Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Loonatics Unleashed - Acmegeddon: Part One (Snark)

Just for the record yes I’m skipping the stupid time-warp episode. Here we go guys, the senses-shattering season finale of Loonatics Unleashed!

Loonatics HQ is prominently framed against the Acmetropolis skyline. Despite the city being the whole planet, it never seems much bigger than a regular city on a superhero show, does it?

Look, if I shouldn’t think about it, they shouldn’t mention it.

Then a train whizzes by. I could mention there’s no way in hell it got from where we first saw to where it was in the distance a second later, but I think I’d better pace myself. This is a two-parter, after all.

This proves to be a train transferring supervillains. A loudspeaker warns a group of guards, “Today we’re transporting four of the most dangerous criminals to a new maximum security facility.” Which sounds like something everybody would’ve been briefed on already, but then everybody’s a moron on this show.

Those villains are Sypher, Mastermind, Weather Vane (who was never actually captured) and Massive. We’re informed, “They’ll be under the supervision of one of the most courageous members of the Loonatics.” The show’s predictable joke powers running full-tilt, this turns out to be Daffy.

A blue wormhole suddenly appears in the train and sucks the villains inside. They’re shit back out on some generic barren asteroid and find themselves face-to-faceplate with this show’s idea of a master villain, Optimatus (op-tuh-mot-us).

Not only is that a woefully stupid name, but they hired Charlie Adler to do his voice. Look, I have plenty of respect for Charlie. He’s got a good range, but the one role he’s no good at is this one. He probably can’t help it, but the way his voice sounds, there's this smarmy quality underlying all his lines like he’s parodying the kind of world-beating master villain he’s supposed to actually be. Which is probably why this show’s one of the few where he plays this kind of villain instead of a goofy one or a serious villain’s goofy sidekick.

And I never would’ve guessed that spelling from that pronunciation, but later we have characters referring to him with nicknames like “Optomato.” Must make life a lot simpler when you can read people's names off a script.

Wait, Daffy's voiced by...Peter Pan??

Our villain for the evening offers to let the four of them rule Acmetropolis “and all its resources” if they’ll get rid of the Loonatics for him. The villains huddle up and discuss the merits of throwing in with Optimatus, and even though Massive notes he probably just wants to use them as pawns to take over Acmetropolis himself, they agree to do his dirty work because the writing isn’t sophisticated enough for them to do anything else. Even though Sypher tries to cut a deal to be allowed to steal the other villains’ powers and handle things by himself (which the other villains shut down).

Optimatus gives his little task force a computer chip to insert once they take over the Loonatics’ headquarters. Not what to insert it into, just to insert it when they’re in the Loonatics HQ.

Speaking of Loonatics HQ, Daffy’s terrified of when Zadavia checks in and finds out how the villains disappeared on his watch. Who put him in charge of that anyway? In-show at least he’s supposed to be the least competent team member. Did Zadavia/Bugs figure that was a job even he couldn’t screw up and gave it to him to give the others some peace and quiet?  Wouldn’t that make this their fault, really?

Actually, for once the others are willing to cut Daffy some slack. Zadavia already knows about the villains escaping and seems uncharacteristically worried when Daffy tells her what happened, confirming something powerful and far beyond Daffy’s control was responsible. She then disappears and we see where Zadavia lives, which apparently is Center Neptune from Battle of the Planets. She talks to herself about how she’s running out of time and “he” is coming for her. Look lady, when your face is popping out of giant billboards, you don’t seem all that concerned with laying low.

And oh dear, are we finally going to hear the backstory of this character who never existed before this show? Sorry guys, you waited a little too long, screwed up making certain characters sympathetic or otherwise a little too badly, and made your fictitious world way too stupid for this to be worth the wait.

Back to the Loonatics and Daffy’s brandishing around a bunch of those laser guns most of the Loonatics have no need for except for looking “cool.” He promises to track down and recover the missing villains, with Bugs piping up, “I don’t think so.” And what do you suggest, Mr. Ace Hero Team Leader? That’s exactly what your exalted Zadavia told you guys to do.

Lexi explains “this is just another sad, desperate attempt to kiss up to Zadavia and hog all the glory.” Excuse me? All Daffy said was he was gung ho about finding and recapturing the villains, as all of you should be. Lexi’s just seizing the moral high ground because the writers seem to think she and the rest of the team automatically have it over Daffy. Sorry writing staff dudes, despite what twifans might have thought that’s not how characterization works. If one character’s supposed to be less likable than the others, you have to actually make the other characters more likable. And the other Loonatics are…nothing. They’re not even stereotypes, they’re that flat and boring. Lexi herself just comes across as kind of a bitch who’s overly concerned about looking fat in the one or two other times the writers deemed to give her another character trait.

