Saturday, September 28, 2013

On The Air: Phineas & Ferb meet Spider-Man & The Avengers (well, some of them)(Mission Marvel, 2013)

After all the hype, another letdown.

A couple of message boards I frequent indicated that fans were stoked over a Disney/Marvel crossover that was to be one of the animated events of the summer. Unfortunately, what resulted was less than perfect.

"Mission Marvel", a 1 hour episode of Phineas & Ferb, has the boys meeting three of the Avengers (Iron Man, Thor, & Hulk) and Spider-Man after the heroes have lost their powers thanks to a draining device created by the world's dumbest mad scientist, Dr. Heinz Doofenschmirtz, who in turn is recruited, then betrayed, by a quartet of villains---M.O.D.O.K, Venom, Whiplash, & the Red Skull, whom the heroes were fighting in New York when they lost their powers.

There are the usual Phineas & Ferb hallmarks:

*Agent P, aka Phineas' pet platypus, Perry, tangles with Doofensmirtz while the boys and their buds are on a scientific mission in space. Shoot, the space station is shaped like the heads of Phineas & Ferb.

*Candace (Ashley Tisdale), Phineas' older sister, messes things up not once, but twice, but after reconciling with Phineas, decides she wants to "bust" him & Ferb, if for no other reason than for her own self-gratification. This ream is beyond stale, and creators Jeff Marsh & Dan Povenmire need to turn the page with Candace. Her antics detracted from the gist of the story.

*Cute, trite musical numbers, including in the open, set to a surf rock beat (think Beach Boys). Not as much of a problem, except for an elongated sequence of the villains, led by Doofenshmirtz in this case, on a mayhem spree through town. Candace & Isabella's duet near the end had a point to make, leading to the finish.

Marvel founding father Stan Lee not only turns up as a hot dog vendor, but does a little bit of narration on the order of his work in the 80's (Incredible Hulk, seasons 2-3 of Spider-Man & His Amazing Friends). The narrative was brief. If you blinked, you probably missed it.

As I wrote when I previously reviewed Phineas & Ferb, the boys' can-do, positive attitude is enough for the show to earn a E/I designation from the FCC, and that certainly applies here. Disney blew it by not repurposing the show on ABC before giving up the network's Saturday morning lineup a couple of years back, plain & simple.

One saving grace is that Marvel's answer to "Dumb & Dumber" (Joe Quesada & Jeph Loeb) aren't involved in the production of this episode. If they were, it could've been worse.

IGN provides us with the following trailer.

One thing that didn't make sense was using M.O.D.O.K. & Red Skull, two foes more closely associated with Captain America, though Iron Man has tangled with M.O.D.O.K. in the books, if memory serves. Red Skull, though, figures prominently in a story arc over on Avengers Assemble, so at least his presence is explained away. Also, Black Widow could've been used here to give Candace & Isabella a role model.

Rating: B-.

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