Marvel Animated Features

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Marvel Animated Features
Marvel Animated Features.jpg
Cover art for the Marvel Animated Features 8-Film Complete Collection
Directed by Jamie Simone (Voice)
Produced by
Music by Guy Michelmore (composer)[2][3][4][5]
Edited by George P. Rizkallah[2][4][5]
Production
  company
MLG Productions
Distributed by Lions Gate[6]
Release date(s) 2/21/2006[7]-5/17/2011
Country USA
Language English

Marvel Animated Features (MAF) is a series of eight direct-to-video animated movies made by MLG Productions, a joint venture between Marvel Studios (later Marvel Animation) and Lions Gate Entertainment.[8][9]

History[edit]

In 2004, Marvel Entertainment, Marvel Comics' new parent corporation, struck a deal with Lions Gate Entertainment to produce a series of eight to ten direct-to-video animated movies under the name of Marvel Animated Features[1][10] in conjunction with Marvel Studios, Marvel's direct film subsidiary.[11]

The first two features, Ultimate Avengers -- The Movie and Ultimate Avengers 2, were released February 2006 and August 2006 respectively. As of November 2006, UA and UA2 combined had sold over 1.5 million units and both were in the top 10 children's releases for the year.[10]

After the pair of Ultimate Avengers (UA) DVDs, the next MAF film, The Invincible Iron Man, was released in January 2007. As of January 2007, Doctor Strange was slated next for summer 2007 with tentatively titled Teen Avengers under early development. Iron Man and the Dr. Strange features existed separately from the UA movie universe. A possible cross over or a third UA movie was hinted at being considered at that time.[6] Original, the MAF were being released two per year until Dr. Strange, while was an Annie Awards nominee for "Best Home Entertainment Production" of 2007[12] only sold half the number of DVD as either UA feature.[13][14][15] After which, the MAFs releases were slowed to one per year.[16][17]

Marvel Animation was incorporated in January 2008 to direct Marvel's efforts in animation and home entertainment markets including Marvel Animation Features.[11]

A proposed “Ultimate War/Thor” dual film DVD was passed over for the 2009 released "Hulk Versus" dual film DVD. Ultimate War would have adapted the Ultimate Marvel comic book of the same name while the Thor movie would have selected a Walt Simonson’s classic “Thor" storyline with the original selection being Beta Ray Bill story.[18]

At the 2009 NATPE Conference, Lionsgate brought the eight Marvel Features to the TV market.[19]

Films[edit]

Film U.S. release date Director(s) Screenwriter(s) Producer(s) Music Runtime
Ultimate Avengers: The Movie February 21, 2006 (2006-02-21) Bob Richardson (Supervising)
Curt Geda
Steven E. Gordon
Han Tae-Ho (Animation)[2]
Greg Johnson (screenplay)[2]
Boyd Kirkland, Craig Kyle & Greg Johnson (story)[2]
Bob Richardson[2] Ken McLeod
(Direction)[2]
72 minutes[2]
Ultimate Avengers 2: Rise of the Panther August 8, 2006 (2006-08-08) Will Meugniot
Richard Sebast
Jamie Simone (Voice)[3]
Craig Kyle[3] Craig Kyle (Executive)[3] David Ari Leon (Direction)[3] 73 minutes[3]
The Invincible Iron Man January 23, 2007 (2007-01-23) Patrick Archibald
Jay Oliva
Frank Paur (Supervising)[4]
Greg Johnson (screenplay)[4]
Greg Johnson, Avi Arad & Craig Kyle (story)[4]
Frank Paur
Craig Kyle (Executive)[4]
David Ari Leon
(Supervisor)[4]
83 minutes[20]
Doctor Strange: The Sorcerer Supreme August 14, 2007 (2007-08-14) Patrick Archibald
Richard Sebast
Jay Oliva
Frank Paur (Supervising)[5]
Greg Johnson (screenplay)[5]
Greg Johnson & Craig Kyle (story)[5]
Frank Paur
Craig Kyle (Executive)[5]
David Ari Leon
(Supervisor)[5]
76 minutes
Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow September 2, 2008 (2008-09-02) Jay Oliva
Isamitsu Kashima (Animation)
Jamie Simone (Voice)
Gary Hartle (Supervising)[21]
Christopher Yost (screenplay)[21]
Greg Johnson & Craig Kyle (story)[21]
Craig Kyle
Gary Hartle[21]
David Ari Leon (Direction/Supervision)[21] 78 minutes
Hulk Versus January 20, 2009 (2009-01-20) Frank Paur (Supervising)
Sam Liu[22]
Craig Kyle
Chris Yost[17]
Craig Kyle
Frank Paur
78 minutes:
45 minutes (Hulk vs. Thor)
33 minutes (Hulk vs. Wolverine)[23]
Planet Hulk February 10, 2010 (2010-02-10) Sam Liu[24] Greg Johnson Joshua Fine
Craig Kyle
Frank Paur
81 minutes
Thor: Tales of Asgard May 11, 2011 (2011-05-11) Gary Hartle (supervising)
Sam Liu (animation)[25]
Greg Johnson (screenplay)
Greg Johnson & Craig Kyle (story)
Craig Kyle 77 minutes

