Blu-Ray Review: The Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow


The Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow
Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Review By Jerry Rutledge

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The Next Avengers is an animated superhero movie.  I recommend it for the teen and preteen crowd, although there is plenty to please comic book fans in general.  In The Next Avengers, we learn the original Avengers have vanquished evil from the world and settled down and had superhero children.  However, their old foe, Ultron (voiced by Tom Kane), has risen from the ashes and defeated the Avengers.  Just before their defeat, the Avengers send their children to safety.  The young heroes are raised in a secret base by Tony Stark (secretly Iron Man, one of the original Avengers, and voiced by Tom Kane.)

After the base is discovered by Ultron, Stark is captured by Ultron and the Next Avengers are placed on the run.  They must devise a plan to rescue Stark and defeat Ultron.

The young heroes of the Next Avengers are all teens or pre-teens — James (son of Captain America and Black Widow, voiced by Noah C. Crawford), Torunn (daughter of Thor, voiced by Brenna O’Brien), Azari (son of Black Panther and Storm, voiced by Dempsey Pappion), Pym (son of Giant Man and Wasp, voiced by Aidan Drummond), and Francis (son of Hawkeye voice by Adrian Petriw).  Each child has to overcome the loss of or abandonment by their parents and has to prove their own mettle.  James is super agile and has a super shield, but emotionally he does not know whether he will be able to fulfill his role as natural leader and blames himself for the team’s failings.  Torunn is invulnerable like her father Thor, but cannot understand why her father left the Avengers and, more importantly, has left her.  She is headstrong and jumps into battles without thinking to try to prove herself.  Azari is naturally agile like his father, but is fun loving and undisciplined and has trouble controlling his mother’s electrical powers.   Pym has his parents ability to change to small or giant size, the neuro-sting of his mother and the techno-intellect of his father, but as the youngest in the group is very insecure.  Francis has the deadly accuracy with a bow and arrows of his father, but is an outsider and has to learn to cooperate with others in the group.

Along the way, the group comes up with a wild card scheme to enlist the help of the ancient and feeble looking Bruce Banner (voiced by Ken Kramer).  Banner is completely terrified that he will transform into The Hulk a green skinned behemoth of immeasurable strength (voiced by Fred Tatasciore).  The Hulk was an unrealiable member of the original Avengers because he had a tendency to attack everything in sight when consumed by bouts of fighting rage.

The scene locations are visually rewarding – the team travels from Stark’s secret jungle base in the Arctic Circle; to Ultron’s HQ and morphing UltraCity (including its underground inhabited by human survivors); to a peaceful, desert hydroponics garden; and to the Bifrost rainbow bridge outside Asgard.  The animation is solid and crisp and the voice characterizations are well done.  The lossless DTS-HD Master Audio sound score and effects get a nice workout during fight sequences that adds to the overall experience.

Two noteworthy featurettes are “Legacy: The Making of Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow,” discussing production and casting; and “Kid Power: Next-Gen Marvel,” discussing the film and how Marvel designs comics specifically for children.  Also included are comic trailers for other Liongate Entertainment releases.

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