Cautious optimism greeted Marvel’s plan to scrap select live-action theatrical releases and opt for direct-to-DVD animated films. Based closely on the opening issues of The Ultimates comic book, the animation style here continually walks the line between stylized anime and mundane cartoon. The voice talent, though, is dead-on. With a running time of only 71 minutes, the film is unable to fully explore the dirty inner demons that each hero deals with; though we do get hints at some impending danger, the characters lose a lot of their edge. Still, Marvel has done the right thing here by concentrating on good storytelling and not relying on a big budget to sell a film. Remember the nipple suits and neon Gotham City from Batman & Robin? No one wants to relive that.