Various members of The Avengers (plus Doctor Strange) in straight-to-DVD adventures…
Produced over the past six years, these eight movies are a decent enough introduction to the various variants of the Marvel universe – from the Ultimates version of The Avengers via the early heroics of Thor and Loki to a world where the Hulk can become king.
Some of these – such as Planet Hulk – are based directly on Marvel comics stories, and they tend to be the stronger ones. Doctor Strange, for some reason, fiddles with the Sorcerer Supreme’s origin, making the original Stephen Strange much less arrogant and insensitive than the character that Stan Lee and Steve Ditko invented fifty years ago.
As a primer for The Avengers movie, this gives some idea of the core characters, particularly since the film universe seems to have mixed and matched origins from the Marvel lines (the Ultimates Nick Fury for example). Of the films here, Ultimate Avengers, Planet Hulk and Hulk vs Thor are probably the strongest, and definitely worth catching – Next Avengers, Heroes of Tomorrow, is a “kiddy” next generation version of the heroes which will appeal to completists more, and the Iron Man film covers similar ground to the Jon Favreau film, but nowhere near as well.
The animation throughout is of an above average standard – you’re not going to get theatrical quality on the budgets these are made on – and the voice casts do a respectable job (even if some of them seem to swap roles between films.)
Verdict: A varied collection that ideally should be watched in production order. 7/10