Avengers Assemble Review

This Avengers show definitely ran for a very long time. It got over 120 episodes which is impressive for any title. It managed to reach 5 seasons and adapted a ton of different Marvel events and brought in all of the fan favorite characters. While it’s not quite as solid as Avenger EMH or the classic 90’s X-Men show, it’s still a pretty good team show. It’s a very good title that you’ll have fun with. It checks off the right boxes and from the current wave of Marvel shows I would definitely say that it was the best one. The Avengers are just fun to have around.

It was a little funny how the show started though as they bump off Captain America almost immediately. Naturally any comic book fan knows that this isn’t going to stick, but it’s fun anyway. The heroes try to stay serious and for irony they have Iron Man tell the other characters that this is no time for jokes. Everyone ends up joking and making banter anyway, but they do try to keep some serious-ness about them during the first episode. The first episodes tried experimenting with comic book panels for the animation. So the characters would fly for example, but the screen would shrink to a panel size. It was an interesting idea, but I’m glad that it was thrown out almost immediately.

Season 1 is mainly about Red Skull and his Cabal of villains. It’s always nice to have a good villain group and these guys could hold their own so it worked out. Attuma and Dracula are among the members and those guys are no joke. While the series was still just starting it was a solid way to incorporate the fights right away and you got a feel for the show. It’s certainly one of the weaker seasons overall, but it holds its own just fine. It’d probably be nostalgic to go back and see how season 1 has aged.

Season 2 has quite a lot going on. First off you have the arrival of Thanos which brings us a ton of fights and then you get Ultron’s big move. Additionally the Squadron Supreme shows up with their Justice League-esque members as they try to take down the Avengers once and for all. That was definitely one of the highlights here since those guys have never really gotten to appear in the Marvel comics before now. It was great to see them on the big screen at long last.

Season 3 brings back Ultron and also adds in the Inhumans as well as a Civil War arc of sorts. It’s another pretty packed season and I do think that the show really started to hit its stride around season 2, but it continued seamlessly into season 3. The show just looked sharper and had more engaging episodes. The Civil War parts are always fun and you can’t really go wrong with Ultron either. There were a lot of fights to enjoy here and the effects of these events did continue into season 4.

Season 4 brings in the Secret Wars which was definitely cool. It’s not handled nearly as well as it was in the old Spider-Man cartoon, but it is really hard to top that one right? It does span almost the whole season though so there is a lot of time for things to happen, but it’s pretty changed from the comic. There are less spontaneous battles and chaos going on which is not the Secret Wars that I remember. We really need a full movie adaption of that legendary saga. Now that would be a lot of fun. Still, it was like an ensemble of all the heroes throughout the series so that was cool.

Season 5 is definitely the weakest of the bunch. The show effectively became the Black Panther show instead of an Avengers title. I’m rarely a fan of Black Panther as the MCU is one of the only continuities to make him likable. Typically he’s just way too arrogant and is basically a villain at times. You can probably imagine that the show wasn’t able to change that so when he is the main focus there isn’t much to really hold your interest here. It’s a whole season just to show why he is better than the Avengers. The basic plot though is that the Shadow Council is framing Black Panther and they intend to destroy the world. To stop them he’ll need a lot of old artifacts from Wakanda and he may have to time travel to use them.

So there’s definitely a lot happening here. As I mentioned, starting with season 2 the show did get better. The animation improved quite drastically as the colors were sharper and it actually got a little closer to the 90’s in terms of style and design. There was even a good soundtrack with a lot of tunes that almost seemed directly ripped from the Justice League cartoon. I wonder if that’s even possible or maybe the shows used some public domain music. Either way it did make everything a lot more epic.

And yet…the show still couldn’t reach the classics. So why is that? I’ve thought about it a lot and it’s hard to explain, but I’ll do my best to convey it. At no point in this show do you feel any serious stakes or truly hype moments. In The X-Men show the Phoenix Saga was grand and a real page turner. The Spider-Man show had quite a few sagas like the Secret Wars and Avengers EMH had the whole skrull invasion. Assemble has a ton of arcs, but none of them are quite as solid as those were. I think there are two guilty factors here. One is the nonstop humor in the show. If the heroes are constantly joking during the fights and not taking it seriously then the audience can’t either. Why feel scared for the heroes if they’re getting choked and still making puns? Assemble never really knows when to take a break from the one liners but that’s also true for most modern cartoons. It takes away any sense of danger.