Ultimate Avengers[edit]

Ultimate Avengers: The Movie,[26] is the first film in the Marvel Animated Features based loosely on the first six issues of the Ultimates by Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch.[27] The film was produced by Dong Wu Studios.[27] The movie focuses on Captain America, a super soldier, after stopping a Nazi/extraterrestrial plot in 1945, was frozen in ice for about 60 years. The Captain is assigned to lead a team of heroes found by General Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D, to fight the alien threat.[26]

Special features on DVD & Blu-ray
[7]
  • "Avengers Assemble" Featurette
  • The Ultimate Voice Talent Search
  • What Avenger Are You? DVD-ROM game (DVD)
  • First Look at Ultimate Avengers II (DVD)
  • Avengers Trivia Track
  • Animated interactive menus
  • Trailer gallery
  • "Avengers Assemble" featurette
  • "The Ultimates" featurette (Blu-ray)
  • The Ultimate Voice Talent Search (Blu-ray)
  • The Ultimate Gag Reel (Blu-ray)
  • First Look at Doctor Strange (Blu-ray)
  • The Invincible Iron Man Trailer (Blu-ray)

Ultimate Avengers 2: Rise of the Panther[edit]

Ultimate Avengers 2: Rise of the Panther, is the second in the Marvel Animated Features series and a sequel to Ultimate Avengers: The Movie, produced by Dong Wu Studios.[27] In the film, The Black Panther teams up with the Ultimate Avengers to continue their fight against the aliens when they invade Africa.[3]

Special features
  • "The Ultimates" - featurette
  • The ultimate gag reel
  • First look at Iron Man
  • First Look at Dr. Strange

What avenger are you?: DVD-Rom game[3]

Hawkeye, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch were not in the initial Ultimate Avengers movie and were originally planned to be in the second movie. Using Hawkeye as an example, VP of Marvel Studios' Animation Development Craig Kyle did not want him to be a background character but "he's going to matter" if he appears.[27]

The Invincible Iron Man[edit]

The Invincible Iron Man is the third feature DVD in the series and is based on the classic Marvel Universe version by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.[27] The film was produced by Starburst Entertainment and was released on January 23, 2007.[10] Marc Worden repeats as Tony Stark/Iron Man from the Ultimate Avengers.[4] In The Invincible Iron Man, Tony Stark, billionaire manufacturer, finds a lost Chinese city where he accidentally unleashes an evil powerful force. Stark creates his armor to become Iron Man to defeat the evil.[28]

DVD extras
  • 'Origin of Iron Man' featurette
  • 'The Hall of Iron Man Armor' featurette
  • an alternate opening
  • previews
    • Dr. Strange preview[28]
    • Amazing Screw-On Head
    • Ultimate Avengers 2
    • Happily N’ever After
    • Iron Man Concept Art[20]

Doctor Strange: The Sorcerer Supreme[edit]

This section is about the direct-to-video film. For the 1978 TV movie starring Peter Hooten, see Dr. Strange (1978 film).

