Review: Avengers Assemble

CAPTAIN AMERICA, BLACK WIDOW, IRON MAN, FALCOLN, HAWKEYE, HULK, THORI’ll admit some bias before I go much further in this review. “The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” was one of the best comic book based cartoon shows I’ve ever seen as it packed decades of the best Avengers stories into 52 fantastic episodes and did so in a manner that was immensely enjoyable for kids and adults alike.

I wasn’t ecstatic upon learning it was being canceled and replaced with “Avengers Assemble,” which puts a greater emphasis on being the animated companion to the “Marvel’s The Avengers” movie, but I figured I’d give it a shot.

If the first two episodes — “The Avengers Protocol Part 1 and Part 2” — are any indication, I’ll need to start tracking down the full series of “The Avengers: EMH” on DVD real soon.  

Red Skull and M.O.D.O.K.For some reason, Tony Stark/Iron Man has disbanded the Avengers, but he stalks keeps an eye on his pals via drones. After The Red Skull and M.O.D.O.K. kill an Avenger, Stark decides to bring the band back together.

Adrian Pasdar (“Heroes”) replaces Eric Loomis who’d mastered Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark tone and dialogue delivery perfectly. I’m mixed on the switch as Pasdar commendably doesn’t just try to mimic RDJ, but Stark/Iron Man is fully the center of the “Assemble” universe like the films so channeling RDJ makes sense in this case.BLACK WIDOW, IRON MAN

I get that most people’s favorite Avenger these days is Iron Man, but writing team Man of Action make the show so much about him that they may as well have called it “Iron Man and his Amazing Avenger Friends” as they do little to justify why Stark needs anyone’s assistance.

Answering Stark’s call is The Hulk (Fred Tatasciore, “EMH”), Thor (Travis Willingham) Hawkeye (Troy Baker, “Iron Man: Rise of Technovore”), Black Widow (Laura Bailey) and newcomer Falcon (Bumper Robinson, “Justice League Doom”).marvels-avengers-assemble Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye and Hulk

The shift in the team roster means that major “EMH” cast members Giant-Man/Yellowjacket and Black Panther aren’t around and more disappointing is the lack of females, particularly the fun Wasp and Ms. Marvel.

Besides Captain America and Thor — who are written stiff and rigid to a fault — the rest of the team are written overly snarky. The “too kewl for all of this” attitude goes from unwelcome shift in tone to outright annoying. Black Widow complains about Iron Man not installing a women’s bathroom in the new headquarters while Hulk smashes through a wall presumably because it was in his way.

Avengers Assemble Falcon, Hulk and HawkeyeFalcon is especially grating as he acts like a star struck fanboy around his new teammates, making me miss the regal demeanor of Black Panther even more.

The animation is really inconsistent with some scenes looking very polished and a marked improvement over “EMH,” while others look like something you’d find in a 1980s cartoon.

I guess this could be entertaining to a 6-year-old, but “EMH” worked so well because the writers (including Man of Action) didn’t dumb the material down. What’s most frustrating here is that there was a perfectly great Avengers show that was scrapped for a vastly inferior successor.Hawkeye, Hulk, Iron Man and Thor in Avengers Assemble

I’ll give it a few more episodes, but this isn’t off to a very promising start.

Rating: 3 out of 10