Bugs does agree to let Daffy go off on his own to find the villains, but only if Roadrunner goes with him. Daffy refuses until Roadrunner plays on his ego, saying he could be Daffy’s sidekick rather than his partner. After they’re gone, Lexi voices suspicion that Bugs did that just to get Daffy out of the way. He coyly replies he has no idea what she’s talking about.

They don’t elaborate further, so let me ask, what’s the plan? There’s four supervillains out there, all of whom were able to menace the entire team on their own. And Bugs is depleting their powerbase to keep Daffy occupied and out of the way for…what reason? If Daffy’s just dead weight when they’re facing this big of a threat, why do they keep him around in the first place? PR reasons or something?

The Loonatics seem like they’re supposed to be basically a cartoon animal Justice League, but nobody on the writing team seemed to understand that the reason a superhero team puts up with a member who’s (supposed to be) an asshole is he’s still useful to have around. Usually because of a reason like he provides capabilities nobody else on the team does. But the show never asks that question. Daffy’s an asshole because that’s always been his role, and nobody ever even gets a moment where they get to display a different side.

That’s awfully lazy and unobservant for people trying to create something to appeal to the demographic hooked on the darkness and sophisticated writing of anime shows, is all I’m saying.

Bugs doesn’t appear to have any plan in mind anyway, since he asks Wile E. to scan for any power surge, gravity anomaly, anything at all suspicious. It doesn’t take them long to detect Sypher raising havoc at the Acmetropolis Zoo, and they jet out to confront him.

When they get there, after trading some lame insults Sypher reveals he’s juiced up for the confrontation by stealing some of the animals’ abilities. “The kangaroo’s hop, the falcon’s speed, and the grizzly bear’s strength.” Wile E., not showing off much of that vaunted brainpower, tells Sypher to give up since he’s outnumbered four to one. Maybe if it seemed like they’d actually brought anything or developed any tactics to take into account his powers (let alone the powers of the other villains they know are on the loose).

But no, that’s just a handy opening for the rest of the villains to step out of the shadows and announce their teamup with Sypher. Even though we already knew about that. Look, it’s not a given that the villains would’ve teamed up, but it’s a possibility. And one the Loonatics didn’t anticipate at all.

It still being pretty early into an episode of an extremely mediocre action show, the Loonatics have forgotten all about the tactics and/or devices they used to defeat these same villains before and the villains gain the upper hand with ease. Bugs tries to zap Massive, even though none of them were able to hurt him before, and gets smooshed against the ground. Lexi gets blown away by a tornado from Weather Vane (although it’s purple like Taz’s spinning and for a second I thought they’d fallen to fighting amongst themselves).

Taz tries to throw something big at Sypher only for Sypher to throw something bigger at him first. Wile E.’s so off-guard he doesn’t even guess that the silver dust Mastermind blows at him is in fact nanites that start up his jetpack and smash him into a wall.

The Loonaturds wake up in Mastermind’s old cell. She gloats at this reversal. I’d ask if the villains had to take over the prison and why they didn’t release the other inmates because we never hear about that, but astoundingly we hear a throwaway line later that the prison was shut down. No word of what happened to the other inmates and if the villains were being shipped to a new jail just for their ilk, but at least we got that one bit.

“Hey Craniac, you ever get premonitions? Cuz here’s a psychic flash!” So saying, Bugs shoots his laser vision at the bubble. What the fudge…? What kind of witty banter is that supposed to be?! What does that have to do with anything, or what he actually does?

You kinda deserved that, Bugs.

And did he really think a jail cell intended for a supervillain wouldn’t give him any problems?
“Prisoner-specific defenses? Nice,” Wile E. admits. That’s pretty standard fare for supervillain incarceration. Shit, how long ago did they publish Escape from Stronghold, anyway? Besides, the pods the villains were in when they were loaded onto the train were supposedly responsible for neutralizing their powers. We didn’t see how that worked, but that still sounds like the technology’s already been implemented elsewhere.

And did Bugs really think a super-genius wouldn’t lock them somewhere they couldn’t just zap their way out of easily? Then again, this is the same guy who thought she wouldn’t lock the obvious ways in after taking over their headquarters, too. Way to go, idiots.

