Monday, July 20, 2015

Recap: Avengers: United They Stand "Kang"

Well, this is the first Avengers: UTS episode I've covered since that whole rigamarole with Ultron. Now the only threat the NewtCave is Ant-Man annoying me to death with his whining about how he was supposed to be in The Avengers.

"I was, you know."
Yeah, yeah, shut up.

And since I've learned my lesson regarding downloading strange files, it's time to cover the third episode of this short-lived, Ant-Man-led series. Especially since Ant-Man has hit theatres.

"Yeah, everything's coming up Ant-Man."
Congratulations, shorty. Now let's begin.

I will do my best to refrain from mentioning the alien from The Simpsons.
The episode begins in some kind of Egyptian-themed museum. Even the outside of the building is styled to resemble the stereotypical tan rocks of Egyptian ruins. Inside, a Dr. Chris Johnson is taking Sam Wilson and his nephew Andrew on a tour.…

Wait just a dang minute, Andrew died! Well, okay, it was never confirmed onscreen, but the last time we saw this kid, he wasn’t moving and Sam was looking really sad. So I guess Andrew just had a miraculous recovery off screen. That would have been nice to see, show.

Actually, no. You know what? I don't believe that Andrew's alive.

Seriously, this was the last we saw of him.
You don't just get shot by a laser, stop moving, and recover off screen two episodes later. As far as I'm concerned, this kid is a clone of the original, and I shall hereby refer to him as Andrew2.

Anyway, apparently, Dr. Johnson found a bunch of artifacts and he’s showing them off to Sam and Andrew2 during this private tour. One of them in particular is a small obelisk that Dr. Johnson hands over to Andrew2 to put in the hands of a statue.

First of all, the statue and obelisk were found a thousand miles away according to the doctor, but he believes they go together.

Second, Andrew2 is a kid. Not a paleontologist. And he's handling this delicate, ancient artifact without gloves, just like real-life paleontologists don't.

Yeah, I know what that obelisk looks like. Get your mind out of the gutter.
The tip of the obelisk begins to shine and another artifact, a pot, begins to rumble and glow. The statue tips over and the obelisk flies through the air across the room.

Uh oh, are we going to need to get a third Andrew?
Sam tells Dr. Johnson to get Andrew2 to safety while he “calls the police.” But once they’re gone, he taps his A-badge and tells the Avengers to assemble. After he transforms into the Falcon, eating up a few seconds of screen time, the jar explodes, revealing a humanoid figure voiced by Ken Kramer.

Humanoid Figure: “Free!”

"Ahhhhh! After ten thousand years, I'm free! It's time to conquer Earth!"
Actually, yeah. He starts monologuing about how he’s going to find his obelisk and conquer the world. And then, I kid you not, he sends out a miniature flying saucer to start turning random museum patrons into what appears to be green rock. Falcon gets a good look at this on the security monitors at the oddly-empty guard station and realizes that the flying saucer is stopping time around people.

I wonder if his costume has a special zipper for when he extracts stuff like that out of his own behind?
Also, security cameras. Guess who probably just got caught changing into his Falcon costume?
Meanwhile, the Avengers are suited up and ready to go as their jet takes off toward the museum. As Kang monolgues a bit more about how all-powerful his obelisk will make him, he offhandedly wonders which time period he finds himself in. And when one of the characters can’t figure out what time period it is, that's how you know that your “not-too-distant-future” setting needs some work, writers.

The Avengers reach the museum’s airspace as Kang teleports into the sky by way of swirly energy-tornado. Inside, Falcon uses the camera mounted in his costume to send video of the flying saucer freezing time to his teammates. After seeing the footage, Ant-Man orders Tigra and Hawkeye to bust in there on their hoverbikes, because arrows and claws are all you need to stop flying saucers that can freeze time, apparently.

The saucer manages to freeze Tigra’s bike, but a timely assist by Falcon keeps her from freezing and lets her and Hawkeye take down the flying object for good.

...So, what about the frozen people? We never see them again, so I'm going to assume they've been frozen forever. Nice job dooming them by destroying what may possibly be the only thing that can undo their transformation, Avengers.

The mysterious blue-faced man watches this happen in his crystal ball and wonders who could have possibly dared to interfere with his plans.

Ant-Man: “We do! We’re-“
Mysterious Figure: “I know who you are, Ant-Man.”

"I even knew who you were before your movie came out!"
Mysterious Figure: “You’re called the Avengers. And I suppose this is some time in the twenty-first century.”

Ostensibly, yes.

The figure simply walks away from the Avengers and basically tells them to get lost while he works. To punctuate his dismissal of them, he warps through the floor to deal with his lack of flying saucer. Unimpressed, Vision follows by going through the floor the same way.

Ant-Man radios the others to warn them that the purple guy’s coming their way, and Falcon tells Hawkeye and Tigra to stall while he goes to get what this dude’s really after.

Tigra: “We’re on it!”

And then purple guy warps into the room, revealing that they aren’t, in fact, on it by deflecting their attacks with a forcefield. Not even the rest of the Avengers assembling can get through it.

Careful, Wasp. Too much pink energy... yeah, you know the rest.
Purple Guy: “You would oppose Kang… the Conqueror? Bah! Fools!”

Who wrote this dialogue, Stan Lee? At least we know this guy's name now.

Falcon puts the obelisk back in Dr. Johnson’s box, leading Kang to proclaim that he can no longer track it. Because whatever futuristic means he has of scanning the area can’t penetrate a briefcase. Kang demands that the Avengers return his obelisk to him, backing it up with a vague threat. Despite the fact that the most menacing things he’s done so far were because of his flying saucer that the Avengers broke. And without telling the Avengers how to contact him, he teleports away.

