As someone who was not a huge fan of the previous Avengers cartoon, I thought giving Avengers Assemble a chance would be a good idea. For those of you thinking the same thing, I advise a different outlook on the show. There is nothing completely wrong with the television show itself, it is simply intent with catering to a younger audience based on the first episode. The relaxed attitude of the tone and scope will not offer much to fans of the movies who seek to go deeper with the much sought after Marvel franchise. Most Marvel Now! titles offer fans of the movies a clean slate that only requires the base knowledge of the movie franchises to enjoy. The previous cartoon Earth’s Mightiest Heroes was incredibly loyal to Avengers continuity but never shed it’s silly tone. Marvel has had their greatest success in terms of tone and overall quality with the cartoon entitled The Spectacular Spider-Man. The show balanced on a thin tightrope between tone and the continuity of the early Spider-Man years, ultimately it was the most successful Marvel cartoon in recent memory.
Avengers Assemble plays on the base knowledge of the massively successful film franchise. It adds a player from the comics known as the Falcon to the mix with varying results. In the comics most of these characters are simply stoic almost god like creatures. Here they are presented with an overwhelmingly large amount of character flaws to the point where you can believe they are real people. This has many ups and downs throughout the course of this episode, as so many of the characters act like jerks. The movies in comparison have a better balance due to characters like Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk calling Tony Stark on his crap. The most aggravating type-A personality lies in Hawkeye himself. The character is cocky and given all of the worst lines within the span of the first twenty minutes. He also does not really do a whole lot in the length of this episode. The way Hawkeye is characterized can be likened to a sort of double sided sword because when the Avengers first formed the marksman was nothing short of a prick. However he had motivation for being so, the character was initially a small time Iron Man villain. He has a strong character arc that spans decades of comic history redeeming his entire character. This cartoon and the movies have taken that away from him. If Hawkeye is the worst character in the episode so far, Sam Wilson is a close second simply because he has the exact same cookie cutter personality as the rest of the cast.
While this show has many problems it also has some room to improve. The initial threat of the Red Skull and company was very weak. If some higher stakes were placed on the characters the quality could sky rocket. Watching the character progression of Iron Man in the small amount of time in this episode was enthralling. He is called out on being selfish and arrogant, which he redeems by self sacrifice at the end of this episode. While Captain America was out of commission this episode perhaps his inclusion would change the feel of the show slightly. Throughout history the Avengers have never been one hundred percent functional, unlike the early days of the high and mighty Justice League. Avengers Assemble also had a breakneck pace that was at the detriment of the characters. In the future the show would be better of slowing down on all of the plot twists and focusing on the characters at hand.
At the end of the day this show is simply not for hardcore comic book fans. It is also not for anybody looking for a cartoon that skews to older fans. It is commendable that the Marvel animation department is doing something different than Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, but it could be so much more than the current result. Nothing here was truly awful, it was just simply underwhelming. Perhaps this will continue redeeming Iron Man and there will be a heavier focus on character. For now fans of the franchise can keep an eye on this part of the property, but expecting a drastic shift in quality seems unrealistic at this point in time.