Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow (2008)
“But before they fell, the Avengers hid their children in a faraway place, where they would grow up safe from Ultron's grasp. Because the Avengers knew that as long as their children were alive, there was hope. Hope for the future.”
- Tony Stark’s bedtime story
The Avengers are dead after a battle with Ultron. Tony Stark takes their children to safety, and raises them as their parents would’ve wanted. Torunn is the daughter of Thor, with a big sword. James Rogers has a cool holographic shield. Azari is the son of Black Panther and Storm, and he has both their powers. Henry Pym is the boy of Wasp and Giant Man. They train for the day when Ultron returns.
Like his father, James Rogers is a stubborn kid. He never forgave Tony for letting his dad die, and in his grief goes down to a basement where he finds giant robots that all look like the former Avengers. He accidentally turns on the giant Captain America, and the robot Avengers assemble to attack Ultron and his army. Vision comes to the base to take the kids to safety as Ultron counterattacks. They’re shot down over the city, and Tony Stark is captured by Ultron, who (ever the robot.) tells Tony that hope is a human delusion.
If the theme of the first movie was learning who you are, and the second was asking for help, this one is about hope for the future. I love this movie based on this alone. I try and keep an optimistic outlook with regard to humanity, technology and progress. It’s what all great sci-fi is based on. A note on Iron Man though: Why does his armor keep breaking? I know it’s dramatic, but we’re 3 movies in, and he’s had 6 Iron Man suits. Robots must pack a punch. No matter. I love Tony Stark.
While battling Ultron’s robots in the inner city (which looks like a giant computer chip.) the young Avengers find Francis Barton, son of Hawkeye, who helps them escape and find the still-living Dr. Banner, who has become a Buddhist monk. Hawkeye starts to doubt they can take on Ultron, and James Rogers reminds him that their parents wouldn’t give up. (In a truly Cap-like moment.) They go off to battle the giant robots who look like their parents who were reprogrammed by Ultron.
Each of the children in turn realizes that just because they look like their parents doesn’t mean they are. Azari says: “You’re not the real Panther! I am!” and destroys the robot with his claws. Cap’s kid picks up the robot’s real shield, and throws it, slicing him in half. I’d say, as a disabled sci-fi nut, this scene really points to the fact that our true abilities are inside, not outside.
Next, they face Ultron himself, with a freed Iron Man. Iron Man realizes to defeat Ultron, they need Hulk, because he’s the strongest. So, he sends the boy Wasp to zap and annoy Dr. Banner until the old monk transforms into the Hulk once again to smash Ultron. Avengers movies seem to always pit modern man against mythology. And that in itself is mythic. After the battle, Torunn dumps Ultron’s body parts into space, and finds her father, Thor. The movie ends with James Rogers shouting “Avengers assemble!”, a sign that the torch has been passed into the future.
Finally, I’d like to add a few comments on animation and the presentation of the film. The animation is notably different, much brighter and smoother. I attribute it to the fact that it’s supposed to be a “kids’ cartoon”. Somehow, in the midst of that sci-fi future dystopia where Ultron rules, it managed a PG rating. Probably because all their enemies are robots. But, I certainly didn’t think it was just a kids’ cartoon. It deals with grief, and moving on, and not giving up. And that’s a universal lesson, disabled or not, kid or adult! 4 stars, I’ll say. Tune in next week for “Hulk Vs.”!