Monday, August 24, 2015

Review: Avengers Assemble "Crime and Circuses"

You know, if I really wanted to, I could have spent that last Recap making jokes about Snake Man in Mega Man 3 instead of all those double entendres.

But honestly, what joke is there besides “Princess Python reminds me of Snake Man”?
Plot
Hawkeye’s past comes back to haunt him. All the stuff about the Stark Industries heist and the brainwashed Avengers is just to raise the stakes. The true conflict is between Hawkeye and his old team.

It’s actually really nice to see Hawkeye get some character development. The last episode about him was not only shared with Black Widow, but it didn’t really delve into either of their characters very much. But unlike Black Widow, Hawkeye got this episode to make up for the lack of character development there. Black Widow will have to wait until Season 2.

Themes
Much like “One Little Thing,” this episode focuses on secrets and lies. Specifically, lies of omission. Strictly speaking, nobody ever asked about Hawkeye’s past, but he never offered it up because he thought they’d all think less of him. In that way, the moral is a bit more, for lack of a better word, practical than when this was done in “One Little Thing.”

Friends like you for who you are, in spite of the mistakes you’ve made. If you admit to them and strive to improve yourself, true friends will stay by your side. Real friends forgive. Fake friends seek revenge.

Characters
Circus of Crime

When it comes to their heist plan, it actually makes a lot of sense on multiple levels. Circuses aren’t exactly what you’d call “relevant” anymore. Your average kid would rather watch Markiplier play Five Nights at Freddy’s than see trained gymnasts walk a tightrope. Heck, just Google that video of Felix Baumgartner if you want to see something really impressive.

No wonder that clown's sad, he wasn't even in this episode.
I bring this up because the same goes for comic book villains. While a gang of circus-themed villains would be cool to see in the 60’s, it really only works in the modern age if you have them be a superpowered freakshow.

Grant Morrisson knows what's up.
Hence the need to outfit the Circus of Crime with the Starktech. Not just so they can achieve their evil goals, but so the audience actually believes they can take on Falcon and Hawkeye.

Still, even with a technological edge, they’re not really that interesting. In fact, they’re all voiced by the series regulars. Travis Willingham (Thor) gets to be Trickshot, Adrain Pasdar (Iron Man) is Bruto the Strongman, Bumper Robinson (Falcon) is the Human Cannonball, Roger Craig Smith (Captain America) is both Gambonnos, and Fred Tatasciore gets to branch out from his usual role as the Hulk and play the Ringmaster.

But other than Tatasciore showing off his vocal range, the performances and characters are largely forgettable.

Hawkeye
Hawkeye, like a lot of snarky jerks in fiction, is using his words to hide his insecurities. Namely, he feels like his past makes him undeserving of the others’ respect. It’s a cliché character trait, but it’s handled well and it’s much better than just having him be a sarcastic jerk with no depth.

Princess Python (Hynden Walch)
While Walch gives a good performance, there’s not much to this character. I honestly can’t tell you what kind of person she is, and not just because I was cracking jokes the whole time. Her personality can be summed up as “has a robo-snake.” Man of Action is really pretty terrible at writing female characters. Unless I’m mistaken, and I’m not, Gamora of the Guardians of the Galaxy is the only other guest character to be a woman. In an entire season, there’s only about three female characters. What is even the heck?

Animation
While technically on the same level as the other episodes, the Gambonnis’ pistons change position and number from shot to shot. It’s very distracting.

Final Thoughts
While the villains and guest star are a bit forgettable, this episode finally gives Hawkeye a day in the limelight. Are there better episodes? Yes. But there are more episode worse than this one. It’s skippable, but it’s not something I advise you to avoid.

Next time, it’s the beginning of the end as the Red Skull finally starts using that all-powerful MacGuffin he got three episodes ago. See you then!

2 comments:

  1. You could suggest Princess should attack Twins, since Search Snake is Gemini Man weakness.

    When she complains about ambush you could take page from Mega Man 31 where S-Man actually praises Mega Man on well executed ambush (its in preview pages available online)

    You could quote parts from "Walk away from light", really awesome song which is all about switching sides.

    There are always options if you're crazy enough.

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    Replies
    1. Touché.

      In retrospect, at least the one about Gemini Man seems fairly obvious. Then again, it's been a LONG time since I've played Mega Man 3.

      Maybe if I'd just thought about it a bit more, I wouldn't have put all the money in my wallet into a jar....

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