Then there is the fact that the heroes seem to be able to lose to just about anyone. We get villains as powerful as Thanos and the Beyonder and then have to try and take guys like the Leader seriously. The stakes go from being universal to street level and it keeps flipping back and forth so often that it destroys your sense of scale. A show can certainly go back and forth, but like with the comics if you keep on going too often then things are going to get a little messy and you’ll experience event fatigue. We can’t blame the animation or soundtrack since I already mentioned that those are quite good. I suppose you can take some shots at the fight scenes though. There’s no weight behind any of the hits. Fights like Thor vs Hyperion are decent, but they don’t come anywhere close to the fights of EMH or something like Justice League. Everyone hits about as hard as sandpaper.

The fights can still look good though and I do enjoy the action, it’s just on a completely different level. It’s why most of the current superhero shows are stuck at a 7. It’s a very respectable score and the show is fun, but they just don’t manage to get to “Great” status. You need more of an engaging plot and a really strong cast to pull that off. That’s not something that Assemble is quite ready to do. Maybe the show will come back and try to prove me wrong at some point. I’d definitely be up for more Avengers action and lasting over 100 episodes is definitely impressive in and of itself.

Get ready for a lot of power level shenanigans, but for a long running superhero cartoon like this one that is basically inevitable. This kind of thing never really hurts the score, you just gotta roll with it. Season 5 is particularly guilty of this as Black Panther beats the entire Avengers crew multiple times. The show tries to make him seem like Batman at times with how prepared for everything he is. Even when he gets betrayed he always tries to make it seem like someone else’s fault. Then you’ve got Ultron taking down Thanos with the gauntlet which was pretty fun. That one’s more believable since Ultron is well, he’s Ultron. Still, I remember that one getting a lot of headlines back in the day and we also can’t forget Iron Man taking on the Byeonder. At the end of the day this show is all about seeing your favorite heroes duke it out with a bunch of villains and it delivers.

As for the characters, they’re all about the same as you would expect them to be from the movies or the comics. None of them are particularly changed or anything. Iron Man is still the leader of the group who likes to goof off, but it always ready with a solution when the world needs him. Then you’ve got Captain America who is more by the books but will startle everyone with the occasional joke. Thor is unfortunately not very smart in this version so he sometimes acts more like the Hulk than the green behemoth. Ms. Marvel is here to cover the newbie angle. She just wants the team to accept her and since she is a kid they all see her as the rookie. Interestingly her character is completely different in the current Spider-Man show as she gets pretty overconfident there. I like to think that Teen Titans Go got this one right as Robin explained in one comic that characters just act differently depending on what crew they’re with. It’s why he’s so goofy with the Titans, but gets serious when Batman is around. I guess not having the Avengers around just makes Ms. Marvel a whole lot braver.

As for the villains Thanos and Ultron are definitely a blast. Thanos gets to really go all out in the battle on the Moon and the scene of him hitting Thor against the hammer definitely looked painful. Ultron plays mind games with everyone as always and definitely has a lot of firepower. Then you’ve got Red Skull who has a really big role here and makes for a decent villain. The Squadron Supreme also deserves a mention. They really should have beaten the Avengers most of the times they fought. Their team is just OP and it reminds me once again why the Justice League would totally school the Avengers in a fair fight. Their members are just way too powerful and completely out of their league.

Overall, There’s not a whole lot more to say here. Avengers Assemble is definitely what you’d expect from a modern Avengers show. It gives us a lot of quality episodes and sagas. The show really takes advantage of the wide roster of Avengers through the years and how many characters they’ve faced. While the show may not contain the soul of the older titles, it still does a very respectable job. There isn’t really anything to dislike about the show and the large array of episodes ensure that it has a lot of replay value as well. It’s a show that you can pick up and watch at any time or if you have a favorite character you can look him or her up and odds are that the show will have introduced this fighter. The amount of guest stars here is quite impressive and having a consistently solid show that you could watch week after week is a very nice thing. If you are a big fan of comics or just like a good action show then I’d recommend checking this one out. It’s a good cartoon for a Saturday Morning.

Overall 7/10

Pac-Man and The Ghostly Adventures Review

It’s been a little over 2 years since I started this show. While the three holiday episodes have not aired yet, the show is essentially over so it’s time for this review to illuminate us all on how well Pac Man did. Was it a good show or did it fall to the immense amounts of crude humor and dicey moments? Well, it’s not the Pac Man show that we wanted, but perhaps it is the one that we deserved!

