tek's rating: ½

Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow (PG)
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The movie begins with a group of young children listening to a story told by their guardian. The story he tells them is of the Marvel superhero team known as the Avengers (with whom I am reasonably familiar from some other movies and shows, though I've never read comics about them, really). In the story, he refers to Captain America as "the soldier," Thor as "the god," Iron Man as "the knight," Black Widow as "the spy," Giant Man as "the giant," Black Panther as "the king," Wasp as "the pixie," the Vision as "the ghost," and Hawkeye as "the archer." (The only one of these characters I'd never heard of before was the Vision, an android who rather reminds me of Red Tornado, a DC character... but the Vision also seems to be able to phase through solid matter, which reminds me of another DC character, Martian Manhunter.) He tells of them defeating villains they couldn't have beaten on their own, but only as a team. Then he talks about the soldier and spy falling in love, as did the giant and pixie, and everyone starting new lives, once the world was safe. And the various Avengers had babies. But then this evil robot called Ultron defeated the Avengers, but not before they hid their children somewhere safe. These, of course, are the children currently listening to the story.

After the story (and the opening credits), the movie flashes forward 12 years. I don't totally understand the time frame here... a bit later in the movie, it's stated that Ultron has spent the last 13 years working on his conquest of Earth (which seems a bit long to me, compared to other stories about Ultron). I'm not sure how long the kids had been with their guardian in hiding at the time the story was told; I suppose it could've been a year at most, but I feel like it should've been longer, except that one of them seemed to be a baby. Anyway, not important. We soon meet two of the children, playing tag. One is called Pym (the son of Giant Man and Wasp), and one is Azari (son of Black Panther and Storm, of the X-Men). Anyway, Pym's the one who seemed to be a baby during the story, and he certainly acts the most immature of any of the kids, though he is ostensibly the smartest of them. After that we soon meet Torunn, the daughter of Thor and Sif. (At the time I watched this, I didn't recall having ever heard of Sif, but some time later she would become familiar from the movie Thor.) After that, we meet James, the son of Captain America and Black Widow. And we learn that their guardian is "Tony," so the viewer will immediately guess that he must be Iron Man, though the kids don't know that. Anyway, James and Torunn both clearly wish they could get to know their respective fathers.

Um... and then after some playing and fighting with each other, something breaches their defensive perimeter. It turns out to be the Vision, who was coming to talk to Tony about Ultron's ongoing conquest. But he was damaged, so Tony took him off somewhere, and told the kids to stay behind. Naturally, they didn't listen, and found their way into a secret underground area they didn't even know existed. While looking for Tony, they find some big, inactive robots (the Iron Avengers), which are designed to look like the Avengers. James accidentally brings them online, and they take off to fulfill their mission of defeating Ultron. This, of course, alerts Ultron to their presence, and he leaves his home base of Ultra City and infects the robots with his own programming, taking control of them (why Tony would have built them knowing this could happen is beyond me, but whatever). So Tony dons his Iron Man armor to fight them off, as well as Ultron, while the Vision (now just a head being carried by the kids) gets plugged into a ship's controls to take the kids to safety. Unfortunately, the Vision loses power, so the kids are on their own.

Tony is captured by Ultron, and the kids decide to go to Ultra City to rescue him. There they meet Francis Barton, the son of Hawkeye, who thought himself to be the last Avenger (not that he was ever really an Avenger, like his father). Francis's father is dead now, and Francis calls himself Hawkeye. He was kind of annoyed to find out these other Avenger kids existed, although he was immediately attracted to Torunn. Anyway, he was leading a group of underground Scavengers (I do like that that word includes the word "avengers") who managed to stay away from the many robots that patrolled Ultra City. He reluctantly agrees to help the kids rescue Tony, after some words from one of the Scavengers, Betty Ross. After rescuing Tony, they all head to the desert to find Bruce Banner, hoping his alter-ego the Hulk could help them defeat Ultron. However, Bruce just wants to be left alone, since "bad things happen when the Hulk comes out". But the kids come up with a plan to lure Ultron to their location, hoping the Hulk will help them. They first have to fight the Iron Avengers, though of course Ultron does show up himself.

And I don't really want to give away how it ends. I definitely liked the characters; the kids' personalities were surprisingly well defined, for the short length of time we get to know them, especially Torunn. The movie was fairly decent, and I felt like it'd make a good pilot for an ongoing series. Unfortunately, I doubt such a thing will ever happen, but I wish we'd at least get a sequel movie someday. I'd like to get to know these characters better....

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