Avenger’s Assemble will air a special hour preview, “The Avengers Protocol” Parts 1 and 2, Sunday May 26 on DisneyXD. If you don’t want to wait you can also watch “The Avengers Protocol” Pt. 1 via iTunes.
“So the plan is: there is no plan.” Hawkeye sarcastically remarks to the newly reformed Avengers as they are about to infiltrate a Hydra base. This is a great way to describe the first episode of Avengers Assemble. There is no show. Yes it is a linear series of events with some logic, but there is nothing to it. The first episode of Avengers Assemble is simply put an utter piece of shit that doesn't bode well for the future of this series and Marvel animation in general.
Just to get it out of the way. That story that this show would be following Earth Mightiest Heroes is not true. It feels like none of the Avengers even know each other. Thor and Hulk bicker and Hawkeye acts snarky to everyone but he doesn't appear to know Black Widow. These are former friends who disbanded, for some reason. None of them seem all that bitter about seeing each other again. Black Widow shows up completely out of the loop...even though she’s been following them the entire time. Sam Wilson, The Falcon shows up after he gets retconned a bit which isn’t a big deal. But there is no character or context given to these “new” Avengers. There isn’t any given to the old Avengers. Once again stuff just happens in this episode.
“The Avengers Protocol” Pt.1 has a mile a minute plot, which is terrible. Seriously watch the first 3 minutes of the show a TON of stuff happens. The Avengers break-up, Red Skull kills Captain America, MODOK nearly kills Iron Man. Heck a ton of stuff happens in the first 5 minutes. Only problem is that when things happen, of which there are many, none of it has any sort of emotional weight or solid context. You kill Captain America in the first 3 minutes and it’s brushed off 30 seconds later. The Red Skull comes back from the dead somehow it’s given a pacing line and then forgotten. The Avengers are Disassembled, for some reason but that dissolution was only so they can get back together in the first 5 minutes. The band is called back together to avenge one of their own and none of them take a second to mourn or even pause. It’s just well I called you hear so we can go kill Red Skull. Ready. Set. Go! Things just continue to happen to these characters and while there is a logic to it none of it feels right.
Assembles Animation is a mixed bag. The character designs are a bit robotic but there is a nice detail and style to them. Only problem is these cells feel like they are just being overlayed on top of the background with no thought given to shadows or attempts at depth. Making the animation look like a “higher” quality version of the old The Marvel Super Heroes aka Motion Comics the TV show. Which is a real bummer on their own the character animations are workable. Captain America (or should I say Red Skull) moves fluidly across the frame taking apart our heroes. When they aren’t moving the designs look completely out of place. Spectacular Spider-Man and Earths Mightiest Heroes had a very stylezed look but the mise-en-scene worked. It all gelled and felt alive. This feels cheap and dead. There is a real of solid action sequences, but you’ll probably want to watch them in gif form.
.The voice acting leaves something to be desired but clearly the least of this shows problems.
22 minutes later and Avengers Assemble feels like a cheap cynical cash grab to keep the Avengersbrand in the mind of young people and sell toys. Who will most likely eat this up because they don’t know better. There will be toys made and they will sell. Assemble feels like some of the worst examples of 80s animation. At least GI JOE and Transformers had a certain amount of irony and fun about it. This is has none of that.
Time for the typical disclaimer. Maybe the first couple episodes just really suck and aren’t going to be indicative of the overall product. It isn’t uncommon for shows to take some time to figure out their rhythm. Most shows though don’t start on this wrong a foot. “The Avengers Protocol” Pt. 1 isn’t a wrong step. It is like someone failing at QWOP who thinks they are running.