The first Avengers movie set a high bar for all of the Super Heroes sets that came after it… and that’s been sort of a shame for those sets. The original Quinjet is still one of the best sets we’ve gotten in Marvel Super Heroes (though, to be honest, I prefer the Milano), and the vehicle itself has carved itself out as an iconic piece of the MCU, showing up in Agents of SHIELD as well as Avengers. In fact, a Quinjet was a plot point at the start of the second season, so it’s likely the most iconic vehicle in the movie not called a Helicarrier. So when the opportunity to review 76032 The Avengers Quinjet City Chase popped up I had high hopes for the set.
One of the recurring themes for licensed sets has been how the female characters are most often in the most expensive set. Black Widow, a crucial character in both Avengers film, how now only showed up in the most expensive set twice… not counting her appearance in what is currently the most expensive set they make (other than the Mindstorms kit or those “this is why we can’t have a good bonus” business stuff). Another theme has been how the sets have a certain habit of giving away some plot points, you know, like how Vision shows up or how the Mandarin had a speedboat and lawnmower.
The Black Widow thing is sadly not surprising, since Disney/Marvel doesn’t seem to be especially interested in marketing products to half of the world’s population. Worse, all of the Age of Ultron toys seemed to want to marginalize her role in the film… (or in the case Hasbro, pretend like it didn’t exist). LEGO wasn’t perfect in this regard, but they are better than a lot of the others. I’ll get into some of those reasons later in the review, where there will be some spoilers… but if you haven’t seen it yet I can’t help you.
At 722 pieces and $79.99 (or as I’d like to call it, 1/5th of a helicarrier… sort of, I’m rounding), this is a set that will set you back a bit to pick up. Yet it’s also the only place you can get a couple of the big players in the movie, because LEGO marketing embraces the evil of spreading them out so we have to spend more money. The real question is if this set exceeds what came before it, or if it’s like Avengers: Age of Ultron and fails to live up to its predecessor…
So, I’m going to jump on the soapbox for a bit. You can skip down to the minifig section if you don’t feel like reading it, but this is one of those “get out the angry eyes” kind of products in a few ways…
So, for those who didn’t know the whole blowup around the merchandise with Age of Ultron, it follows the normal nonsense that Disney/Marvel has been known for. Basically, the Avengers were portrayed with four people… Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, and Thor. If they were marketing for 1954… it would still be crappy, but it’s sort of nonsense now. Especially given that the gender split going to these movies is getting towards parity (it started in the 40/60 range, but trending towards 50/50 up with Guardians and after). When you’re getting people like Clark Gregg (Agent Coulson) start calling them out for it, and Mark Ruffalo (the Hulk) complains he can’t get toys his kids want. I’m not going to get into the reasons why Disney is so bad at this, but it is intentional.
However, availability aside, the big problem that came up with a lot of the toys is that they simply weren’t movie accurate when you take those characters out. Hasbro messed the Quinjet up for AoU big time when they decided not to include Black Widow at all. Remember that scene in the movie? Or who was riding the motorcycle? Or the fact that the person riding the motorcycle was riding it in order to rescue Captain America?
The worst part about this whole thing is just how sharply it sits out of step with the comics (who have been growing steadily more diverse… and getting some great stories along with it; turns out adding a bit more reality in the makeup can be a shake-up). Let me be clear that while I am going to complain that they (again) stuck Black Widow in the most expensive set, and that they didn’t let her drive the bike, and that they didn’t include more than one female character in any of these sets… they are still just miles past the awfulness of Hasbro. We can at least we can just swap around the figures here to make it right, an option we don’t get when Hasbro won’t even make a figure for their stuff. But just because they are slightly less bad doesn’t mean that it’s suddenly all perfect.
All fans deserve better than this, male and female. It shouldn’t be so hard to get all of the Avengers, all of the Scooby Gang, or one of the principle characters of the Star Wars movies as they’ve made it. The idea that boys only want to buy “boys toys” and girls only want to buy “girls toys” needs to die, especially since it’s an idea that basically exists because marketing deems it so.
It’s obvious LEGO sees something in it if you look at the City lineup this year, which included a female minifigure in every single one of the basic sets. For Hasbro, Sabine Wren got enough to merit her own 6″ Black Series figure (coming in second to Revan), and Angela was the winner for the Marvel vote. Every time a new “big” movie comes out, along with the merchandise wave, the same arguments come up and they get louder and louder every time. So maybe it’s time to get, I don’t know, better at it.
Okay… end soapbox (until something else annoys me).