Doctor Strange: The Sorcerer Supreme is the fourth feature in the series and is based on the character of the same name by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, separate from the Ultimate Avengers universe.[6] The movie was nominated for "Best Home Entertainment Production" of 2007 for the 35th Annual Annie Awards.[12] Doctor Strange: The Sorcerer Supreme tells the story of Dr. Steven Strange, an arrogant neurosurgeon who falls victim to a car crash that injures his hands, making them tremble uncontrollably--too much so to perform surgery. Looking for a cure, he instead finds a different and higher pursuit as the new Sorcerer Supreme, the top master of the mystical arts.[6]

Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow[edit]

This section is about the direct-to-video film. For the MC2 comic book title, see A-Next.

Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow,[19] tenatively titled Teen Avengers then Avengers Reborn, is the fifth movie in the Marvel Animated Features.[6] Premiliary work had begun on "Teen Avengers" before January 18, 2007.[6] By the release of its first look preview in August 2007, the title had changed to "Avengers Reborn".[29] Fred Tatasciore repeats as the Hulk from the Ultimate Avengers movies.[21] With the loss of their Avengers parents at the hands of Ultron and raised by billionaire bachelor Tony Stark, four ophaned teens must live up to their parent's legacy and defeat the foe that defeated them. Additional allies are recruited including The Incredible Hulk and Hawkeye.[21]

Hulk Versus[edit]

Hulk Versus is a double feature direct to video in the Marvel Animated Feature series. The two features are "Hulk Vs. Wolverine" and "Hulk Vs. Thor".[18] Hulk vs. Wolverine is based on The Incredible Hulk #181 by Roy Thomas, Len Wein and John Romita, Sr..[22] Hulk Vs. was selected over a proposed “Ultimate War/Thor” dual film DVD.[18] The film was produced by Madhouse.[22][30] The DVD was originally called "Hulk Smash" with an expected released date of October 2008.[16] The double feature was released on DVD, Two-Disc Special Edition DVD, and Blu-ray.[17]

DVD extras[17]
  • Single Disc Edition:
    • Hulk Vs. Wolverine - Audio Commentary by Supervising Producer/co-writer Craig Kyle and co-writer Chris Yost
    • Hulk Vs. Thor - Audio Commentary by Supervising Producer/co-writer Craig Kyle and co-writer Chris Yost
    • First Look: Wolverine and the X-Men featurette
    • First Look: Thor Tales of Asgard featurette
    • Trailer Gallery
  • Two-Disc Special Edition:
    • Audio Commentary on Wolverine by Supervising Director Frank Paur and Storyboard Artists Kevin Altieri and Butch Lukic
    • This is Gonna Hurt: The Making of Hulk Vs Wolverine featurette
    • Fan Frenzy: Hulk Vs Wolverine at the 2008 San Diego Comic-Con featurette
    • Audio Commentary by Supervising Director Frank Paur, Animation Director Sam Liu and Color Key Design James Peters
    • Of Gods and Monsters: The Making of Hulk Vs Thor featurette
    • Jack Kirby and Thor (original Thor comic illustrator) featurette

Planet Hulk[edit]

Planet Hulk is the seventh feature direct to video in the series. The movie was released on February 2, 2010 as a Two-Disc Special Edition DVD, Special Edition Blu-ray, Standard DVD, and Digital Download.[24] It was the second film produced by Madhouse.[22][30] The movie is based on the Planet Hulk storyline in the comic book published in 2006-2007 by Greg Pak and Carlo Pagulayan.[24][31] The Hulk was sent to a harsh planet where he is enslaved as he was weakened because of the travel through space. As a slave he becomes a gladiator in a society ruled by the despotic Red King. After relying on his savage instincts, he becomes the leader of a gladiator group.[24]

Disc extras
  • audio commentaries
  • featurettes
  • music videos
  • two Marvel motion comics featuring the Hulk
  • Wolverine And The X-Men full episode that guest stars the Hulk[31]

