As we wait for the movie sequel to Guardians of the Galaxy in just a little over a month, the second season of the animated series opens with a special two-parter guest-starring the Avengers, whetting our appetite for Infinity War when the two teams face off against Thanos in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Meet me after the jump for my review of “Stayin’ Alive.”
We open on some continuity weirdness that is either a glitch or more proof to my theory that this animated series is a dream, a simulation, or not part of the Marvel Animated Universe at all. To the tune of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama,” the Guardians are on Earth again, in New York this time, collecting souvenirs. What kind of deja vu is this? It’s as if the last two episodes of last season, as well as the shorts this season, never happened. I did like Rocket stealing the parking meter though.
Anyway, it’s back to the grind, and that same old tired plot device from last season – the Cosmic Seed. Quill still has it, and has yet to return it to Asgard. Hmmm, they were on Earth, why not just give it to Thor? I certainly hope that this isn’t just a repeat of last season with Cosmic Seed dragging the Guardians all over the place. That would be disappointing. Once in space however, the Guardians discover Thanos’ personal asteroid has moved since they last saw it. Perhaps this is the new McGuffin?
Sanctuary, as the asteroid is called, has moved to a holding facility on Earth, so the Guardians turn around (again) and return to Earth. The facility is marked with a symbol standing for something called the Avengers. That’s right, they have no idea who the Avengers are, never heard of them. Thor, Spider-Man, the Inhumans… none of them ever mentioned the Avengers? Or maybe the Guardians have forgotten they’ve already met…
Amongst various Iron Man armors they discover the shrunken asteroid, obviously made that way by Ant-Man’s Pym particles. As Rocket snatches it, they are discovered by Bruce Banner, and yeah, they make him mad. The skirmish between the Guardians and the Hulk is amusing, especially the bit with Hulk using Groot as a club, but it goes on a bit too long.
Guardians vs. Avengers
When the Avengers (an intriguing team of Captain America and Iron Man with Ant-Man and Captain Marvel) showed up, I got a good laugh when Hulk tries to tell them he was fighting a talking raccoon and walking tree. Equally amusingly, the Guardians have hidden in the Iron Man armors. I would have liked more of that. Deeming Sanctuary too dangerous for Terrans to have, the two super teams attack each other. Typical, especially of Marvel animation.
The Avengers have regressed, using zero teamwork and fighting their opponents one on one. This gives the Guardians an upper hand. Blows and quips are traded, but it hardly seems fun. Like many episodes of Guardians and Avengers, the combat feels like filler. The Guardians get away, but Ant-Man gets the last hit in by enlarging the asteroid. That gets the two sides talking finally.
Recognition, Raybeams, and Ridiculousness
As it turns out Thor did tell the Avengers about the Guardians, but not vice-versa. Before anyone has a moment to think about that, Sanctuary crashes to the ground smashing the new Avengers headquarters. It sets off security protocols that make a killer satellite fire lasers into the Earth from space. No one thinks this is odd, but both teams launch into action to stop the satellite. Wtf?
Only when Ant-Man sees alien tech in the satellite does anyone question the ridiculousness of the situation. Why would Avengers security shoot a laser from space at the Earth? They wouldn’t, so why did no one say anything? The episode ends with a cliffhanger obviously, but the episode itself was far less satisfying than the To Be Continued at the end. So sloppy, not a good start to the season.
I wonder if the powers that be have just given up trying. Continuity is a primary concern with fans of comic book properties, it would seem suicide to cast such things to the wind. Even silly shows have to have an internal logic. Perhaps the showrunners are looking ahead to next season when the human characters are dropped and this becomes a cartoon about just a talking raccoon and a walking tree, and just sailing through this season.
Next: Evolution Rock