Friday, March 13, 2015

Review: Avengers Assemble "Mojo World"

Aliens abduct our heroes to make them fight! As exciting as the John Carter stories? Or as hard to sit through as Vogon poetry?

"Oh, freddled gruntbuggly...."
As I've said before, having aliens abduct the heroes to make them fight in an arena is a story as old as at least the John Carter books, probably older. With any tale that's been told so many times, you need to find a way to tell it in a way that's unique and interesting.

This episode was neither.

Hulk and Hawkeye fighting has been done in multiple episodes so far. Hawkeye learning how childish he is after an alien rants at him feels forced at best and contrived at worst.

I would also like to point out that Hulk and Hawkeye work together this entire episode, despite their feud. Clever writing would tie that into their character arc, but this episode doesn't.

Hulk and Hawkeye have exactly zero growth, so let's talk about Mojo.

In the comics, he's from another reality, not an alien. But that's a minor point. My hang up is his fear of being seen for what he really is, masquerading as his appearance in the Ultimate X-Men comics.

Only marginally less ugly.
But why? In a universe of freaky aliens, why is he subject to human beauty standards? Why isn't this plot point explicitly mentioned? I realize I'm a proponent of "show, don't tell," but it's only vaguely implied that he's hiding his true form from the universe. It's hard to explain, but if you watch the episode, I think you'll see what I mean. The plot point just isn't telegraphed very well.

I wish they had done more with the "footage" of the arena to make it look more like wrestling. This episode could have been one gigantic homage to wrestling. Instead, all we get is a robotic Randy Savage. Why not turn Mojo into an evil Don King? Why not throw in some references to Hulk Hogan? How did you miss the obvious joke there, episode? You coulda been a contender! But I'm getting off topic from the animation, so I'll put the rest of my thoughts into a separate section.

My praise for this episode is mainly in the details.

I appreciate the cameos from various alien races, and I really liked the pacing. The episode feels really short, and that's basically because the plotting is really tight. At no point does this epsiode feel like it's dragging. But on the flipside of that, this episode never really shines.

At no point is this episode actively bad (despite my frustration with some of the characters' actions), but it definitely fizzles. But I guess after the powerhouse episodes of "Planet Doom" and "Bring on the Bad Guys," there was bound to be a couple of relative duds to follow. And "Savages" and "Mojo World" fit that bill.

My final thoughts on the episode? Save your time. Play Ratchet: Deadlocked instead. Same plot, more fun. Still, it could be worse. I don't think this season will give another stinker quite like "Avengers: Impossible." And I really hope I'm not tempting fate with that statement. But I guess we'll we when we get to the next episode. See you then.

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