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Sunday, December 1, 2013

Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United (2013) Direct-to-video CGI animation movie


Overall verdict: 4/10

The Good: Impressive character designs, art style mimics, great hulk voice acting

The Bad: lame humour, extremely dated animation, questionable casting choice for Iron Man, muddled plot, goofy dialogue

3D Readiness: none
IMax-ability: none

******************************Review*****************************
Hulk and Iron Man. Face it, here are the two fan favorite characters from the Marvel cinematic universe. It is no doubt that Marvel would see fit to milk these cash cows dry.Their answer: animation. Successful as Marvel's live action film projects have been, their animation projects left much to be desired. A downward spiral in quality which left off with the dismal "Thor: Tales of Asgard" led to a stint in visually impressive but narratively flat japanese anime. Now, Marvel is dabbling in feature length CGI animation. The result? This.

Seemingly a very loose adaptation of the iOS game "Avengers Initiative", IRON MAN & HULK: HEROES UNITED sees our two titular heroes first at loggerheads then teaming up to save the world. Two H.Y.D.R.A scientists have combined Iron Man's arc reactor technology with the Hulk's gamma energy and unleased an electrical energy creature called Zzzaxx. Standing in our heroes' way is a graveyard full of Wendigo monsters, a legion of robots and a goofy russian accented Abomination.

 A little background in the original game for starters. The game is a ripoff of "Infinity Blade" with a thin excuse for a story to tie one finger swiping fight to the next. This movie replaces that so called "story" with another that is just as thin and muddled. The original story was purely a Hulk adventure, with Iron Man only turning up at the end. The change feels forced and unecessary, as if Marvel mandated that Iron Man be the main protagonist instead of the Hulk just because of his misplaced popularity. At least the character designs had been successfully ported over from the game, and they look awesome.

The artwork successfully combines powerful designs with a cel shaded look that replicates modern digital colouring used in the comics. Unfortunately, visuals aside, the animation itself seems dated. The way the characters move, their facial expressions, they all feel stiff; like something made for TV from more than 10 years ago. Such lapse in quality, in this day and age of shows like Transformers Prime, is unforgivable.

The writing is no better than in TV programmes for ten year olds. Lame humour abounds (that running joke of the Hulk being hungry gets real old real fast), silly lines and childish dialogue. All of this set to mediocre acting and an Iron Man who sounds like some twenty year old fresh from university, not some veteran superhero millionaire.

With each new height set by Marvel's live action movies, there is a new low set by their animation productions. IRON MAN & HULK: HEROES UNITED is the lowest as of 2013. Either it was done on a shoestring budget or nobody involved put one bit of effort into it. The whole thing is merely riding on the brand name of Iron Man and Hulk, out to cheat money from uninformed fans.

The scariest part? Marvel seemed to darn confident that this thing would turn a big profit that they put in enough clues for a sequel.

*****************************Review End***************************

Entertainment: C
Story: C
Characters: C
Animation: C-
Art: A-
Music: C-
Voice work: C+
Replay Value: C
"Brains": D-

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