Marvel Superhero Adventures: Frost Fight
Marvel Superhero Adventures: Frost Fight 2015
Just when I thought I had watched every Christmas related superhero movie they had to come out with another one. And in typical Marvel fashion, this one flew under my radar until it was actually released even though they did apparently announce the title at NYCC. It was just released digitally earlier last week and like most of Marvel’s recent home video releases it is very family friendly. But they have also switched animation styles yet again, going away from the anime and the cell-shaded CGI in favor of their TV style animation similar to Avengers Assemble and Guardians of the Galaxy, though with only a few of the same voice actors. It does a nice job of tying Santa Claus into the Marvel universe, but it’s mainly just a very disjointed series of battles and/or gags with a very common holiday story at the end.
The overall premise is that Santa Claus is actually a legendary being known by Asgardians as Jolnir which actually does have its roots in Norse mythology. He was the son of a Frost Giant and a Light Elf, though the realm that he resides in looks much more like Candyland than anything in the Thor movies. He also has what was referred to as the Emerald Guard and the Eurokraken (or possibly Jurokraken) to help protect him and his realm as well as the Guardian Box, or some similar name. The Guardian Box was a relic which allowed someone to transfer power from one being to another, and so Loki’s plan was to use it to transfer Jolnir’s mighty power to himself.
So, ultimately the plot revolves around everyone trying to find the mighty Santa Claus, including Loki and his sidekick Frost Giant Ymir, a group of Avengers consisting of: Captain America, Iron Man, Captain Marvel, and young trainee Reptil, as well as Rocket Raccoon and Groot because of course they are, and meanwhile Hulk and Thor are off on Earth where Hulk is teaching Thor about Earth’s Christmas. It’s all really odd, disjointed, and mainly just excuses to make jokes about Christmas. There are Christmas movie cliches everywhere, from just the inclusion of Reptil as the young character who still believes in Santa Claus while Tony Stark is the realist who absolutely doesn’t until he finally sees him with his own eyes. There’s also a Santa Claus lookalike who’s named Nicholas and works at a toy store. Not only that, but he’s recruited (barely willingly) by Thor and Hulk to lead their makeshift sleigh filled with all of the toy store’s presents which they bought themselves (with what money?). The sleigh is flown with Thor in the lead, a bunch of plastic reindeer, and Hulk throwing presents at the ground with a force to make them flaming balls of death. If that doesn’t scream Christmas, who knows what does?
One of the most tacked on stories in this movie is the addition of Rocket and Groot who get mixed in with everything when Loki posts a fake bounty on Jolnir’s head. But when they come after him they end up catching Mrs. Claus instead who ends up being an insane pilot who takes them for a crazy sleigh ride before wrangling the pilot seat on their ship to fly through an asteroid field. It doesn’t really add to the story in any way, shape, or form aside from getting to hear a very not-Vin Diesel say “I am Groot” a dozen times before turning into a giant Christmas tree at the very end. Rocket even gets a brand new ship without really learning any sort of lesson or helping at all.
What does help this movie for the most part is the humor laced throughout. It rarely takes itself seriously and surprisingly Hulk has some of the best comedic moments. He doesn’t get any “puny god” moments, but instead is shown as a mildly intelligent and somewhat childlike hero who tends to get distracted with tangents. There is no Bruce Banner alter ego, nor is there any moments of Hulk rage. He’s even tossed aside from the main group who is going after Loki. The other half of the story follows Reptil’s hero journey. It again is a very cliche-ridden story where he starts out being very cocky and eager, and through the mission he learns a bit of humility and teamwork. And by the end of it becomes essentially a part of the team.
The animation itself feels very much like a well done episode of television. There’s nothing that feels overly cheap, but there also isn’t anything that jumps out as being very impressive. One odd direction used multiple times throughout the film was the use of slow motion for no apparent reason. It rarely added to the action or the humor even though it felt like that was the intention, like when Rocket tries to jump for the reigns of the sleigh, or when Reptil delivers the final blow to Loki. This film is also notable for being the first movie to include Captain Marvel Carol Danvers. It’s entirely possible that she has been in some of the Marvel TV shows, but this is the first notable appearance in any film that I’ve seen. Unfortunately, she didn’t really make too much of an impression in this film. She didn’t even have any real defining moments, she was just another member of the team to help in the fighting, or add her thoughts to the main dynamic between Reptil, Captain America, and Iron Man. There wasn’t much memorable about this film, but it wasn’t a bad distraction. And as far as superhero Christmas movies, it’s much closer to Batman Returns than it is to Elf-Man, and it’s a lot more family friendly than Batman Returns. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.