Happy Easter/April Fools everybody. I am curious how many people are pulling some pranks regarding Easter candy today. Anyways, today’s movie is one of Marvel’s early animated features that the released to DVD. Now I know you might be asking why I am starting with the second movie and not the first one. The answer to that is quite simple; I was too lazy to rebuy the first movie when it wound up to scratched up to be playable. Anyways, the one thing I thought was funny regarding the two movies was that they were based on the Marvel Ultimate version of the Avengers, which is also a little bit of the basis for the MCU movies. The timing of me reaching this movie now is pretty amazing, as this introduces the Black Panther to the series, where as Black Panther is winding down it’s takeover of the Hollywood box office and Avengers: Infinity War is coming out later this month. So let’s have fun with today’s movie, Ultimate Avengers 2: Rise Of The Panther.
The plot: In the African nation of Wakanda, two warriors are racing back to their city, being chased by two Chitauri soldiers. In the city, King T’Chaka is holding a ceremony welcoming back his son, Prince T’Challa, who had been studying abroad, though some of T’Chaka’s advisors are not happy with T’Challa’s leaving the country to learn other ideas. Suddenly one of the Wakandan warriors appears on the cliff overlooking and shouts out a warning before he is killed. T’Chaka goes to don the garb of the Black Panther and head out to face the inturders, despite T’Challa saying that he is not fit to do battle. T’Chaka finds a group of Chitauri soldiers and kills them but ends up being stabbed by Herr Kleiser, who had survived his encounter with the Avengers. T’Challa, who had followed his father, cries out at seeing his father mortally wounded and Kleiser approaches him, hoping to finish off the royal bloodline. Seeing this, T’Chaka uses the last of his strength to turn more cat like and attack Kleiser, sending them both off a cliff, which finishes off T’Chaka but Kleiser is able to get up and walk away. Some time later, T’Challa oversees the funeral of his father and is escorted by the high priestess to the sacred chamber of the Black Panther, where T’Challa sees articles about Captain America’s own encounter with Kleiser back during WWII and his return. In the U.S., Captain America (Steve Rogers) is foiling a robbery by Hydra soldiers, getting shot in the process. Natalia Romanov (Black Widow) and some S.H.I.E.L.D. agents arrive after he is finished and Black Widow chastises Captain America for going in on his own and asks if he wants to kill himself. When Captain America brushes past her, Black Widow has Nick Fury try to talk to Captain America, and Fury ends up telling Captain America that he is pulled from the mission he plans on going on, threatening to have him arrested like Bruce Banner. Meanwhile, Bruce is being interrogated by Dr. Oiler, a former colleague, over his assault of the Avengers during the Chitauri invasion and when Bruce gets riled up, asking to see Betty Ross, he is sedated and Oiler tells them to keep the video of the Hulk’s rampage playing on a continuous loop in Banner’s cell. That night, as Captain America is attempting to sleep, he is plagued by dreams involving Kleiser and when he wakes up, finds T’Challa, in the Black Panther costume, in his room. Thinking he is being attacked, Captain America grabs T’Challa and throws him out the window, then follows after him but as he grabs T’Challa and asks him who he is, they find themselves surrounded by S.H.I.E.L.D. soldiers. Fury explains that the intruder is Black Panther but is shocked to see that is is T’Challa behind the mask. T’Challa explains that his father is dead and he needs to speak to Captain America about Kleiser, asking him how to kill him. Captain America says that he can’t be killed, as he had killed Kleiser twice before, and Fury tells T’Challa his only chance against the Chitauri is to open Wakanda’s borders so the Avengers can help. T’Challa refuses, saying he has betrayed his people already just by coming to seek Captain America’s aid and, asking one last time if there is any information Captain America can give him, T’Challa leaves, and Fury decides to bring in the other Avengers. In his lab, Hank Pym (Giant-Man) is working on increasing his maximum size beyond 60 but when the strain on him becomes too dangerous, Janet Pym (the Wasp) orders the experiment stopped and Hank gets angry at her for ruining his work. When Janet suggests him trying to go back to shrinking, he gets even angrier and storms out of the lab. Meanwhile, Tony Stark )Iron-Man) is on a business retreat when he gets the call from Fury while Thor is using rune stones to see the future and gets a vision of the dead bodies of his