Thor: Tales of Asgard[edit]

Thor: Tales of Asgard is the final and eight feature in the series and is based on the character of the same name by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. This animated feature was released on May 17, 2011, 11 days after the Thor film.[32] Thor: Tales of Asgard takes place in Thor's early years before the hammer. He goes on a quest for Lost Sword of Surtur with Loki, his adopted brother, and the Warriors Three. Shifting from a treasure hunt to live or death and Asgard in the balance, Thor must show himself worth of his destiny.[25]

Disc extras
  • Audio commentary
    • with Supervising Producer Craig Kyle and Screenwriter Greg Johnson
    • Supervising Director Gary Hartle, Animation Director Sam Liu and Character Designer Phil Bourassa
  • "Worthy: The Making of Thor: Tales of Asgard" featurette
  • The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes Episode[25]

Cast and characters[edit]

Character Ultimate Avengers Ultimate Avengers 2 Invincible Iron Man Doctor Strange Next Avengers Hulk Versus Planet Hulk Thor
Algrim   Ron Halder
Ancient One   Michael Yama  
Azari   Dempsey Pappion  
Balder   Michael Adamthwaite  
Francis Barton   Adrian Petriw  
Beta Ray Bill   Paul Dobson  
Black Panther   Jeffrey D. Sams  
Black Widow Olivia D'Abo  
Bruce Banner Michael Massee   Ken Kramer Bryce Johnson  
Caiera   Lisa Ann Beley  
Captain America Justin Gross  
Wong-Chu   James Sie  
Deadpool   Nolan North  
Dormammu   Jonathan Adams  
Enchantress   Kari Wahlgren   Ashleigh Ball
Fandral   Jonathan Holmes   Alistair Abell
Fenris   Brian Drummond
Nick Fury André Ware  
Giant Man Nolan North  
Hela   Janyse Jaud  
Hiroim   Liam O'Brien  
Hogun   Paul Dobson   Paul Dobson
Hulk Fred Tatasciore   Fred Tatasciore Rick D. Wasserman  
Iron Man Marc Worden   Tom Kane   Marc Worden  
Elloe Kaifi   Advah Soudack  
Herr Kleiser James K. Ward  
Korg   Kevin Michael Richardson  
Lady Deathstrike   Janyse Jaud  
Loki   Graham McTavish   Rick Gomez
Mandarin   Fred Tatasciore  
Miek   Samuel Vincent  
Baron Mordo   Kevin Michael Richardson  
Odin   French Tickner   Christopher Britton
Omega Red   Colin Murdock  
Pepper Potts   Elisa Gabrielli  
Henry Pym, Jr.   Aidan Drummond  
Red King   Mark Hildreth  
James Rogers   Noah C. Crawford  
Betty Ross Nan McNamara   Nicole Oliver  
Sabretooth   Mark Acheson  
Lavin Skee   Michael Kopsa  
Sif   Grey DeLisle   Tara Strong
Howard Stark   John McCook  
Doctor Strange   Bryce Johnson  
Thor David Boat   Michael Adamthwaite Matthew Wolf   Matthew Wolf
Professor Thorton   Tom Kane  
Torunn   Brenna O'Brien  
Ultron   Tom Kane  
Valkyrie   Nicole Oliver   Cathy Weseluck
Vision   Shawn MacDonald  
Volstagg   Jay Brazeau   Brent Chapman
War Machine   Rodney Saulsberry  
Wasp Grey DeLisle  
Wolverine   Steven Blum  
Wong   Paul Nakauchi  

Reception[edit]

Critical reaction[edit]

Ultimate Avengers: The Movie[edit]

Felix Vasquez Jr. of Cinema Crazed said, "It gave me what I wanted, in terms of entertainment, acting, animation, and sheer style..."[33] Jeffrey M. Anderson of Common Sense Media called it an "average animated action tale [that] features troubled superheroes."[34] David Cornelius of eFilmCritic.com said, "It's too violent for younger viewers, but not mature enough for older ones. It's a movie trapped in between target audiences."[35]

