I recently finished watching the first season of Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
I really enjoyed it, and I’m looking forward to watching second season . . . but it just wouldn’t be My Geek Blasphemy if I didn’t post a few criticisms and some deeply insightful fashion analysis.
Mild spoilers for Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and a little speculation about upcoming Marvel movies.
1. I want to like Wasp, I really do, but I just can’t get past how ineffectual she seems.
It’s the energy beams, I think. I can see how shrinking down to the size of a bug might be useful for some things, like infiltration or evasion, but I’m not convinced fighting supervillains is one of them. Which is where the energy beams are supposed to come in, only the beams aren’t any bigger than she is, so it always looks like Wasp is throwing a handful of cigarette sparks at a giant monster. Which, hey, I’ve had cigarette sparks land on my arm before, and they hurt. But thing is, I’m not a giant sized monster — I’m not even tall — and my skin isn’t protected by shit. It’s not surprising that the greater majority of bad guys just stand there, unmoved, as she throws the world’s cutest firecrackers at them.
Admittedly, it was pretty cool when Wasp became gigantic that one time. I didn’t even know she could do that. Then again, it was one time, and Ant-Man kind of fills that particular function on the team anyway. (I refuse to call him Giant Man when he becomes giant instead of small. It’s the same fucking guy. Unless his actual personality changes during these transitions, he will continue to be Ant-Man for me.)
I just wish Wasp had some other power or marketable skill or something to fight with — because when a villain taunts her at the end of the season by saying even unpowered Hawkeye is more useful . . . well, I enthusiastically agreed, and I’m not sure I was supposed to.
2. By the way, Hawkeye? TOTALLY my favorite.
Cause, yeah. Despite the fact that his costume is particularly ridiculous, even for a superhero, Hawkeye is AWESOME. He’s funny. He’s always coming to the team’s rescue. And he has lines like this: “Uh, does anyone know how to stop this, whatever it is? There’s an elf here giving me a dirty look.”
I’ve now added Hawkeye: Vol. 1: My Life as a Weapon to my ridiculously long To-Read list. I should see if they have it at the library. Man, I wish comic books weren’t so godamned expensive.
3. I like Hawkeye in The Avengers (2012 movie), but he’s certainly not my favorite. (Not surprising, considering Jeremy Renner has probably the least to do.) In the movie, my favorite character is Bruce Banner, and oh, how I love him. So much with the Banner love. Unfortunately for me, Bruce Banner barely exists in EMH. Instead, it’s almost all Hulk, all the time.
I mean, I get why. Hulk’s the guy you use in battle, and kids are probably going to be way more into a big angry green guy than some mild mannered scientist. The show even comes up with a halfway-decent explanation for why we rarely ever see Bruce Banner . . . but I still miss the guy, and I can’t help but feel that by taking him out of the equation, we’re kind of losing what’s interesting about the character. The first few episodes where we get a back and forth between Hulk and Banner are actually kind of neat, but after that . . . Bruce is just gone. (It also vaguely annoys me that nobody else on the team seems terribly concerned about this, that no one’s like, man, it sucks that Bruce Banner doesn’t actually get the chance to live. In fact, nobody mentioned him for so long that I honestly thought maybe the other Avengers didn’t know about Hulk’s alter ego for a while. This turned out not to be the case.)
It’s also sad because Gabriel Mann voices Bruce Banner in EMH, and I like Gabriel Mann. He was easily the best part about Revenge, and the only reason I regretted giving up the show in second season.
4. While Bruce Banner is my favorite Avenger in the movie, and Hawkeye is my favorite in the cartoon, Thor apparently remains my least favorite Avenger in either.
Not that Thor doesn’t have a certain charm, but . . . I find Asgard even more boring in EMH than I did in The Dark World. Every time we go back there, I’m like, yawn. Wake me up when something interesting happens. Cause I may not have totally loved The Dark World with all my heart and soul, but it still has one big advantage that EMH clearly does not have:
EMH‘s version of Loki? Yeah, not as impressive.
