Hey gang, Valkor here. Remember when it was Marvel vs. DC as they battled it out on the animation front? Well DC has taken that lead, all but dominating that area and their last direct to vid, Justice League: the Flashpoint Paradox, is probably one of the best animated films out there. And while DC has been rockin out with their animated cocks out, Marvel has been lying low, which is surprising because their last film that I watched, Planet Hulk, was pretty bad ass. Well Marvel is back with an all-new animated feature, with big green in tow - And he's not alone. Check it out, it's "Iron Man and Hulk: Heroes United" Blu-Ray Combo Pack.
In Heroes United, The Hulk (Fred Tatasciore) and Iron Man (Adrian Pasdar – Run) team up to tackle a new threat; one created by two Hydra doctors while trying to contain the Hulk and the Abomination, then attempting to use their gamma energy to fuel their arc reactor. The energy creature, called Zzzax (Dee Bradley Baker) has the ability to control other machines and absorb energy. Thankfully the heroic duo is able to handle the creature initially. But unbeknownst to Stark, while on his way back to his craft, Zzzax stows away in his armor and eventually takes over parts of Stark's ship, his mandroids and Starks "third favorite suit" – the Mark II armor. Its goal is to get into the ship's arc reactor, where it succeeds and evolves. From there it reestablishes a link between the destroyed Hydra arc reactor, which it rebuilds, then using it and the ship to consume earth's energy. Can the mighty duo stop Zzzax before he sucks the earth dry?
Victory shall be theirs and the ending (post credits) sets up the possibility for another team up film. This new animated feature, which I'm guessing is something of a side story from the latest Avengers series – Marvel's Avengers Assemble, steps away from the traditional hand-drawn animation, in favor of a cel-shaded CG look. Will this be the start of a new animated universe for Marvel?
I certainly hope so! Iron Man and Hulk: Heroes United is everything I could ever want in an animated feature – a simple story, sweet animation, and loads of destruction all within one entertaining package. It doesn't have a strong, more mature plot like DC's latest films, but the plot is by the numbers, bad guy wants to take over/destroy the world and the heroes step in to save the day type tale, it's totally easy to follow, and loaded with tons of action and humor that it never gets dull. The animation will be the selling point for this new series and thankfully it works; it's fluid, though stiff in certain areas. And I love that cel-shaded look, which gives it something of a hand-drawn appearance with greater attention to detail. Image quality is sharp, clear and the characters are rendered to match their comic book/2D animated counterparts to perfection. And while you'll come for the animation and story, you'll stay to see Hulk smash – and oh boy does he smash! Nothing is spared from his deadly fists – The Abomination, robots, Wendigo creatures, Stark's Ship and… well Stark (who gets beaten up... alot!). I could watch Hulk smash for days. Plus he's given full voice, so he has a lot to say while he's tearing stuff up! Heroes United is looking to be the start of something special and I cannot wait to see what Marvel has in store for this new franchise.
Just a couple of minor gripes, I mentioned above that animation is stiff in certain areas, and it's easily visible in the much larger characters like the Hulk and the Abomination, especially in the mouth area when the camera is close in on their faces. But I think most will be too captivated by all the action to care about such minor detail. And while I enjoyed the jokes, they could have held back at bit on some.
Iron Man and Hulk: Heroes United hits the shelves on DVD and Blu-Ray Combo Pack on December 3rd, just in time for the holidays. Marvel's latest outing hits the spot satisfying the need for wonton destruction and fun, bringing together a couple of earth's mightiest for one joyous ride. And out of TOV 5 stars, I'm giving this round of Heroes United a 4, with the hopes that Marvel will continue this new universe with some awesome team ups. Spider-Man/Wolverine anyone?