Avengers Grimm ★½

Though clearly styled as a mockbuster riff on the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron, Avengers Grimm relates to Marvel pretty much in name alone, perhaps on the advice of The Asylum’s lawyers. Instead, the movie’s focal characters are all drawn from Grimms’ Fairy Tales – which have been in the public domain for more than a century – and true to what fans of the schlock label have come to expect, this is pure, unadulterated nonsense.

After Rumpelstiltskin (Asylum regular Casper Van Dien) escapes from the magical realm to our world, four princesses who are also transported with him – Cinderella (Milynn Sarley), Sleeping Beauty (Marah Fairclough), Snow White (Lauren Parkinson), and Rapunzel (Rileah Vanderbilt) – must track down Red Riding Hood (Elizabeth Peterson) and use a broken shard of the Magic Mirror to save the world from Rumpel’s reign.

Indeed, with a plot more similar to the 1993 Arnold Schwarzenegger-starring cult classic Last Action Hero than The Avengers, this is a peculiar proposition for even the more studied apostles of The Asylum. Though the idea of these iconic characters clearing out dive bars and taking on SWAT teams is actually pretty hilarious, the tone for the most part smacks of a dodgy mid-90s adventure serial, boasting a healthy amount of action, though almost all of it is shot through with thorough anonymity.

Making the pic slightly less snoozy than many other Asylum outings is the gorgeous quintet of actresses at the forefront; they don’t just look great, but they’re also better actors than you might expect (accepting the material’s absolute tawdriness as a given). Also, The Incredible Hulk himself, Lou Ferrigno, provides some perverse laughs as the villainous Iron John, who is transformed into a silver-painted, literal iron man in the pic’s second half, bearing an outrageous resemblance to Schwarzenegger’s rendition of Mr. Freeze in the risible Batman and Robin.

Following a weak sauce, city-wide final battle – moving The Avengers’ Battle of New York to Los Angeles – and a thigh-slappingly redundant cliffhanger, Avengers Grimm trundles to a halt. Though easy on the eyes – more so because of the appealing actresses rather than the bland cinematography and risible effects – you’ll need a strong affinity for self-aware garbage to follow this grim (sorry) prospect all the way to the finish.