuss, The Hulk being a destined ruler with prophecies and his own pack of soldiers… it’s all kind of bad ass. Pulled straight from the comic, this is one of the better Hulk stories out there and while changes had to be made for certain licensing reason, it still holds in tact and is a great introduction to The Hulk as more than a monster and a bit more of a man.
Score: 5 out of 5

Ultimate Avengers The Movie
An adaptation of the first story line in The Ultimates, written by Mark Millar, this watered down take has the Avengers going up against a group of aliens who worked with the nazis. Everything from the comics that was more adult, violent, or interesting has been lost in this translation. What’s odd is that a lot of the elements from this story (the comic book version) found their way into the upcoming Avengers movie. Maybe watch this one after you see ’s masterpiece. Banner is trying to control The Hulk, is trying to deal with how to be a team leader after watching so many of his men die and Iron Man is well… kind of a jerk. But so is Hank Pym, the GiAnt Man.
Score: 3 out of 5

Ultimate Avengers The Movie II
Guess what! The nazi aliens are back and this time they’re stepping in on Black Panther’s turf. To be fair this film is a bit better than it’s predecessor in that it takes itself a bit more seriously and even has some brutal moments. You have The Hulk, Giant Man, Wasp and more. Gone are the alcohol and spouse abuse from Mark Millar’s original story… in fact I don’t even think this has anything to do with Mark Millar’s Ultimates, but that doesn’t stop it from being a satisfying little romp.
Score: 3 1/2 out of 5

Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow
What if the Avengers lost? What if after everything they’d been through, saving the world all those times they just couldn’t stand up against their ultimate foe, Ultron. That’s the story told in Next Avengers, when their children would take up their mantles and strike back against Ultron in this very kid friendly tale. Next Avengers takes the children of Captain America and The Black Widow, Giant-Man and the Wasp, Thor, Black Panther and Storm and put them in a new team lead by a much older Tony Stark. Hidden away from the dangers of the world, this new team of Avengers trains for the day when they’ll have to go up against Ultron. Unfortunately James Rodgers (son of Captain America) makes a mistake and sends Iron Man like robots based on the original avengers into combat where they’re soon taken over by Ultron. Now the Next Avengers have to defeat Iron Man versions of their parents with the help of some old and new friends. Gets a little goofy, and Bruce Banner’s appearance is a little awkward, especially in the animation department, but not a bad little film
Score: 4 out of 5

Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes Season 1
The Avengers have never had a good TV show. In the past they tried to do it but lacked the rights to all the characters so Captain America could be mentioned but not be a part of the team and worse. The tried to make the team more like Power Rangers with transformations and armor and it just didn’t work. Now the series is back and despite a really slow start, the series finally starts to cook and by the end of the season you’ll want to know more about The Avengers and the enemies they’ll face. A strong continuing story line is the biggest thing to take notice of. Story arches can last for several episodes and just when you think it’s over they’ll come back with a bigger reveal some time later. Characters from all over the Marvel Universe including The X-Men and Fantastic Four, make appearances and set a new standard for continuity in an animated television program. One of my favorites
Score: 5 out of 5

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