This show took the Pac Man mythos in a completely new direction. The old Pac Man was responsible, tough, had a strong moral compass, did what had to be done, and he was essentially the ultimate leader. He was a nice guy, but he could fight when pushed and he saved the world on several occasions. The new Pac Man is essentially the opposite in many ways and he’s such an obvious laugh in the face of the original that you can’t help but laugh. Depending on how much you like the original Pac Man, you will either enjoy this interpretation or you will just cringe.

Let’s quickly look at the plot. It’s been ages since the ghosts have been seen and nobody even believes in them anymore. That’s a shame right? Pac Man is also the only member of his species who is still alive. His parents mysteriously disappeared a very long time ago. One day, the ghosts attack once again and Pac Man is charged with protecting the planet from them. He can eat them with ease and Pac Man can even eat some berries to give him super powers so that he can defeat the ghosts by the dozens. His two friends, Cyli and Spiral also help him out in this battle against the evil Betrayus.

The show actually managed to crack 50+ episodes, which is most impressive. I’m pretty sure that the old show never made it that far. It’s too bad though since the old Pac Man show was a lot of fun and I even looked up some of the episodes on Youtube a while back. Each one was only 10 minutes similar to Arthur so they’re very accessible and you’ll see Pac Man as he was meant to be seen. If you’re a true Pac fan, that’s where you’ll want to be.

Back to this show, let’s start off with the technical aspects. The soundtrack is actually quite good and many of the tunes are memorable. You’ll actually remember them as you finish the show and they can actually get quite epic as there is even an opera theme at one moment. That’s definitely a good way to reel in the action fans right? Even the theme song is epic as the narrator says “The Pac is back!” He says it with a very dead voice, but that may be part of the point so I suppose that it can be excused.

As for the animation, Pac Man is unfortunately in CGI. This is a sad trend that has been going on for quite a while, particularly with American shows. Japan has also gotten into it, but not quite as much. It’s just sad because the old Pac Man show looks about as good as this one even though it’s so much older. That being said, the CGI is good as far as CG goes. One thing that you will notice is how Pac Man’s eyes are always half closed. It’s an odd quirk and one that is likely not intended to be there, but the CG just made it so. We do get some neat fight scenes, but they are naturally comedy action scenes that don’t take themselves seriously. If they did…I’m not sure if the animation could keep up. CG has a ton of limits, but still, the show does not look bad at all. It’s still clear and modern.

All right, let’s talk about the characters. Pac Man is essentially your average main character who fights to save the world. The main difference is that unlike other heroes, Pac Man literally cannot control his hunger. If there is food around, he’s going to eat it. This applies to events as well and he even eats all of the food at the President’s party, spoiling the event for everyone. Fans of the Pac won’t like how he can be pretty selfish with this and he’s never apologetic in the slightest. He gets scared by the bully of the school as well. He’s also the kind of guy who will get a crush on someone after seeing her for about a minute and he still can’t stop himself from burping after every bite. Yes, whenever he swallows a ghost, he has to burp afterwards. He does this in literally every episode of the series. I like Pac’s charismatic character to an extent…he means well anyway. I do think that the burping can be a little much though.
Spiral is one of Pac’s best friends and he’s always around to help out. His character basically is that he’s Pac’s friend as it doesn’t really go further than that. He doesn’t really have a gimmick. He seems to be the “cool” character of the group as he always says “bro” at the end of his sentences and fights off the ghosts with his cannon. I’d say that he’s a good character. Likewise, Cyli helps to keep Pac Man in check and she has more of a school presence than the other two. She nearly became class president, but ultimately decided not to do so. Her trendy parents embarrass her at times, but she mostly doesn’t have to worry about that as they only appear once or twice during the whole series.

Pac Man also has a few other supporting characters who help out. His aunt used to be a hardcore army fighter back in the wars and she reminds the heroes of this any chance that she gets. You could say that she’s the hype character of the show. Pac’s aunt is a good character although she doesn’t have all that much personality when you get past the hype. The President is on good terms with Pac Man and they have a very casual relationship similar to how the main character of Pixels could walk into the White House in shorts. The President gives Pac Man various missions ranging from being someone’s friend to saving the town. That being said, the President has a lot of dark secrets like crying as a kid or being allergic to peas, which makes him an easy target for black mail.

