Paige FTW: Disney’s Uncanny Avengers

It’s astonishingly, really, how the same studio that churned out the beautiful Tomb Raider reboot games is the one that put out the deeply unsettling Marvel’s Avengers trailer at last week’s E3 conference.

Like, did you see that trailer? Big yikes. Somehow every single character manages to look deeply off-putting. The biggest criticism has centered around why the characters seem to resemble, in both costume and abilities, their movie counterparts, but with weirdly generic faces. Like, we wanted them to be similar … but then gave up three-quarters of the way.

Crystal Dynamics says that Marvel OK’d the designs and aesthetic.

And you know what, I believe them.

This has been a problem for Marvel since Disney bought it out. And video games are only the newest territory this issue is raising its head.

Let me explain my theory. 

The endgame is money. The movies are the big moneymakers of Marvel right now, and so the other properties adapt to reflect their juggernaut status. The comic characters start to bear resemblance to their real-world counterparts (hence how Iron Man now looks like Robert Downey Jr., and not the other way around).

Marvel canceled its very excellent Earth’s Mightiest Heroes cartoon (which had jaunty, stylized comic visuals, an enormous cast of characters and a deft touch for capturing character beats) and replaced it with Avengers Assemble (which nuked the large, rotating lineup for “characters who are in the movies” and more realistic animation that, again, look like the movie actors but not quite).

Are you seeing a trend? Marvel’s Avengers fits right in. The bottom line is the only line.

Spider-Man, of course, bucked this trend and created its own unique Peter Parker who is not Tom Holland (or Andrew Garfield or Tobey Maguire), in his own world, stylized his own way. Into the Spider-Verse also shrugged off the homogenization of Marvel. Why? Because Sony still controls Spidey.

The rest of the Avengers are not so lucky. I wouldn’t hold my breath for this game, either.