teammates. Back in New York, Betty Ross is examining the wreckage of a Chitauri ship and discovers sections of it have become incredibly brittle. Deciding to no longer put it off, Betty goes to see Bruce, who is happy to see her, and she mentions the strange phenomenon with the wreckage but when Bruce offers to help, she tells him that nobody wants his help or trusts him. When Janet, Hank, and Tony show up, Fury leads a mission briefing, telling them about Kleiser and what little they know of Wakanda, due to their isolationist tendencies. Fury wants the Avengers to head to Wakanda on an information gathering mission, telling them to try not to be seen as he doesn’t want an international incident, then places Natalia in charge, as Steve is to angry over Kleiser’s involvement to think clearly. When the Avengers arrive in Wakanda, they encounter T’Challa, who angrily tells them to leave, then relents and says that Steve can come with him but the rest must go back to their ship. T’Challa and Steve sneak into the city and T’Challa explains that in 1942, during the reign of his grandfather, the Wakandans were approached by Kleiser, who offered friendship between his country and theirs, but he betrayed them and attempted to steak the Heart of Wakanda. The Wakandans fought back and were able to bring down the Chitauri ship but it left the people untrusting of the outside world, prompting their adaptation of a more isolationist society. Meanwhile, the Avengers continue to look around and are discovered by T’Challa’s soldiers, who begin attacking them. Hank is drugged by multiple arrows while at giant size and Iron-Man is severely damaged when T’Challa shows up and puts an end to the fight. T’Challa says he will provide the antidote for Hank but they must leave immediately and Fury orders the team back to New York. Meanwhile, Kleiser contacts his commander and tells him that they had trouble securing the planet and his commander tells them that nothing must stop their takeover, revealing a Chitauri flagship heading towards Earth. Elsewhere, Thor contacts Odin to ask him about the vision he was shown and Odin reveals the Chitauri flagship on it’s approach towards Earth. Thor says that he must warn the Avengers and Odin says that Midgard has turned it’s back on the gods and he should no longer meddle in the affairs of mortals but Thor refuses to abandon his friends. Back at the Triskelion, Betty Ross is examining a cube of pure vibranium from the downed Chitauri ship and tells Fury she can’t get any readings off of it but knows that it has stored an incredible amount of energy. Meanwhile, Bruce notices something during the constant replays of his attack and asks to see Betty but Oiler has him sedated again, using increased doses to keep him under. As the Avengers are leaving Wakanda, Steve notices a Chitauri wandering in the jungle below and, defying Natalia’s orders, takes the jump ship back to Wakanda. Meanwhile, T’Challa faces the council of elders, who strip him of his authority to rule due to his bringing outsiders into Wakanda and defying Wakandan law. As he leaves the chamber, T’Challa notices the Chitauri and, donning the Black Panther costume, he goes after it. When Steve lands, he hears the sounds of struggling and sees T’Challa defeating with the Chitauri and Steve says to let them find out what it’s plan is and T’Challa agrees provided that he goes with them. They take the Chitauri back to the Avengers ship, where Natalia chastises Steve for risking their lives and T’Challa suddenly reveals himself to be Kleiser. The Chitauri reveals that it was playing possum and it begins attacking, injuring Janet in the process. Kleiser and the Chitauri soldier get into the jump ship and leave, contacting the flagship and telling it to fire on the Avengers’ ship. Meanwhile, Thor returns to the Triskelion and warns Fury of the approaching flagship and they get it on the screen just as the flagship blasts the Avengers’s ship but Thor is able to teleport there and bring his friends back to safety. Hank takes Janet to sick bay, angrily blaming Steve for her injuries, while Stark returns to Stark Tower, where he preps his War Machine armor for battle. In the detention center, Betty goes to see Bruce, who points out the Hulk attacking the Chitauri ship and theorizes that the Hulk’s gamma radiation affected the hull, causing it to become brittle. He tells Betty he has a small gamma generator she can use to test it and begs her to let him help but she says she can’t as Fury won’t allow it. Meanwhile, the Chitauri flagship extends a membrane like barrier across the planet, then proceeds to launch it’s armies onto the surface. In Wakanda, the people retreat into the palace and the palace defenses begin attacking the Chitauri. Inside the control