We get five minifigures in the set, including the rather spoilery addition of Vision (unless, of course, you saw any of the Entertainment Weekly covers, the slightest amount of spoilers, or missed that he was listed in the credits) and the aforementioned Black Widow. Rounding out that mix is Ultimate Ultron, Iron Man and Captain America.
We get our seventeenth version of Ultron (or it might be four, I forget), the Ultimate version that he made for himself out of Vibranium and children’s tears. This one uses a trans orange head under the helmet to give more of a colored look, instead of using the transparent eyes that we saw in the Ant-Man set. It feels like it detracts from the figure, since one of the things that came across well with him as the villain were those crazy eyes.
This is the same version of the figure that came with the SDCC exclusive set this year, and the only one that comes with both helmet pieces. I think that the helmet printing is one of the aspects that I liked the least about this figure… it’s where it really feels like it falls apart compared to the final version of Ultron. Kind of a shame that his “Ultimate” form is the one that looks the least like the character.
It’s interesting how the printing seems to get less ornate as we skip between the different Ultrons. This one probably has the least utility of them for generic figures, but it’s still not awful. It’s just sort of boring, and the layered plates doesn’t seem to work as well. That helmet and neckpiece are interesting, and I’m curious to see how people will mix them with other components.
Vision is the one truly unique figure in the set, and an important addition to anyone that’s serious about building your Avengers like what we get in the comics or cartoons. Vision is one of the early members of the Avengers (Avengers #57), and he’s been at the center of pretty much all of their major conflicts (spoiler alert… him and Scarlet Witch getting together lead to some very bad things).
Unlike Ultron, I think this is a solid representation of the character. The one knock that I’d have for him is the distinct lack of the Mind Gem on his forehead, but it’s not shocking to be missing, since it’d be even more spoiler-y than including Vision in the set to begin with. His cape is that new spongy material, in a unique color, so there’s some real things to like here.
Iron Man is the same as he is in all of the other sets, save the $13 Iron Man vs. Ultron. Nothing really new to add here… just a shame to see him taking up a spot in the set that could have gone to some other characters, like Doctor Cho, who had a pretty pivotal role in bringing Vision to life (and was seen just prior to this scene in the movie).
This is the same Captain America that we get with the Hydra Fortress Smash set. Basically, a darker suit, different logo from the previous versions, the belts and straps on the back, and a new brighter color shield. The version in the Helicarrier is the best of the Captain America figures, but this one isn’t a bad version either. They also have seemed to finally get a handle on printing flesh colors over the dark blue head, which is nice.
Black Widow is the last of the minifigures, and something that showed up on Asajj Ventress in Anakin’s Custom Jedi Starfighter is also on display here… the printing on Black Widows torso is noticeably slimmer. The curvy minifigure printing is controversial enough (though typically it’s easy to ignore)… however, this just looks so bad that it’s hard to get past. It just looks so awfully out-of-proportion compared to the legs. The actual suit printing isn’t terrible, but the body outline on there trashes the whole look of the figure.
The alt-face is also kind of odd… hard to tell if that’s a smirk, a glare, or an angry face. I don’t recall her ever showing that much anger in the movie. Usually it was faux fear to lull someone off guard, or occasionally it was indifference and bad jokes. I know some people don’t like the hairdo in Avengers (and I’ll give them that it looked far better in Winter Soldier), but as a minifig part that’s pretty cool, and I’m always happy to see a different hair mold.
Course, when I put the old figure side-by-side with the new figure, I realize that the old one had the same “hippy” look to it. I think part of the reason it was easier to overlook is the lack of the blue outline that really emphasizes it on the new version. Regardless, it’s pretty clear that the new figure is an upgrade in almost every way. The face is finally unique (though this same figure appears in the Helicarrier set), the hair looks better, and the skin color matches a bit better.
The only part I like on the old figure, by comparison, are the smaller guns. Edit: turns out that the guns found their way onto this figure ages ago, likely when I first built the figure. The new guns still look too large compared to what we typically see her use.
I’ll admit that I saw the movie at a theater that serves beer (which is the best idea ever), but I seem to recall that Ultron was trying to make his getaway from the Avengers in a Semi trailer, not a small delivery van.
It was like a whole command center thing, and it was pretty big with a lot of special effects. Captain America jumped on their and got his butt kicked, requiring Black Widow to come and save him (again). They did include the little growth pod that Ultron was building his super-body in, where you can stash your vision figure if you want to destroy his cloak, so there is that.
