Avengers Grimm: Time Wars
Avengers Grimm: Time Wars 2018
One of the biggest challenges with a niche site like this is that with such a big movie marketplace, it’s easy to overlook smaller titles because they don’t have the marketing behind them. I’m always keeping my eye out for new titles, but I don’t always catch them until a year or more later. That’s the case with the latest superhero-esque mockbuster from the Asylum. I had previously watched and reviewed the first Avengers Grimm and the spin-off/sequel Sinister Squad, but I completely missed the fact that they made a third movie in this loosely connected series of movies last year to coincide with Avengers: Infinity War. They have long since passed using any sort of celebrity but did bring back the actress who played Snow White in Avengers Grimm as well as the actors who played Alice and Hatter from Sinister Squad. It did feel like it had a slightly more coherent plot, but all sense of campiness was lost and what was left was just a mediocre movie.
The film more or less follows after the previous two movies, there’s a fairy tale multiverse that’s all connected via a broken magic mirror and Alice runs an organization called Looking Glass where she recruits fairy tale characters to prevent world ending events. This time around, the Queen of Atlantis Magda is after Prince Charming and his magic ring so she can rule the world because that’s apparently a thing. Alice wakes up Snow White from being frozen at the end of Avengers Grimm and while they explain away the fact that Rumpelstiltskin is not the one who died, he’s a different Rumpel because he’s played by a different actor, they bring in a new actress to play Red while she’s still the same character.
While this is an action movie and an Asylum feature which is known for their horror related mockbusters, it follows a more PG-13 formula where every fight scene is punctuated with very squishy sounding, bloody hits and yet there’s next to zero blood spatters throughout the entire movie. The Atlantean soldiers look like they’re wearing some rejected costumes from 300 with an additional face mask, and the guy playing Prince Charming feels like he’s doing an impression of the suave guy in the Old Spice commercials. Meanwhile Rumpelstiltskin appears to be playing both sides against each other but instead of being the trickster mastermind that he more or less was in the previous two movies, he’s more of a sniveling weasel this time around. He spends most of his time trying to stay on Magda’s good side, either through his own manipulation, or under her control in the future.
There is a time travel aspect to this movie but it’s not exactly handled very clearly. There’s the initial reveal of the portal that brought Charming and Magda into the present time from their fairy tale timeline. But during the movie, Rumpel sends the Avengers back through a portal to their fairy tale universe, except it’s one that’s already changed by events that haven’t happened yet. It’s like they were sent into the past, but also the future at the same time. And when they’re able to get out of their own past, they travel to the modern future where they meet an elderly Charming and a bonkers Alice. It’s all very confusing and it doesn’t help that it frequently jumps between the present with Alice, Rumpel, and Charming and the future with the Avengers Grimm, old Charming, but still young Magda.
And even though these are fairy tale characters, it’s still a mockbuster of the Avengers because the fairy tale princesses (and Red/Alice) all have their own super powers. Snow White has Elsa’s Frozen powers because snow, get it? Sleeping Beauty has mind control powers which was initially used to make people fall asleep, but this time is a more generic mind control because of course it is. Red Riding Hood is pretty much Hawkeye with her bow and arrow and one scene in the past where she gets to use a couple pistols that only have one full round of ammunition because that also makes plenty of sense. The more interesting twist that they brought in that changed from her time in Sinister Squad is they eventually gave Alice the powers of Ant-Man which actually made a lot of sense in this context, since she spent plenty of time growing large and small during her time in Wonderland.
The biggest problem with this film is that it’s not fully coherent enough to appreciate it for the actual story, but it’s not incompetent enough to enjoy it for its camp value. All of the actors and actresses are making a serious effort to play things as seriously as possible without any winks to the camera. There are also no campy winks in the script. The fight scenes are competently handled, but the story was a little too ambitious for what the filmmakers were actually able to accomplish. This was a very similar issue with Sinister Squad, but that film was able to have a lot more humor in it. This felt much more lifeless even though it ultimately came much closer to the goal of making a decent film. But without the camp and without better actors/script/special effects/etc this was ultimately a rather dull film with a few interesting moments here and there. I’m still curious to see if this franchise keeps going and if they are able to turn it into something actually successful as each one keeps getting a little bit closer, but never quite makes it all the way there. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.