Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Marvel Super Hero Adventures: "Frost Fight"


Premiered December 11, 2015

"Santa Claus is beloved, celebrated, songs are sung in his name.  Hmm…using him to dominate the very beings that adore him…well that is just too devious to resist."
-Loki

The Avengers defeat Loki (Troy Baker) and his frost giant ally Ymir (Fred Tatasciore) in their latest attack on Earth.  But their victory isn't achieved without problems.  Reptil (Antony Del Rio), a teenaged Avenger-in-training named Humberto Lopez, hasn't fully grasped the concept of teamwork.


Meanwhile, Ymir and Loki plot their next move.  Ymir suggests they steal the powers of Jolnir (Steve Blum), who is known on Earth as Santa Claus.


Jolnir has the ability to bend space and time, which is how Santa is able to deliver toys to children all over the world in just one night.


Loki agrees and places a very high bounty on Jolnir's head.  The god of mischief falsely accuses Santa of multiple felonies.


In New York, the Avengers learn of this and decide they will journey to Alfheim, where Jolnir resides.  Team leader Captain America (Matthew Mercer) tells Reptil he isn't ready for a mission such as this.  Captain Marvel (Grey Griffin) thinks Cap is being a little hard on the kid.  Reptil begs Cap to change his mind, adding that he's a huge fan of Santa Claus.  Iron Man (Mick Wingert) vouches for Reptil (partially to get under Cap's skin) and Captain America changes his mind.

Hulk loves Christmas!
Hulk (Tatasciore again) and Thor (Travis Willingham) stay behind in case they need to fill in for Santa.  They visit a toy store and buy the store's entire inventory (charging it to Tony Stark).  The store manager is named Nick and bears as rather striking resemblance to Santa/Jolnir.
Nick is afraid of heights!
At the same time, elsewhere in the galaxy, Rocket Raccoon (Trevor Devall) and his friend Groot (Kevin Michael Richardson) are in need of quick money for spaceship repairs.


Rocket learns there's a bounty on Santa's head and decides to visit Alfheim to cash in.


The Avengers arrive safely in Alfheim where they encounter cranky warrior elves, a monster called the Eurokraken and of course, Loki and Ymir lying in wait for them.


Rocket and Groot arrive separately and have their own run-ins with zombie gingerbread men and Mrs. Claus (Jane Singer)!


Will Loki succeed in stealing Santa's powers and ruin Christmas for all time?  Or will the Avengers, Rocket and Groot be able to save the day?

J.A. Morris says:

We had no idea this brand new special existed when we began our "Christmas with the Superheroes" series.  What a pleasant surprise it turned out to be!


Loki and Ymir's scheme to take Santa's power and destroy Christmas puts them right up there with the Grinch and Mr. Potter in the Christmas Villains Hall Of Fame.


One of the best parts is Hulk, Thor and Nick's attempt to substitute for Santa.  Hulk talks about his love for Christmas and even performs "Deck The Halls" with modified lyrics.  We also get touching moments where Captain Marvel, Reptil and Captain America tell stories about receiving presents from Santa in their youth.

Captain America remembers when Santa brought him a baseball bat.
Like many Christmas movies, Santa/Jolnir is shown to be more powerful when people say they believe in him.  Reptil is a character I hadn't seen before Frost Fight.  He ends up playing a crucial role, since he is closer to childhood than the other Avengers.


Of course it's not all Yuletide sentimentality.  We get several thrilling super-powered fight scenes where the heroes do battle with Asgardian gods, archer elves and even a dinosaur!


All of the voice actors do a great job in Frost Fight.  Fred Tatasciore is especially great doing double duty as Hulk and Ymir.

Nick confronts Loki.
Troy Baker manages to make a vile character such as Loki seem almost likeable, with a little bit of humor mixed into his evil monologues.   Kevin Michael Richardson, as Groot, only gets to say "I am Groot" over and over again.  But each time he manages to convey Groot's emotions and keeps the character interesting.


If I have any problems with Frost Fight, it's that some scenes feel like padding.  There's also a battle between the Avengers and the Eurokraken that's only shown in silhouette.  This feels like it was done to save time and money on animation, and viewers are robbed of a good chance to see the Avengers in action.


Frost Fight is available for streaming on Amazon, iTunes and Google Play.


If you love the recent movies set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and enjoy Christmas programming, Frost Fight is a no-brainer.  This is recommended, superhero fans won't be disappointed.

J.A. Morris' rating:






.5

3 and a half candy canes.


RigbyMel says:

This Marvel adventure is a rollicking good time overall.     We've got a nefarious plot by the deliciously wicked Loki to steal Santa's powers.    We get Hulk singing -- and referencing A Christmas Story with his "fa ra ra ra ra"s.

Hulk explains Santa to Thor.
We also get to see the Avengers acting like a family that bickers and doesn't always see eye to eye -- a feature of most Avengers tales, but well played here.

Our heroes have to "hug it out" to avoid being blown away by Ymir's icy winds!
We get to see Rocket and Groot do battle with zombie gingerbread and then encounter Mrs. Claus.    Mrs. Claus causes Rocket to freak out when she takes his spaceship for a spin too -- which is pretty amusing.


We even get sweet holiday memories from some alongside a plot that hinges partly on Iron Man's LACK of belief in Santa and Reptil's youthful enthusiasm for Mr. Kringle.

Captain Marvel helps deliver presents.
It's also nice to see Captain Marvel show up in an animated Avengers adventure.   This is the first time I recall seeing her in the Marvel Animated Universe.   It would have been nice if she'd had a bit more to do in the episode, but it was still good that she was present.


We get an interesting take on Santa/Jolnir's origin in this episode -- apparently he is half elf and half frost giant!   I find it intriguing the way that the writers tied Jolnir into the world of Thor.   After all, here in Midgard, there are some that trace Santa's roots to Norse mythology and Odin, the white bearded ruler of the Nine Realms who travels through the sky on an eight-legged horse named Slepnir.  (Often on Yule -- Yule/Jolnir -- get it?)


So, Frost Fight appeals to the mythology geek as well as the superhero fan and Christmas afficianado in me, and I suspect, it will appeal to others.

Loki gets what he deserves for the holidays.
As J.A. Morris mentions above, there are some extra scenes (one involving dinosaur drool) that, while fun, feel like they are mainly there to pad out the running time and there are occasions where the animation is sometimes a bit constrained by budgetary concerns.   However,  the main story is so much fun, that it almost doesn't matter.


Frost Fight is lively and entertaining and well worth sharing with the superhero and holiday fans in your life.


RigbyMel's rating:






.5

3 and a half candy canes.

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