In the Iron Man vs. Ultron review, I thought that the idea of including the Ultron figures as components in a set was interesting, but I would have liked to see them integrated here. It’s a real shame that they didn’t do more to tie the two sets together, making it possible to integrate the Ultron figures into the truck (or, better yet, maybe giving us a real semi to haul him around in). A real missed opportunity for some additional value in the set.
The weirdest part about this whole set is the addition of the flip-up platform to stick Ultron on. It’s something that makes pretty much no sense at all, and it doesn’t add anything to the set other than an awkward top that you’re going to want to seal down (assuming you even leave this thing together). It’s odd that this is such a small part, since it takes up about half the stickers in the set, and it seems like some work went into designing it. It didn’t really end up all that great, but it’s more than just a simple little buggy.
We get a black version of the speedbike, complete with stickers to make it all Avengers-y and a clip on the back that LEGO seems to think is for Captain America to put his shield. They’re wrong, it’s for Black Widow to prick up his shield, make a bad joke, and go ride to save the day, but the nice thing about LEGO is you don’t always have to go with what they say.
The Quinjet itself has a much more streamlined and sleek look… and I think that’s a real detriment to the set. The original struck a good balance between modern and menacing, and made it look like it was a vehicle designed for what SHIELD was designed for.
This thing, by contrast, seems more designed to sport paint jobs and Tony Stark’s questionable aesthetic sense. It’s gotten a whole lot wider and seems to sacrifice character for a more curvy build. Some of the best and most iconic ships in the Sci-Fi world come from unconventional looks and shapes… and this is basically conventional. Take away the Avengers logo and this becomes a jet from any number of boring and forgettable movies.
The play features tucked into the set are what really hurt it overall, though. There’s a section on the underside to sort of dangle a minifigure (and, to LEGO’s credit, they do show Black Widow as using it… on the back in one single panel). The top Avengers logo has a little plunger attached to knock the figure down, but in practice, it’s just awkward and it looks ugly with the rope hanging down.
There’s also a spot to snap the bike into place… but it doesn’t tuck all the way into the ship. It either pushes up the top cover or it hangs down below. It also makes holding the Quinjet, which is already incredibly awkward, more difficult, since you’re trying to use your hand to keep it in place.
It would have made vastly more sense to try and build it into the back, even though it didn’t work like that in the movie, but there’s simply not enough room. I do love the recurring joke of the fire extinguisher in a Marvel set, and some day hope to understand why LEGO keeps doing that… but that back section is too small to be useful for much.
The top above the cycle opens, and that’s where it pushes up if you have a minifigure strapped in (and I mean pushes it up a lot). The cockpit also opens, and features some nice stickers, but I would have loved to see more usable interior, since the inside of this craft is where the Avengers assembled (and we knew that it could at least hold a Hulk).
Ultimately, this set is an okay version of a poor revision to a very good ship and set. It sort of captures the movie look, but the play features built into it really detract from the set. I would have rather seen no truck (maybe just the pod) and a better Quinjet with more interior space, or less play features and a better truck. Instead, we get two vehicles that miss the mark by a lot, and only a couple of minifigures that give value to the set.
Vision is a fairly essential figure in the LEGO Super Heroes world, especially if you’re a fan of the Avengers comics (since it’s unlikely we’ll get a comic verison anytime soon). Black Widow is also a pretty big upgrade, and unlike the other figures, there has only been a couple of other chances to get her (one of which will set you back $350 dollars). Cap is the same as we get in an exclusive set, which I’ll review later, which has another exclusive figure to round out your Avengers, and Iron Man is the same. We get a better version of Ultron, but at this point, you’re probably mixing them together to make a good version of the figure… since this one is probably the weakest.
Throwing out my soapbox rant earlier in the score, which I promise doesn’t actually come into the score, this thing is probably at best a three out of five at best. If we gave partial scores, I’d put this at a 2.5, but I’ll round up because Vision. There are some good parts in here, but unlike the older Quinjet set, it’s not something you’d want to build and put your your shelf. I keep the old Quinjet next to my Helicarrier, and it looks like it belongs there. LEGO can do better on the characters included with the set, and they certainly should do better on what they give us with the sets.
What I liked
- Vision is a great looking minifig and an important character, and the look of Black Widow is greatly improved from the last set
- Some interesting parts and stickers included with the set, especially the Avengers logos and the windscreens
- Being a LEGO set means you can fix some of the deficiencies in how the set was put together to showcase the characters in the right spots
What I didn’t like
- Everything I ranted about in the first six paragraphs after the fold
- The play features on the Quinjet simply don’t work well (at best), or make the set difficult to hold or play with (at worst)
- The truck wasn’t needed, and those parts could have been used to make a better ship