Review by Arsenal, Media By Stu
Episode #4 - Sunfire
Written By: Christy Marx
Music Composed By: John Douglas
Guest Starring: Jerry Dexter as Shiro Yoshida/Sunfire and Keye Luke as Uncle Genju
Cartoons have shrunk in the last two decades. The average length of a Spidey & Amazing Friends episode hovers around twenty-three minutes. Meanwhile, the length of an animated show today is less than nineteen minutes, including the thirty- to sixty-second intro. Nowadays, cartoons and television, in general, require more cartoons to finance them because budgets are higher.
Also, by nature of the maturing medium and audience, the plots are more stuffed now than in the eighties. Think about it, the normal synopsis of a Smurfs episode could be written with four or five sentences. Compare that to some of the cartoons today—events come flying at a breakneck speed, especially in “action cartoons” like Justice League Unlimited or Avatar: The Last Airbender.
These two opposing trends—shorter episodes and more plot—can combine to make a S & AF episode feel as decompressed as a Bendis-penned, summer event. (I need a sidekick to go “YES” after I make these quips.)
S & AF episodes have a habit of lolling about before getting to the point. At the show’s best, it creates some spectacular quips. (This show got Spidey and Iceman’s humor right. Sometimes, I miss that they were unable to include arch-quipmaster Johnny Storm.) At the show’s worst, it becomes laborious. “Sunfire” is the latter.
Stretched about six minutes beyond possible need, the plot and script are in need of editing (or a B-plot.) There are some good things here—Sunfire and Firestar’s romance is acceptable if only for the jealousy it inspires in the other guys, and, as always, there’s some funny stuff to be had here—but all the good stuff becomes grating by the end.
A couple notes: this iteration of Sunfire is very similar to the comics. In the comics, Shiro was also misled by a yellow menace uncle. He did, indeed, butt heads with the X-Men before