room, the elders point out that they don’t need the help of any outsiders but T’Challa expresses his doubts. T’Challa contacts S.H.I.E.L.D. and asks for their help and explains that the Chitauri are after the Heart of Wakanda, which is the mountain deposit of vibranium that fuels their technology but his transmission is broken up by the chief elder. Outside the city, Kleiser discovers that the Wakandans are using the wreckage of one of their ships to power their defenses and orders the flagship to blast it, and the resulting explosion powers down the palace defenses. Thor teleports Fury and the Avengers to Wakanda, where they are met by T’Challa and begin to lead a counter attack. Meanwhile, Betty finds test the gamma generator and discovers it does work against the Chitauri, just as the Chitauri begin to attack the Triskelion. Three Chitauri soldiers enter the detention center and attempt to kill Banner but when they can’t penetrate the glass, they order Oiler to give Banner a lethal dose of sedative gas in order to kill him. The Chitauri kill Oiler but are then killed by Betty and Janet, who wants to revive Bruce but he says it is better that he dies in order to ensure the Hulk doesn’t hurt anyone else and Betty cries as he dies. Betty and Janet take the generator to Wakanda and come up with a plan to take out the flagship. While Thor deals with the cannon, Tony will fly into the flagship and take out the core and Hank says he will go with him. Janet tells him no, as the strain of shrinking might be too much for him but Hank says he will be fine and shrinks down to go with Tony. Meanwhile, Steve and T’Challa are fighting with Kleiser and both end up being severely wounded by him but they manage to knock him into the smelting facility and pour molten vibranium on him, and he ends up sinking beneath the molten metal before it quickly hardens and entombs him inside. Meanwhile, the Triskelion is still under attack when suddenly, Banner transforms into the Hulk and breaks free from his containment, then proceeds to start battling the Chitauri. Back at Wakanda, Thor distracts the cannon long enough for Tony and hank to make it inside the flagship but is then blasted by the cannon and falls to the ground. Inside, Hank grows to giant size and holds off the Chitauri so that Tony can reach the core. Tony begins using the generator on the core but when it runs out of power, he throws the generator into the core in frustration. The generator cause a chain reaction that causes the core to explode, destroying the barrier covering the earth and depowering all of the Chitauri troops and vehicles around the world. Hank grabs Tony as they are blasted out of the flagship but some debris knocks him unconscious and Tony is forced to make Hank shrink back to normal size so he can save his carry him. When they land, Janet rushes to Hank who briefly speaks with her before dying from the strain he placed on his body. When they notice the flagship heading towards the city, Tony flies off to try and divert it, using up all of the power in his suit to do so, then he crashes to the ground while the ship safely crashes away from the city. Steve rushes to his friend just as Thor recovers and uses his lightning to serve as a defibrillator to revive Tony, but they are unable to revive Hank. The elders all apologize to T’Challa and restore his authority as king as the Avengers head back to New York. When they reach the Triskelion, they are unaware that they are being observed by the Hulk, who quietly whispers “Betty” before ducking away when she looks towards him, then leaps away and leaves the city. As Betty looks at the empty cell that Banner was in, Janet approaches and tells her that at least she knows he is alive somewhere, then they head off together. The Avengers all gather to hold a wake for Hank and afterwards, Tony goes to comfort Janet and Betty for each of their losses, Steve approaches Natalia and says they should think about their future before kissing her, while Fury and Thor share a drink and Thor tells Fury about how he once saved Midgard from Surtur.
When it comes to animated comic book movies, DC almost always beats out Marvel, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t a good movie because it actually is. The voice acting was pretty good, with the various actors returning to voice the characters from the first movie. The story was pretty good, though I don’t know if it necessarily follows an actual comic story line or not. The animation was pretty good and did a great job in helping to sell the action. It’s a fun movie to watch but I will be honest, the only thing it does right now is make me want to see Black Panther again and get me further hyped to see Infinity War.
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5