Ultimate Avengers 2: Rise of the Black Panther[edit]

Felix Vasquez Jr. of Cinema Crazed said, "If this story doesn't widen its ideas, it's going to get much worse..."[36] Jeffrey M. Anderson of Common Sense Media said, "[This] downbeat superhero story has less character, more violence."[37] Marc Kandel of eFilmCritic.com said, "Turns out the sequel's just as bland as the first."[38]

The Invincible Iron Man[edit]

David Cornelius of eFilmCritic.com said, "It's enough to tide fans over until the live action flick arrives."[39] Todd Gilchrist of IGN said that "there are some great details that really bring this story to life," concluding that the film is "not quite invincible, but for a film about a guy made out of iron, it's pretty tough."[40] Mike Pinsky of DVD Verdict said "the first act takes a very long time to get going," "the villains have no personality whatsoever," and "the art design and animation frame rate are really no better than the average television cartoon." Pinsky added that "there are some nice touches" and "the third act does generate some suspense," but concluded that "given all these obstacles, I don't know if even Iron Man could win this battle."[41] Todd Douglass Jr. of DVD Talk said, "I enjoyed watching The Invincible Iron Man, but it didn't open any new doors for me as an Iron Man fan. From the start the story was pretty straight-forward and predictable, though a few twists kept the adventure exciting along the way. Some of the character development also felt kind of forced to me with things simply happening for no reason other than to further the plot." Douglass concluded, "In the end, The Invincible Iron Man should be considered an achievement by comic book fans. The solid adventure features a lot of action and a rich comic book atmosphere that will leave you wanting more DVDs just like it."[42]

Doctor Strange: The Sorcerer Supreme[edit]

Christopher Monfette of IGN said the film "plays out as expected" and has "[a] middle section [that] sags," but features "action sequences [that are] beautifully choreographed and emotionally resonant," and concluded that "strong animation, good acting, and resonant character work bring the icon to life."[43] Adam Arseneau of DVD Verdict said the film "fails to live up to its narrative potential" and criticized the "rushed ending," but praised its "sharp animation" and described the DVD as a "solid rental."[44] Nick Lyons of DVD Talk said that "the visuals are engaging," but criticized the film for "dramatically alter[ing]" the character, saying: "Instead of characterizing Stephen Strange as a cocky, personably, confident jackass like in the comic books he has been reduced to an emo wimp with a useless tacked-on backstory about the death of his sister. The lifeless voice work by Bryce Johnson doesn't help the character, either." Lyons concluded, "Comic book fans looking for a faithful adaptation of Dr. Strange will sadly be disappointed by this animated feature. For a superior Marvel animated movie, I'd advise checking out the first Ultimate Avengers. "[45]

Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow[edit]

Felix Vasquez Jr. of Cinema Crazed said, "[This is] the antithesis of what should be done to grab new demographics."[46] Nancy Davis Kho of Common Sense Media called it a "rollicking young superhero tale [that features] lots of cartoon violence."[47] David Cornelius of DVD Talk called it, "Another batch of lost opportunities for Marvel."[48] Felix Gonzalez Jr. of DVD Review said, "With by-the-numbers characters and only a marginally interesting setup, however, even younger viewers may grow impatient as the film makes its way to a pretty good climax."[49]

Hulk Versus[edit]

Hulk vs. Wolverine

Cindy White of IGN said, "The benefits of a direct-to-DVD project like this is that the creators didn't have to shy away from the kind of gore that would be unacceptable for a Saturday-morning audience" commenting on how Wolverine uses his claws on a living entity and not just on robots as in other animated features.[50] Todd Douglass Jr. of DVD Talk described it as fast paced, but criticized the Weapon X backstory as "a bit out of place" and said it "also takes away from the Hulk versus Wolverine storyline."[51] Kerry Birmingham of DVD Verdict stated, "The most immediately successful of the two is Wolverine, enlivened by a punchier script than its Norse cousin. Craig Kyle and Chris Yost, screenwriters for both episodes, are veteran comic book writers and well-versed in the world of the X-Men, and as such seem to have injected Wolverine with a bit more energy."[52]

