×

Marvel’s Avengers Assemble

Disney XD series keeps 'Avengers' franchise alive, but it's kids-only fare

With:
Voices: Adrian Pasdar, Fred Tatasciore, Roger Craig Smith, Travis Willingham, Troy Baker, Bumper Robinson, Laura Bailey

When is an animated kids show a Hulk-sized big deal? When it continues a blockbuster Disney/Marvel movie franchise that has also become the linchpin of ABC’s fall lineup. The synergistic aspects of “Marvel’s Avengers Assemble” — being previewed on boy-oriented cable network Disney XD, in advance of a series date in July — are thus more interesting than the program, a fairly unimaginative extension that picks up not long after the live-action movie ended. Featuring wall-to-wall fighting and not much plot, it’s a serviceable addition but lacks the quality Warner Bros. and DC have put into similar efforts, most notably “Justice League.”

The one-hour opener finds Earth’s Mightiest Heroes (wait, that’s the subtitle to another Disney XD show) having disbanded in the wake of the events in “The Avengers” movie, before Iron Man (voiced by Adrian Pasdar) reunites them to battle Captain America’s old foe, the Red Skull, and MODOK, a giant-headed bad guy who — reflecting the benefits of animation — would look very, very silly on a movie screen.

Hewing closely to the movie’s universe, the gang’s all here — including Thor, Hulk, Hawkeye and Black Widow, along with the Falcon, adding an African-American hero to the group — engaging in a kind of playful bickering that, as presented, pretty quickly begins to grow tedious.

Indeed, Hulk (Fred Tatasciore) — who is more verbal in Marvel’s animated fare than in most incarnations — spends much of his time swapping putdowns with Hawkeye (Troy Baker) and trading punches with Thor (Travis Willingham), who enjoy rough-housing the way two kids would, the only difference being the toll their encounters exact on property.

It’s all pretty standard stuff, with an abundance of action to dazzle small fry but nothing much to excite comic-book-fluent adults, who have in the past become valuable parts of the audience for programs like “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.”

Still, there’s no denying Disney has been particularly shrewd in mining its new treasure trove of boy-skewed assets, proving there’s more to life (and merchandising) than just princesses. In that regard, the July premiere for “Avengers Assemble” seems particularly savvy, tapping into interest in the franchise while providing a calling card for the upcoming “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD,” ABC’s first stab at adapting one of the comic-book properties since the acquisition. And access to these superheroes as well as an upcoming Star Wars series should make Disney XD a much more formidable player in the kids cable game. (Disclosure: My wife works for an unrelated unit of Disney.)

Disney, in other words, has a lot more riding on something like “Avengers Assemble” than your run-of-the-mill Sunday-morning cartoon, with a multi-tiered rollout that includes games and iTunes.

In that respect, the Avengers aren’t just over-sized heroes, brought together to save the world. They’re big business.

Marvel's Avengers Assemble

(Series; Disney XD, Sun. May 26, 11 a.m.)

Production: Produced by Marvel Television.

Crew: Executive producers, Alan Fine, Dan Buckley, Joe Quesada, Jeph Loeb; co-executive producers, Stan Lee, Eric Radomski, Man of Action Studios; supervising producers, Todd Casey, Cort Lane; director, Radomski; writers, Man of Action; voice direction/casting, Collette Sunderman; music, Lolita Ritmanis, Kristopher Carter, Michael McQuiston. 60 MIN.

Cast: Voices: Adrian Pasdar, Fred Tatasciore, Roger Craig Smith, Travis Willingham, Troy Baker, Bumper Robinson, Laura Bailey

More TV

  • How Cooking-Travel Shows Are Changing TV

    How Cooking-Travel Shows Are Changing TV

    Toyo hunches over his street food stove, cooking tuna with a blow torch, stopping to light his cigarette with it and produce a cheeky grin. The Japanese chef, who owns a roadside stand in the city of Osaka, is one of many highlighted in the Netflix series “Street Food.” Over the course of 30 minutes, [...]

  • SAG-AFTRA HQ

    SAG-AFTRA Leaders Approve Proposal for New Film-TV Contract

    The SAG-AFTRA national board has approved proposals for a successor deal to its master contract covering feature film and primetime television — a key step in the upcoming negotiations cycle with companies. The board approved the package Saturday with the performers union declining to reveal any specifics — its usual policy. The board established the wages [...]

  • Shannen Doherty'Jennie Garth: A Little Bit

    Shannen Doherty Joins 'Riverdale' Season 4 in Luke Perry Tribute

    “Riverdale” is planning to make a special tribute to Luke Perry. The show’s executive producer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa announced at Comic-Con that Shannen Doherty, Perry’s longtime friend and “Beverly Hills 90210” co-star, will guest star in the season 4 premiere. The tribute episode will “reflect Perry’s enduring legacy and the indelible imprint his character” Fred Andrews [...]

  • Supernatural CW

    'Supernatural' Team Gets Emotional Final Season Sendoff at Comic-Con

    The cast and creative team of “Supernatural” bid a fond farewell to the attendees of San Diego Comic-Con on Sunday. At the show’s final panel in the gargantuan Hall H, the team thanked the fans for all of their support over the years as the series prepares to enter its final season. “I’m trying not [...]

  • Alicia Rodis photographed by Alicia Rodis

    SAG-AFTRA Moves to Standardize Guidelines for Intimacy Coordinators

    SAG-AFTRA is moving to standardize guidelines for intimacy coordinators as part of an effort to establish policies for union members when their work involves nudity and simulated sex. “Our goal is to normalize and promote the use of intimacy coordinators within our industry,” said SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris. “Intimacy coordinators provide an important safety net for [...]

  • SDCC TV News Roundup: Syfy Releases

    SDCC TV News Roundup: Syfy Releases 'The Magicians' Season 5 Clip (Watch)

    In today’s SDCC TV news roundup, Syfy shares a clip from “The Magicians” Season 5, and Amazon sets the Season 4 premiere of “The Expanse.” CASTING Julie Gonzalo and Staz Nair have joined the cast of “Supergirl” for its upcoming fifth season. Gonzalo will portray iconic DC character Andrea Rojas aka Acrata, a polished businesswoman [...]

  • Doom Patrol -- Ep. 101 --

    'Doom Patrol' Renewed, Season 2 to Stream on DC Universe and HBO Max

    “Doom Patrol” has been renewed for a second season and will soon be available outside of DC Universe. At San Diego Comic-Con, series executive producer Jeremy Carver and star Diane Guerrero announced not only that the show will be back for another season but also that it will be available on HBO Max, the upcoming [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content