5. There are a few disparities between the movie I love, which introduced me to our heroes, and this series, which I assume is closer to canon. For one thing, Tony Stark is unequivocally the team leader, not Captain America. For another, it is both hilarious and adorable just how much Tony seems to respect and even idolize Captain America when he shows up. Thank God fanfiction prepared me for that — I’m sure I would have otherwise spit out my soda when Tony said something like, “We all look up to you.”
6. One of the things I really do like about this series is the continuing storyline. Storylines, actually. This isn’t really a standalone, monster-of-the-week type show, at least not entirely. Events from one episode definitely lead into the next, which I think is kind of cool. And the season finale, damn. Way to leave us on a cliffhanger, show. (I mean, the second and last season is also on Netflix, so it won’t take me too long to resolve said cliffhanger, but still.) Not to mention, Nick Fury is still missing. I mean, dude. It’s been, like, episodes.
7. I like T’Challa well enough — he’s very dry, and he has some fairly funny lines — but I had some trouble taking his homeland, Wakanda, very seriously.
Maybe it would bother me less if Wakanda was a secret island? I feel like I could buy into that easier than some hidden nation in the middle of Africa that mines all this magical shit. Or maybe it’s because of the magical shit — maybe it hits a wrong chord with me because Wakanda vaguely reminds me of some super secret community of magical negroes? I don’t know if that’s entirely fair, though. After all, the Wakandans have their own problems — they don’t solely exist to help white people with their issues. Maybe I just can’t take any battle for a kingdom seriously if the evil contender for the throne is named Man-Ape.
I wouldn’t mind see T’Challa in a live action movie, one of these days, but I have literally no idea what they do would do for his backstory because I can’t see this playing on a big screen at all.
8. I got my first introduction to Ultron, which was exciting, considering he’s the main villain in the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron. Considering that Ant-Man is scheduled to release AFTER AoU, I think we can safely say that Hank Pym will no longer be his creator. Which worries me because I’m profoundly unenthused by the idea that Ultron might become Tony Stark’s pet project. (He had input in the cartoon, but Ultron is clearly Pym’s baby.)
It makes me a certain level of sense — Stark is, after all, kind of all about robots, and I can see a possible way to link the conclusion of Iron Man 3 to Avengers 2 with this idea — but I also feel like we’ve DONE Tony’s guilt over the terrible weapons he’s created, and I’m not really excited to see that rehashed on an epic scale.
9. It’s funny — when I watched Justice League and Justice League Unlimited, I always had to check IMDb after every episode to figure out who I was listening to, or to confirm I had guessed the actor correctly. It really seemed like there was somebody I knew in every single episode. Just a short list of some of the guest actors on JL and JLU: Jeffrey Combs, Nathan Fillion, Clancy Brown, CCH Pounder, Robert Picardo, Oded Fehr, Gina Torres, J.K. Simmons, Amy Acker, James Remar, Michael Dorn, Lisa Edelstein, Ben Browder, Keith David, Juliet Landau, and — of course — Mark Hamill.
And it’s not that I didn’t like the voice work in EMH — or that I never recognized any of the actors — but I definitely didn’t have that, “Ohmygod, I know that voice, who IS that,” reaction to any of the episodes. This isn’t a criticism of the show, really, just something I noticed. I was amused to realize that the same guy voiced both Ant-Man from EMH and Edward Nygma from the Arkham video games. (Hawkeye is also in the Arkham video games, or at least Chris Cox, who plays him. Unfortunately, Chris Cox voiced Deadshot. I wanted to STRANGLE Deadshot in Arkham Origins.)
10. Finally, we have to talk about worst fashion cause, wow. Obviously there are some terrible costumes on display. Like I said, Hawkeye’s is pretty bad — there’s no doubt about it — but I don’t think anyone can beat out Baron Zemo for Total Fashion Disaster.
I mean, Good God. What IS that? I can get around the head-to-toe purple and the little crown and the ridiculously giant gold belt, but why in God’s name are you wearing Dalmation fur on your shoulders? AND WHY ARE THERE MATCHING FUR-LINED BOOTS?
Congratulations, Baron Zemo. You and your vaguely Cruella De Vil inspired accessories are the worst.