Once back at the mansion, Hank goes over the readings from the museum and is very excited to see evidence of time-manipulation in the flying saucer he’s analyzing. The Vision states that since time-manipulation is impossible now, then Kang must come from the future. Makes sense.

Speaking of him, he appears on every single screen in the mansion because he’s giving an ultimatum to the people of New York by way of a news station's ridiculously oversized camera.

With two lenses. Is this a 3D news camera?
He proclaims that he’s the ruler of the 41st century (though he could be saying the 31st century; his accent does not combine well with that audio filter) and reiterates his demand that the Avengers return his obelisk and gives New York vague threats about how it will “suffer.”

Wasp: “He has a bomb!”

Hey, look who’s finally backing up their threats.
So in order to take care of the situation, Hank sends out Vision, the super-strong, laser-firing, walk-through-walls android… and Tigra, who has orange fur and good reflexes. And no one else. This is why you don’t get to lead the Avengers in other cartoons, Ant-Man.

And things get worse when Kang unleashes his bomb before Vision and Tigra can reach him. The bomb, like most things having to do with Kang, manipulates time. Buildings under construction rust to pieces, stone becomes dust, and teenagers become what they dread the most. Old people. Serves them right, what with their YouFaces and tumbl-tweets.

Having failed pretty spectacularly, Tigra and Vision return to the mansion. The android’s fine, but Tigra’s looking a little decrepit.

If she's anything like a cat, then she's going to have problems reaching the litter box at this age.
As Kang continues to rant and rave about his oh-so-precious obelisk, Hank and Falcon go over it in the mansion’s lab. Hank gets to work trying to unlock its secrets in the hope that he can cure Tigra. As he does that, Vision informs him that he’s been studying Kang’s forcefield. Apparently, the more energy he uses to keep the forcefield up, the weaker he gets.

The new plan: Hit him hard. Which they already tried in the museum, but I guess they weren’t trying hard enough.

Kang’s crystal ball finally locks on to the obelisk’s location as Hank continues to work, so Hank gives the order.

Hank: “Avengers, assemble!”

They’re all right there, Hank. They assembled at the beginning of this scene. You’re a bit late with the battle cry.

Tigra vows to fight, despite her new oldness, and the suit-up sequence begins. Sadly, Tigra doesn’t get a featured bit where she suits up while old and arthritic.

Hank activates the mansion’s defenses, which do jack as well as squat. Then he records in his audio diary.

Hank: “Avengers’ log, entry 93.”

Who are you, Captain Kirk?

"Ant-Man's log. Stardate: Monday. Today, I'm going to plug future technology into my brain. This is Plan A."
He technobabbles on to the effect of “the obelisk is like an artificial brain.” So naturally, he plugs it into his helmet and puts it on. Boy, he’s lucky that the obelisk is compatible with Windows XP, or whatever OS he's running.

Hank writhes in pain, and starts going on about the voices in his head. They seem to be telling him the story of how Kang took over the world and makes the humans toil away under his rule. Eventually, his slaves rebelled, though. After a long war, Kang was defeated and sent back through time into a temporal prison. The obelisk turns out to be the key to the prison. And, naturally, the scientists sent the obelisk back in time to ancient Egypt instead of destroying it, ensuring that Kang could possibly free himself when Dr. Johnson discovered it and let Andrew2 put it in a statue.

So, as ever, a few points.
  1. Why did putting the obelisk in that statue, which has nothing to do with Kang's prison, free him?
  2. Why did Kang's jailers keep the key in the same time period as the lock?
  3. Why are both the prison and the key styled like Egyptian artifacts?
  4. Why not send Kang to the heat death of the universe? That way, even if he does escape, he's got nowhere to go.
Hank: “We have to stop him, or we’re all dead.”

This isn’t news, Hank.

Despite the Avengers’ attacks, Kang gets in the mansion and starts making his way to the obelisk. But the team’s continued onslaught is starting to weaken Kang. As a final resort, Kang throws his orb at Wasp and captures her inside.

Gotcha! BEEDRILL was caught!
Hank enters and sums up Kang’s evil future reign to the others.

Hank: "You stole man's future! And turned paradise into purgatory."

What, did he pave it and put up a parking lot?

Despite knowing exactly who he's dealing with, Hank offers the obelisk to Kang in return for Wasp’s safety. As you might expect, the others call him out on this.

Falcon: "You're talking about letting him enslave millions of people!"
Hank: "Yes. Millions that I'll never know!"

Uh, Hank, maybe you shouldn't dismiss mass slavery to the black guy's face?

Falcon: "Just because you won't hear those cries or see those tears doesn't mean those millions aren't real."

And just listen to this rebuttal.

Hank: "As a scientist, I live by logic. Love... isn't logical. Forgive me."

So, you live by logic. Except that you don't. ...makes sense.

Kang, who could have just grabbed the thing this whole time, waits until Hank gives him the obelisk. Kang takes the obelisk, frees Wasp, and promises to conquer the 21st century last. Which opens up a whole can of wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey if he conqueres the 20th century beforehand. But when Kang uses the obelisk, he has a bit of a seizure, thanks to some earlier booby-trapping of the obelisk.

Hank tells Tigra and Vision to take Kang up in a jet, where the residual temporal energies of the obelisk will reimprison Kang and undo all that voodoo that he did so well. It works, the day is saved, and Tigra is young again.

And nobody rips Hank a new one for that stunt he pulled.

Now let's review and find out just why this episode isn't so bad it's good. Or that good. Or even that bad.


  1. Replies
    1. Yeah, that purple armor is a bit much, isn't it? But personally, I love that helmet.