Ultimate Avengers (2006)
“Any questions? Any questions not about the Hulk?”
-Dr. Bruce Banner, to SHIELD lab assistantsCaptain America has been found in a glacier after his stopping a Nazi nuclear bomb. SHIELD takes the opportunity to send Nick Fury over, and pick him up for the Avengers Initiative. Dr. Bruce Banner is convinced that Cap’s super soldier serum holds the key to controlling Hulk, so he’s the one who looks after him. Meanwhile, the Chitauri, shape-shifting aliens attack SHIELD 1, their satellite base in the hopes of taking out their source of vibranium and taking over Earth.
The main relationship to watch here is between Cap and Hulk. In this movie, when Cap wakes up, he attacks everyone, and when he is acclimated to the fact that the statue of liberty is outside the window, he is told by Nick Fury that Hulk/Dr. Banner was a derivative of the same super soldier program, and befriends him. However, when Dr. Banner reveals his true interest in the super soldier program (controlling Hulk.) Cap says he doesn’t wish that program on anyone, especially Hulk, and he is best serving his country by sticking to Science. Dr. Banner, storms off feeling betrayed, and begins experimenting on himself.
There are a few changes here in origin from the recent movie. Ant Man/Giant Man and Wasp are present, Black Widow recruits Iron Man by pointing a gun at his crotch, which wouldn’t entice me, and Thor joins a hippie protest before meeting Cap and being recruited. Ant Man/Giant Man has bad blood with Nick Fury for taking over the Avengers Initiative, and so has a rude attitude throughout the whole cartoon, and disobeys Cap, attacking the aliens first as they proceed to blow up SHIELD 1. Cap is disappointed in his inability to hold the team together, and sulks off to find his only living war buddy, Bucky Barnes, who offers him a decaf: “What’s a decaf?” asks Cap, as the scene fades. Together with Bucky, he comes to grip with changing times, and realizes his team needs him.
As a disabled person, I found I identified with Cap the most. I think I always have, but now I understand better why. He fought for freedoms that he in the 21st century is not allowed to enjoy, and now things are strange and alien to him. I am a champion of the ADA and independent living, but have found that its freedoms: equality, accessibility, and opportunity, are far from secure. Also, Hulk’s struggle with trying to get control of emotions is a counterbalance to Cap’s story, and mine as well. Most of the other heroes feel unnecessarily tacked on, with the exception of Nick Fury, who gives Dr. Banner oversight of Cap, and also gives him his signature vibranium shield. The rest just show off, but do not really add to the story, I feel.
In the end, they do come together to fight the Chitauri off the helicarrier. But, that is not the event that unites the Avengers. Hulk sees Cap fighting off the Chitauri and tells him to stay out of it. Cap tells him it’s okay, and that they won, but Hulk attacks him. Together, the Avengers face the raging Hulk until Black Widow injects him with a sedative and his girlfriend Betty talks him into changing back to Dr. Banner. Then, they toast to Cap later at the mansion, who is shown on crutches after the battle.
Overall, I feel like they had a good idea in copying the Ultimate Avengers Mark Millar comics, but the more recent movie had an advantage in that it could bring all the Avengers together, with a better plot. The more I think about this movie, the more I don’t like it; but I can appreciate the funny bits, and the struggle between order and chaos within Hulk and Cap. Here’s hoping the movies get better. Tomorrow is Ultimate Avengers 2. Now, any questions not about the Hulk?