ULTIMATE AVENGERS II
Ultimate Avengers II follows on very closely from Ultimate Avengers continuity-wise. You could easily imagine the two as a single story arc in a weekly tv series, for instance. This certainly leads to some interesting developments on what has gone before as we see that the unit that became The Avengers in the last film is starting to fractionate off Bruce Banner has been regarded as dangerously unstable and untrustworthy as a result of The Hulks rampages and is kept locked up by the military and dosed with valium; Captain America has become grim and burned out, obsessively throwing himself into crime-fighting rather than confronting his (never specified) fears; Hank Pym has become egomaniacally obsessed with pushing his height higher at great personal risk.
Ultimate Avengers stood up well. It introduced the characters and their various origin stories and brought them together in an epic-sized adventure. Ultimate Avengers II unfortunately falls too much in the shadow of that first film and fails to fully stand as its own work. Much of the film is spent playing catch up with where the first film left us and from there simply extruding what happened a little further. It lacks the same fun the first film had in the sense of the various origin stories of the well-known characters being woven together. It should be noted that while Ultimate Avengers reasonably followed the plot of The Ultimates, Ultimate Avengers II bears no resemblance the plot of the comic-book The Ultimates 2 (2004-7).
The one new character we get this time is that of Black Panther, who first appeared in 1966 and had the distinction of being the first ever Black superhero Black Panther/TChalla essentially becomes the central character of Ultimate Avengers II. The film reasonably closely follows the Black Panther origin story, introducing the death of TChallas father TChaka, Wakandas closure to the rest of the world and the vibranium meteorite buried beneath the kingdom, albeit winding these in with the Ultimate Avengers backstory for example, it is now the Chitauri who kill King TChaka as opposed to the super-villain Ulysses Klaw as in the comic-book.
Certainly, once it brings all the plot elements together, Ultimate Avengers II rises to a reasonably invigorating climax with the various superheroes fighting off the aliens. Some of the images of the alien invasion with attacking tripod machines have undeniably been borrowed from H.G. Wells The War of the Worlds (1898). Nevertheless, Ultimate Avengers II is disappointingly perfunctory. Despite raising interesting character issues, they are not given adequate time to be satisfactorily developed. The plot seems too schematically developed and proceeds in a direct line towards its end without bringing any of its character issues to a satisfying closure.