Character Cage Match: The Avengers vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
12.05.12 by Ryan
Upon hearing the news that the comic book heroes-turned-Saturday morning cartoon sensation-turned movie franchise Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were going to come "from an alien race" in the upcoming Ninja Turtles reboot fans weren't pleased — the popular notion is that the former household pets were transformed by a green ooze. However, Ninja Turtles co-creator Kevin Eastman has remained steadfastly in favor of the project, urging fans "not to worry" and claiming that the reboot will be true to the "core concept", and "will be a great TMNT film."
"If we learned nothing else from one of my favorite comic book based films, The Avengers, that there's a lot to be said about never forgetting that core concept and core fan-base."
Much has been made online about Eastman comparing Ninja Turtles to The Avengers, which led us to think: "What would happen if the two teams fought each other?" Well, now the time has come inside the imagined cyber octagon that is our Character Cage Match!
Match #1: Leonardo vs. Captain America (Chris Evans)
Leonardo Analysis: The leader of the Turtles, Leo is the oldest and the calmest of the group and is overly dedicated to his training. It's Leo's sense of honor that pits him as the perfect foil for Captain America, while his Katana swords and his skill as a ninja would serve him well during the battle. It's Leo's perfectionism and his sense of responsibility for those around him that could get the best of him should some of his comrades fall around him.
Captain America Analysis: Considering Cap's World War II origins, the super-soldier likely has a tactical advantage due to his work on the (literal) field of battle. There's nothing about the super-soldier serum that gave him a working knowledge of the martial arts, which, at least according to Cap's cinematic history, would be a first. Still, Cap's shield can weather the blow of any weapon, and is also pretty handy in disarming an opponent as well.
Match #2: Donatello vs. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.)
Donatello Analysis: If there's a match of wits to be had between the Avengers and the Turtles, it would have to come down to Donatello and Tony Stark, aka Iron Man. The only Ninja Turtle with a working knowledge of science (or even, it would seem, a working interest), Donatello's knowledge of machinery and technology often makes him the target of derision from his brethren, but would likely only intrigue Stark. When not trying to find the most peaceful way to solve a situation, Donatello uses a bo staff to fell his opponents.
Iron Man Analysis: Continually tinkering and modifying his armor, there's no telling what Iron Man can accomplish with his unique weapons technology. Though Stark is admittedly a narcissist, he is also often taken with fellow geniuses, quickly building a friendship with Dr. Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) in The Avengers. While Iron Man will most certainly have more weapons at his disposal than Donatello, the greatest weapon the turtle may have is his ability to "brain up" against Stark, making physical or mechanized battle moot as the two use logic to reach a resolution between them.
Match #3: Raphael vs. The Hulk
Raphael Analysis: Every group fight has a "wildcard" round, and this one is it. As unpredictably angry and aggressive as the Hulk can be, so too is Raphael, the biggest "loose cannon" amongst the Turtles. Ever the contentious rebel, Raphael often jumps into situations without thinking, a quality that would match the Hulk's "smash" mentality. Raphael is also the most physically powerful member of the group, though it's doubtful his strength is on par with the Hulk, which is where his twin sai will come in handy. Raphael is also a Master of stealth, which, while it could be life-saving, might also only antagonize the Hulk even more, and, you know what they say about making the Hulk angry...
The Hulk Analysis: Part genius and part mindless beast, Banner has found greater control over his alter ego of late, despite admitting that he is "always angry." Once angry enough to be in full "Hulk" mode, he is capable of beating up everything from giant alien creatures to Norse gods, so Raphael will have to find a way to calm the Hulk down if he has any chance at besting him in a physical battle. For example, one might look to the Wolverine's record against the Hulk in the Marvel comic books to see what chance Raphael's bezerker rage has against the big green guy.
Match #4: Michelangelo vs. Thor (Chris Hemsworth)
Michelangelo Analysis: For those that only know the Turtles as a pizza-loving, "Cowabunga"-spewing, skateboard-riding bunch, that reputation is due to Michelangelo, or Mikey as he's called by his brothers. Still, that "party guy" reputation could do well against Thor, who is the closest thing to a "surfer dude" as the Avengers have to offer and the thunder god could find Mikey's antics distractingly hilarious. If that doesn't work, then Mikey's dual nunchaku might come in handy as well.
Thor Analysis: It's tough to find a suitable match-up for a god of thunder, but let's not forget that the Norseman is still an outsider on Earth, often laughing at the "petty" issues of humans. It's possible that Thor won't take a large, mutated turtle too seriously, which could work to Michelangelo's advantage. It will probably be easy for the Ninja Turtle to jump out of the way of a few thunderbolts, however, if Michelangelo isn't able to take advantage of Thor's haughty arrogance, all the nunchaku in the world won't be a threat against Mjolnir, Thor's hammer.
Match #5: Casey Jones and April O'Neil vs. Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson)
Casey Jones and April O'Neil Analysis: What would a Turtles battle be without their human companions: computer programmer/lab assistant/antiques shop owner (in the comics) or news reporter (in the live-action movies) April O'Neil and masked vigilante or former hockey player (in the live-action movies) Casey Jones, who wears a hockey mask like cinematic serial killer Jason, and, in a note of trivia, was voiced by Evans in 2007's TMNT. Who better to fight the non-super-powered Avengers than Jones and O'Neil, who, like the Hawkeye/Black Widow tandem are often depicted as love interests? That similarity will do little for them in a fight, however, especially one where O'Neil will likely be a disadvantage. While O'Neil eventually received training from Turtles sensei/father figure Splinter in the comic books and TMNT, the cartoon series and movie trilogy instead depicted April as the typical damsel-in-distress, with O'Neil more important as the provider of an apartment for the Turtles to live in. Typically armed with a variety of sporting goods, Jones saw plenty of fights in all Turtles adaptations, though his "Goongala" battle cry may be only a desperate cry for help if he has to go toe-to-toe with both Hawkeye and Black Widow by himself.
Black Widow and Hawkeye Analysis: By now, movie audiences are more than familiar with super spy Natasha Romanov and skilled archer Clint Barton, both agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and, in the comics at least, mutual love interests (occasionally). Jones will have to use his stealth skills to get Hawkeye and to expend his quiver of arrows and Black Widow her endless supply of bullets, though both are trained hand-to-hand combatants and not by looking at martial arts manuals (like Jones). Despite the lack of super-powers by all involved, this could (arguably) be the most out-matched fight of them all.