Hulk vs. Thor

Cindy White of IGN stated, "Rather than the wild, forest landscapes of Canada, this one deals with the stately architecture of Asgard, and there are a lot more characters. Being less familiar with Thor as a series, some of the shout-outs to the comics were lost on me, for the most part, but I'm sure Thor fans will appreciate them.[50] Todd Douglass Jr. of DVD Talk said, "In Hulk vs. Thor the plot is a little more calculated and it feels balanced by comparison." and actually like the battles "One of the joys of Hulk vs. Thor was watching the monster tear his way across Odin's world. Nothing can stand in his way and there are many outstanding moments and fight scenes peppered throughout the film."[51] Kerry Birmingham of DVD Verdict stated, "Kyle and Yost have less of an affinity for Thor, and it shows; their Thor script, despite its violence, lacks the glee of the Wolverine installment. In approaching Thor's Hulk as a raging counterpart to Wolverine's more reactive, child-like Hulk, the creators commendably draw a distinction between their interpretations of the character, but the Asgard throw down is simply less fun than its more gonzo counterpart."[52]

Planet Hulk[edit]

Felix Vasquez Jr. of Cinema Crazed said, "All in all strong voice work tops what is a truly entertaining installment from the Marvel animated film gallery."[53] Rick Marshall of MTV said, "In the end, Planet Hulk is a fun film that should prove entertaining for mainstream audiences and fans of the character. Marvel Studios and Lionsgate are headed in the right direction with their animated features, and Planet Hulk feels like another step forward."[24]

Thor: Tales of Asgard[edit]

Brian Costello of Common Sense Media criticized the film for its use of violence, drinking, and sexual innuendo.[54] Cindy White of IGN gave it a 7.0 out of 10 stating, "When it comes to content made just for DVD, DC and Warner Bros. have consistently edged out Marvel with their series of original animated movies, in quality of storytelling as well as animation. There's nothing about Thor: Tales of Asgard that reverses that trend".[55] Kofi Outlaw of Screen Rant said "All in all, Tales of Asgard is an enjoyable Thor adventure -- even with the titular character reduced to teen age. It’s not necessarily one of those animated features you’ll want to watch over and over again, but if you’re a collector of every Marvel animated movie released, or are looking for an entertaining superhero adventure to rent, definitely check it out".[56] James O'Ehley of Sci-Fi Movie Page said, "Don't judge this DVD by its cover: the movie might as well be called Young Thor or I Was a Teenaged Norse Deity."[57]

Sales[edit]

Year
Film Number Gross
(US$M sales)
Units
(US sales)
Refs.
2006 Ultimate Avengers 1 $6 554,913 [13]
2006 Ultimate Avengers 2 2 $7 588,073 [14]
2007 The Invincible Iron Man 3 $5 420,016 [58]
2007 Doctor Strange: The Sorcerer Supreme 4 $3 258,462 [15]
2008 Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow 5 $3 304,243 [59]
2009 Hulk Versus 6 $7 509,206 [60]
2010 Planet Hulk 7 $7 404,614 [61]
2011 Thor: Tales of Asgard 8 $2 159,875 [62]
Totals: $42,935,384 3,199,059

References[edit]

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External links[edit]

Official site Marvel's IMDb Rotten Tomatoes Other
Ultimate Avengers MVL page IMDb RT page Y! page
Ultimate Avengers 2 none IMDb RT page Movies.com
Invincible Iron Man Marvel IMDb RT page
Doctor Strange Marvel IMDb RT page
Next Avengers none IMDb RT page
Hulk Versus Marvel IMDb none All Movie
Planet Hulk Marvel IMDb RT page The-Numbers.com
Thor: Tales of Asgard Thor-DVD.com IMDb RT page The-Numbers.com

Warning: Display title "Marvel Animated Features" overrides earlier display title "<i>Marvel Animated Features</i>".