Sypher asks to be allowed to steal the Loonatics’ powers—and thus no more superheroes to bug them--but the other villains still don’t trust him and leave him to stand guard while they go to track down Daffy and Roadrunner. The three villains easily get inside Loonatics HQ by having Mastermind use a hologram to make herself look like Daffy.

That’s another element of bad world-building I probably should’ve touched on before. That is, when super high-tech stuff is everywhere, these gadgeteer types likes Mastermind and Wile E. don’t seem so special. These characters are a lot more notable in a modern setting where things like laser rifles and hoversleds aren’t commonplace. Or if they are available, it’s only to people like large-scale peacekeeping organizations or well-funded criminal enclaves.

With how little focus the aspects of life in Acmetropolis that don’t involve super battles get we admittedly haven’t seen a lot of examples, but they’re still there. Like how antigravity technology’s used for snack carts in this show. For these kinds of characters to stand out still in this kind of setting, you should probably make an effort to show where the lines are drawn between common future-tech and super genius future-tech. But of course, they didn’t do that.

Massive plugs Optimatus’s gizmo into a slot in a computer bank because “That looks like a fit.” Would it even have mattered what it was plugged into? Probably not, with the shitty decision-making with future-tech I just got done whining about.

Right about then Daffy and Roadrunner come back after having given up on looking for the villains. The door refuses to let Daffy back in because it thinks he already is in, but opens up when Roadrunner lets it scan his face (good thing there are no other anthropomorphic animals on the entire city-planet).

But that’s another thing. As they go in we see these meters on the wall behind them that say “New Acme” and “Los Acme.” What the hell are those? Are those the names of places on Acmetropolis? If they are then once again, why in the flying fnck is every location the Acmetropolis reservoir/zoo/power plant/jail/mini mart?

As they head into the meeting room Zadavia pops onto a monitor and warns them to get out, but this seems genuine since right then the villains attack them. So what did Optimatus’s chip thingy do?

Since we’re farther into the episode now the villains start becoming less of a threat. Massive and Weather Vane take each other out with their respective blasts, giving Daffy and Roadrunner  the chance to escape. Never mind that their powers are teleporting and super-speed, meaning they should have the least trouble of running away from people of any of the Loonatics. In any event they give the villains the slip, and Roadrunner magically figures out that their buddies have been captured and taken to Mastermind’s old cell.

Chipped meeting table...

...intact meeting table?

Cut to the cell and it looks like Bugs and Wile E. were trying to disable the cell from the inside. Which is yet another stupid oversight for a super-genius, and doesn’t matter anyway because that’s when Daffy and Roadrunner show up. Bugs rather loudly tells Daffy to keep Sypher busy while Roadrunner tries to hack the security code to get the rest of them out. You make me glad I’m dead by the time all this happens if you’re the one I’d be counting on to save my life, Bugs.

Luckily for them Sypher’s a moron and falls for it, jumping around trying to catch Daffy like a clod without all the speed and agility he took from the zoo animals. And whatever he took it from has to touch him again to take it back, so did Mastermind make him climb back into the zoo cages and give back everything he stole?

Eventually Daffy slips up and Sypher absorbs his powers, and threatens to zap into the bubble and do the same to them. Luckily for them he’s still a moron and decides to wait on the easy pickings when Roadrunner reminds the villain he’s still there too. While he chases Roadrunner around, Wile E. realizes he knows the secret code to open the cell after all, and tells it to Daffy. The code? Mastermind’s old locker combination, which she shared with Wile E. back when they knew each other in college. The resolutions in this show are so dumb!

The other villains show up and the expected battle royale begins, but the Loonatics soon decide discretion’s the better part of valor. Both groups make it to the surface but then Optimatus appears in a menace-destroying rainbow beam just like Zadavia’s. He berates the villains for failing to do their job and creates another wormhole to send them back to the asteroid from the beginning (and when they come out the other end it’s the exact same footage as before).

Daffy jumps in after them and gets pulled along for the ride, trying to get his powers back from Sypher, but evidently grabbing his legs doesn’t count and Daffy doesn’t get his powers back yet.

Zadavia appears to the rest of the Loonatics in person then, and says Optimatus is her brother. They’re completely blown away by this, even though from everything we’ve seen they barely know anything about her, either.

That's how I look in reaction to anything this show wants me to believe.

Join us next time for part two!

No comments:

Post a Comment