31st Aug2018

‘Avengers Grimm: Time Wars’ DVD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Lauren Parkinson, Elizabeth Eileen, Marah Fairclough, Christina Licciardi, Michael Marcel, Katherine Maya, Eric Feltes, Randall Yarbrough, William Knight, Rah Johnson | Written by Jeremy M. Inman | Directed by Max Elfeldt

ag-time-wars-dvd

Originally released in 2015, I was something of a fan of the superhero mockbuster Avengers Grimm, which was an off-the-wall mix of Grimm Fairy tale characters and superhero team-up movies from the schlockmeisters at The Asylum, the company behind such films as Transmorphers, Hercules Reborn and Sharknado. Despite its low-budget and somewhat flawed nature, the film was, and still is, a brilliant example of how to modernise fairy tale characters and NOT just be a Once Upon a Time rip-off. It’s also a fantastic example of a family-friendly action movie with a strong central female cast – beating the current crop of big-budget movies to the mark by a few years (it’s surprising sometimes how often low-budget indie film making breaks ground BEFORE their Hollywood brethren).

Avengers Grimm was followed in 2016 by Sinister Squad, which took its cue from the DCEU film Suicide Squad (obviously, given the title) and was something of a sequel – the film was once again written and directed by Jeremy M. Inman and had further connections to Avengers Grimm, in particular the magic mirror which was central to the plot of that film. But now here we are, in 2018, with a NAMED sequel to Inman’s original – Avengers Grimm: Time Wars – which seems to be beating that “other” big Avengers franchise to the proverbial time-travel punch by a solid year.

This time round Jeremy M. Inman (who wrote AND directed Avengers Grimm and Sinister Squad) takes a directorial backseat, only providing the screenplay for this tale – which sees Magda, the evil ruler of Atlantis (a nod to the forthcoming Aquaman movie perhaps?), enlist Rumpelstiltskin to help her send the Avengers Grimm back in time. Trapped in the past, and confronted by danger on all sides, the Avengers will need to work together if they are to return to the present and thwart the Queen before she can carry out her evil plan.

So, Lauren Parkinson is back as Snow White; as is Marah Fairclough as Sleeping Beauty; Christina Licciardi, who played Alice in Sinister Squad, also makes an appearance here as the same fairy tale “princess”. She’s joined by her co-star from Sinister Squad, Randall Yarbrough, playing Hatter once again. However we’re now on the THIRD actor to play Rumpelstilskin (and neither of the latter two have really measured up to Casper Van Dien in the original) and we have a new Red Riding Hood too – this time going by the name “Red Riding Hood” rather than just Red as she did in the original film. So we have characters from Avengers Grimm, characters from Sinister Squad, and a gaggle of new characters to contend with too… I hope to god you’re all following this. It actually feels like The Asylum are going for as convoluted a universe as Marvel now!

I jest of course, but speaking of returns, what’s also back here is a sense of familiarity. Despite changes in casting, a change to the director and ANOTHER Rumplestilskin actor (I can’t believe Casper Van Dien wouldn’t come back for the sequel – after some of the dross he’s appeared in recently this would be a step up!), Avengers Grimm: Time Wars isn’t that different from its predecessor – which is a good thing if, like me, you were a fan of the original film. Honestly, The Asylum are on to a real winner with this franchise; whilst Sharknado might get all the press this particular series of films is where the real world-building is taking place, where the real stories are happening and where The Asylum are truly challenging the big [Hollywood] boys at the superhero game!

Avengers Grimm: Time Wars is out now on DVD from High Fliers.

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