We can’t forget Sir Cumference, who can’t always hear very well, but he has a lot of technology at his disposal. He comes to the rescue more than once and he’s certainly one of the most dependable characters in the show. Another major character is Skeebo. He’s the bully who tries to be a relatable character once in a while, but always reverts back to his old ways. He only picks on people who are weaker than him and he loves to give Pac Man a tough time by calling him “Lemon Loser” and a lot of other lemon related names. Pac Man is pretty round so it makes the name calling easy for Skeebo. He was a pretty fun character and typically gave the show its best humor. Skeebo even turned into a superhero once, which was pretty neat! He may be a mean guy, but in the end, the heroes can count on him to help.

As for the villains, Betrayus is naturally the main one. He appears in every episode and is always thwarted by Pac Man. Typically, this happens in a very embarrassing way. Any toughness that he had at the start is quickly taken away as he is forced to team up with Pac Man several times and run away in others. At least he can fight though as Betrayus can shoot blasts of fire. That automatically makes him one of the toughest characters in the series since most of the other ghosts can just stand around and get eaten. The 4 ghosts from the classic Pac Man show are always around of course, but they have no real powers. Blinky’s the classic leader of the ghosts, but surprisingly that is rarely ever stated if at all. He’s just another guy in the gang like Inky. Pinky has the biggest role as she is always going after Pac, who denies her advances by running away. Clyde is the not very smart member of the group who speaks in a very slow and hollow voice to push that point across. He’s probably the best member of the group as he brings in the puns. Buttler and Dr. Buttocks were two recurring characters who worked for Betrayus and as you can tell from their names, they were typically the but of the jokes in the netherworld. Betrayus would have fun beating both of them up in most of the episodes.

Aside from the ghosts, we also have the aliens. They seem to know what happened to Pac’s family and may be holding them hostage although it’s hinted that they escaped. They have a warrior known as the Pacinator, who even gave Pac Man a good fight by forcing him to eat Ice Cream. That guy doesn’t mess around and that episode was the best one in the series. How can you top something that Epic!? The plot had returned and that didn’t happen too often. There were also one shot villains like the Easter Bunny who were typically fun to see.

The main thing that held the series back was how much crude humor it had. Literally every episode had multiple moments of this and it never let up for an instant. Seriously, you could expect slime jokes, burps, farts, and all kinds of gross moments in every single episode. It could definitely get quite excessive and there were some especially dicey episodes like the pimple one on picture day and one episode where Pac Man became a planet. I can’t even begin to describe how sad those episodes could be. If every episode was like that, this show would have gotten a 1 or a 2.

Luckily, there were still a decent amount of good episodes. After a while, you’ll barely even notice Pac’s burps as he eats the ghosts. It’s just too bad that the plot wasn’t around very often as 40+ of the episodes were spent on filler as Pac dealt with the ghosts. That’s not too bad depending on how you look at it, but I’m confident that the show would have been better if the plot had been pushed into the forefront a little more. Random episodes of crude humor can only get you so far after all.

Also, since this is really a complete comedy with some action, none of the characters ever stay serious for long. Even if there is an alien invasion, we’ll quickly get at least 3-5 comic relief scenes to compensate. There’s never a sense of danger or anything, but that’s the point. The problem is that the humor just isn’t good enough to make each joke good. The comic relief ones are simply recycled for the whole series instead of thinking of new ones. The characters are entertaining for the most part and we get some fun shenanigans like the campfire stories or the episode with the transfer student (That was an “emotional” one….) but I can’t forget the bad episodes. The reason why the score is still decent is that it’s typically a fun show despite its flaws.

At the very least, it is always a pretty happy cartoon so it makes for a good watch when you just want to see something light and fun. The episodes will shoot past you very quickly. It’s highly unlikely that the series will continue, but if it does, the next season would likely have a lot of promise and could bring the show up as the plot could mean more action and tension await us….or maybe not. Still, it’s fun to think about!
Overall, The Pac Man show definitely a bit of a miss. I’d say that it only barely broke even and that’s mainly due to the fact that it is a Pac Man show. Since I know the character, it’s hilarious to see how they’ve warped him. It’s like the Ultimate Spider Man show, but much more extreme. To an extent, that’s the only way you can expect to really enjoy the show a lot. If you like seeing your favorite characters look bad, you’re going to be in for some seriously hilarious moments! I aim to play the games based off of this show at some point, but it could be a little while until I pull that off. I really can’t recommend this show unless you either like crude humor or just don’t mind it. If you have to see the show for Pac Man honor, then you can at least be glad to know that there are some fight scenes once in a while. They’re around…just not too frequently! Well, I guess we can wait for the next Pac Man show now!

Overall 5/10