Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Sketched TV: Avengers Assemble

Get out your hammers and shields, we're reviewing the pilot for Avengers Assemble!
Somehow they made MODOK less MODOK in AA. Also he's bald
now? Because we don't have enough bald villains?
The Avengers have broken up, but when something happens to Captain America, Tony Stark brings them together to avenge him. Can they still work together?


Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes was the best Avengers cartoon. Hands down. It ended at the end of last year and they didn't renew it after the second season, basically so they could make this cartoon series, Avengers Assemble. So you can bet your SWEET JAMAICAN ASS I'm going to judge the HELL out of it.
I can't tell if Black Widow's voice actor is bad
or if her character is always uninterested.

Avengers Assemble is not a very good series. It is slightly better than Ultimate Spider-Man, but not by much. And you can question why I'm scrutinizing this show while still completely loving Teen Titans Go but I can explain that. A) The first Teen Titans cartoon started ten years ago (now feel old about that), so at least there's been some time between shows, as opposed to the barely 6 months between Avengers cartoons. B) Teen Titans had five seasons and a movie, plenty of time to tell their stories, as opposed to Avengers: EMH’s measly 2 seasons. C) Teen Titans Go has a unique style and can differentiate itself enough from the original, and is actually good. Avengers Assemble is the same kind of cartoon, and really poorly done.

I can't understand why they'd put out this new cartoon instead of just continuing Avengers: EMH. I can't imagine kids would be dumb enough that they would watch the Avengers movie and not get the connection to the Avengers cartoon. Really, they need to be the exact team and these exact designs for them to be interested enough to watch? If Avengers: EMH really wasn't doing as well as they'd hoped, I can't imagine this faring any better. I don't know why they didn't just advertise the living hell out of EMH when the movie came out. Instead, they canned EMH to make AA, and it doesn't look half as good.

And that's the thing that gets me – this show feels super cheap and slapped together. Did they not give the studio enough money or enough time to produce it? The opening (if you can call it that) is the same 5 second After Effects slapped-together opening of Ultimate Spider-Man. They could not even be bothered to try. And the animation is really… really bad. There's one group shot(at :43 in the trailer) in the first half hour that's supposed to mirror the group shot of the movie, but it's just still images of the each of the heroes flying from left to right. Someone did that shot in 5 minutes in After Effects. It would be an insult to call it animation. It reminds me of that mock episode "The Adventures of Mr. Incredible" from The Incredibles special features with the terrible-on-purpose animation. It's laughable at times.

Don't tell anyone, but I actually like the design for Iron Man.
Oh except for this one hair flick Black Widow does when she's standing up. Hawkeye gets up regularly, but Black Widow flicks her head back like she's in a L’Oreal commercial. Because LADIES ARE PRETTY I GUESS. Ugh. I just don't understand it, because this is the new Avengers cartoon, the cartoon Marvel is front-running, that they're going to sell a buttload of toys with, and they couldn't do better than this? I'm aware a lot of cartoon pilots having not-great animation in the beginning and get better over time, but you couldn't do better than this? They needed to prove it would be better than Avengers: EMH and they did not.

And the character designs are… not terrible. I think they got the proportions right, and they're basically using the movie costumes, so they're not all that bad. The only problem is that some of them have Coulson Face©, in that all the white guys except for Tony have the same exact face. It is not great. At least they aren't Ultimate Spider-Man Avengers with terrible anime sideburns Hulk. Yeesh.

The voice actors are alright; I think they even have a few from Avengers: EMH. And they even have J.K. Simmons' J. Jonah Jameson, which is always a step in the right direction. Maybe this means they're going to do an Ultimate Spider-Man crossover. But then I have to ask, why they just didn't make an Ultimate Avengers or Ultimates cartoon? That's another problem, I'm not really sure what universe/continuity this takes place in and the pilot did more to confuse than enlighten. They were already Avengers before, they have the same costumes as the movie, and the same roster and Stark tower is the same, so is it from the movie? No, it can't be, because they had Avengers Mansion and Red Skull and MODOK pop up like it's no big deal, so is it AFTER Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes? No, because Falcon is a new kid instead of someone they already know, and there's no talk of Ant Man, Wasp, Black Panther or any of the other Avengers they've met in the series. Did they break up in the Ultimate Spider-Man universe and come back here?
Glad they included Falcon, but wish they still had
Black Panther. But obviously you can't have TWO black
superheroes on the same team. What is this, Furious 6?

Also, this was a problem with the movie, but Avengers Assemble is kind of a sausage fest. The only woman is Black Widow, and being the spy type, she's barely there. Sure this was also a problem with Avengers: EMH, but at least they had Jan who was a HUGE character in the Avengers' inception and had a lot more to do and say.

The pilot was also very fast. I wanted it to slow down and explain me a thing or two. But I guess they think kids are dumb so HEY LOOK AT THIS NOW HERE'S A THING LASERS WOAH AVENGERS ASSEMBLE.

The stories are pretty generic. They have body swapping, and then the good-guys-get-mind-controlled-and-fight-each-other plot, and it looks like they're doing the tired evil-version-of-Avengers. And it would be a fun reversal otherwise, but it's not something you do on the pilot when you need to prove you have some original stories to tell. But, putting the animation and stories aside, the dialogue isn't bad. It can be fun at times. That is when they aren't stealing lines and shots from the Avengers movie as if they don't have anything else to draw from. You have a whole collection of YEARS of comics and you reference a 2 hour movie?

The voice acting isn't bad. Not great either, but we'll see. The music on the other hand is generic as all hell and made me want to scoop out my eardrums after a while. Ok, horns! We get it! It's epic! With the bad animation and bad music, I felt like I was watching an Avengers HISHE parody cartoon, but less fun.

And also, please stop using letterbox for EVERY. DAMN. SHOT. Either pick a few important shots or do the entire thing in letterbox. But otherwise, KNOCK IT OFF. I mean it's fine if you want to have a comic book style layout and pacing like that Spider-Man Unlimited cartoon way back when, but then do that and do it all the way through. Pick a style and stay with it. Geez.
Glad they have the long face-movie version of Hulk. Now STOP
So yeah. Avengers Assemble. I wouldn't call it Earth's Mightiest Heroes, but it's not terrible. Honestly, I really hope it gets better because this is all we've got now.

THE GOOD: Falcon and Black Widow so yay diversity? Character design is ok, funny and quipy, J. K. Simmons.

THE BAD: Animation is terrible. music is bad, too much letterbox, too fast, generic stories, don't know what universe it takes place in.

THE VERDICT: $$$ Just go watch Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes again and weep. Or you could watch a few episodes of this and see if it gets better. I really don't know if I'm going to watch it or not. I hope it gets better.

SHOWS LIKE IT: Ultimate Spider-Man.

ONE-SCENE METAPHOR: "Hulk, time to get angry!" "I'm always angry." Because they had to reference the movie in case you didn't know that the Avengers in this cartoon is the same Avengers you saw in the movie.

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