HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Helldriver
One Hour to Zero
Battle of Billy's Pond, The
Terror in Beverly Hills
Zoo Robbery, The
Anoop and the Elephant
Adrift
Never a Dull Moment
McQueen
Ugly Duckling, The
Apostle
Distant Voices, Still Lives
Hereditary
Cup Fever
Peril for the Guy
3 Days in Quiberon
Club, The
Best F(r)iends: Volume 1
Pili
Suspect, The
Baxter!
Dead Night
Thoroughbreds
Ghost and the Darkness, The
Strike Commando
Molly
Full Alert
Up the Academy
Darling Lili
Tehran Taboo
   
 
Newest Articles
If He Were a Carpenter and It Was the 80s: The Fog, Prince of Darkness and They Live
Tee-Hee, It's 80s Sci-Fi Horror: Night of the Comet, The Stuff and Night of the Creeps
Chance of a Ghost: The Uninvited and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
3 Simian Slashers: Phenomena, Link and Monkey Shines
When is a Jackie Chan Movie Not a Jackie Chan Movie? Armour of God and City Hunter
Anytime Anywhere: The Complete Goodies at the BBC Episode Guide Part 2
Anytime Anywhere: The Complete Goodies at the BBC Episode Guide Part 1
I-Spy Scotland: The Thirty Nine Steps and Eye of the Needle
Manor On Movies--Black Shampoo--three three three films in one
Manor On Movies--Invasion USA
Time Trap: Last Year in Marienbad and La Jetée
Gaining Three Stone: Salvador, Natural Born Killers and Savages
Right Said Bernard: Cribbins on DVD
1969: The Year Westerns Couldn't Get Past
A Network Horror Double Bill: Assault and Death Line on Blu-ray
   
 
  Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher An anime take on the Marvel UniverseBuy this film here.
Year: 2014
Director: Kenichi Shimizu
Stars: Jennifer Carpenter, Brian Bloom, John Eric Bentley, Grant George, Kyle Herbert, Kari Wahlgren, Eric Bauza, JB Blanc, Fred Tatasciore, Matthew Mercer
Genre: Action, Animated, Science Fiction, Adventure
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Caught interfering with a top secret mission, gun-toting vigilante Frank Castle (voiced by Brian Bloom) a.k.a. the Punisher reluctantly teams with S.H.I.E.L.D agent Natasha Romanoff (Jennifer Carpenter) a.k.a. Black Widow. On the orders of director Nick Fury (John Eric Bentley) the pair set out to prevent a a global terrorist organisation called LEVIATHAN from selling stolen S.H.I.E.L.D technology to the highest bidder. Initially at each other's throats, Punisher and Black Widow learn to set aside their differences with the fate of the world at stake.

Marvel Studios made their bid for the animation market hitherto dominated by rivals DC/Warner Brothers with four TV shows and two direct-to-video features animated by Madhouse, the acclaimed Japanese studio behind among others Wicked City (1987) and Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust (2001). Of which Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher is the second following Iron Man: Rise of the Technovore (2013). Surprisingly for a supposed Avengers outing the film spotlights non-team member though fan-favourite the Punisher in a team-up with comparatively under-exposed stalwart Black Widow. Voiced effectively by veteran actor Brian Bloom, this actually marks the character's first appearance within the official Marvel universe predating Jon Bernthal's definitive incarnation on Marvel's Netflix show by two years.

Appropriately the film serves the grim nature of the Punisher with a neo-noirish tone reminiscent of early anime by Madhouse's celebrated chief auteur Yoshiyuki Kawajiri. It delivers an authentically brutal though not overly graphic depiction of Frank Castle's uncompromising vigilante methods liable to satisfy fans if unlikely to convert those comic book readers who never quite warmed to the grim character. By comparison Madhouse's oddly smirking, anemic redesign of Black Widow proves less engaging than her charismatic live-action avatar Scarlett Johansson despite solid voice-acting from Dexter star Jennifer Carpenter.

Upholding Marvel's weird compunction for constantly pitting their heroes against each other Avengers Confidential wastes no time in having the titular mismatched allies trade blows repeatedly throughout the plot. Frank Castle is such a rigid, unrelenting sourpuss unwilling to work with others his presence dilutes the inherently fun nature of S.H.I.E.L.D's spy-jinks. He functions better as a street-level character though it is worth noting his driven, brooding demeanour may well appeal to a Japanese audience as akin to a gekiga antihero. Nonetheless the script exhibits a solid grasp of the characters despite a tendency towards heavy exposition between punch-ups and a plot largely built around cool action sequences. The latter are visually inventive as indeed is the storytelling in spite of threadbare plotting, as one would expect from a Madhouse production. On the downside the emotional center of the story, centred on Black Widow's relationship with cyber-suited turncoat lover Elihas Starr (Grant George) flounders through melodramatic overstatement and weak motives. To its credit, Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher successfully utilizes familiar anime tropes to bring the Marvel universe to animated life. The film is also laden with fun Marvel Easter eggs including surprise cameos from other much-loved Marvel characters.


Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 519 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Who's the best?
Steven Seagal
Pam Grier
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Paul Shrimpton
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
  Patrick Keenan
Enoch Sneed
Ian Phillips
  Afra Khan
   

 

Last Updated: