HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Iron Man and Hulk: Heroes United
HTS Overall Score:67
With the success of DC Comic’s straight to video animated movies, Marvel has to get in on the action. While the Marvel titles released by Lionsgate studios (New Avengers, Hulk Vs. etc) weren’t as fantastic as the DC comic’s titles such as “Justice League: Flashpoint” “the Dark Knight Returns” etc, they were always great little animated films that reminded me of my Saturday morning cartoons phase as a child. However with Disney taking over the reins the last several titles have fallen rather flat. With cheap animation and even cheaper voice acting, the titles have been hampered by lack of effort and budget. While the first two Marvel/Disney outings were geared towards teens and adults, “Iron Man and Hulk: Heroes United” is strictly aimed at the single digit aged crowd and it shows. I could have been more forgiving had they put some more effort into the animation and some better voice acting.
It seems that HYDRA, everyone’s favorite proto Nazi enemies, are back at it again. This time they’ve tricked Hulk and Abomination into becoming unwilling power sources for an ARC reactor they’re working one. The two power crazed scientist unwittingly create a giant ball of energy with sentience and summarily see their invention destroyed by said naughty monster. This energy ball, who decides to call himself Zzzax, takes over the HYDRA facility and foists itself onto Tony Stark/Iron Man who comes to investigate the high concentration of Gamma energy. As with all these mash-ups, Iron Man runs into a disgruntled Hulk and have to battle it out until they realize that the enemy isn’t each other. Zzzax decides to take over Tony’s flying fortress and use it as a vehicle to start harvesting the world’s energy. Now this doesn’t sit well with our two heroes who now have to find a way to defeat the monster using Tony’s tech, and The Hulk’s brawn in a team effort.
I really wanted to like this movie, I mean, it has Abomination, an electricity monster, HYDRA, some Wendigo and the Hulk wanting to smash everything that moves. I was expecting some serious whompage and the movie delivered that in spades. The problem was ….well, the problem was that you can have all the cool characters in the world and if you don’t create a cohesive plot it all means a hill of beans. There was destruction EVERYWHERE! I mean EVERYWHERE at that. The film was a 1 hour 12 minutes and probably 55minutes of it was a constant battle. What really drew the film down was the overly kiddy , buddy buddy dialogue, with cringe inducing one lines instead of many of the great one liners that have been used throughout the comics over the years. It’s extremely formulaic and pretty much 8 year old humor at that.
Now my second issue was with the animation (not the transfer mind you). The animation style (as you can tell from the screen caps in this review) is extremely cheaply done and looks like someone did it overnight with some 3D rendering program and looks very amateurish. The detail is poor, the characters move rather jerkily, as if they didn’t want to render enough frames to smooth out the motion issues. The colors range from bright primary colors to weirdly shaded pastels that look like they weren’t blended too well and gives a chintzy look to the characters.
Rated PG for sci-fi action violence and brief mild language
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=13921[/img]Now I’ve complained about the video a bit in the paragraph above, and while I didn’t like the animation style and effort, it’s still just a stylistic choice and the only thing that really bleeds into the transfer score is the poor detail created by the cheap CGI. The rest is really well done. The colors are bright and rich with some exceptional shading techniques. The scenes with Zzzzax and his electricity bolts are flawless and stand out as some of the best scenes in the film. With a nice 1.78:1 aspect ratio you certainly get an encompassing picture. No digital artifacts were present and I noticed only the SMALLEST hint of banding on the disc, which is only really noticeable if you’re REALLY looking for it.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=13922[/img]Now the audio was an interesting mixed bag. I really can’t call it a true 5.1 track. The surrounds were used VERY minimally and carried almost zero ambience with them. I’d really call it a 3.1 track due to the lacking surrounds. Now the 4 channels that DID come through, were fantastic. The dialogue is locked firmly in the center and the dynamic range was excellent. 99% of the ambient noises were all locked into the 2 mains and had some decent panning. Now the LFE is really where this disc shines, with the first few crunches of Hulk’s feet I knew we were in for a pant flapper. The entire movie just ripples with explosive LFE from beginning to end. I swear I didn’t see the signal lights on my subs amplifier stop flicker from the moment I turned the movie on. For a 5.1 track it was kind of mediocre, but for a 3.1 track it stomped quite nicely.
• Marvel Mash-Ups
• Marvel Team-Up with Ryan Penagos and Joe Quesada
I really wanted to like this flick, I really did, I’m a huge comic book nerd and LOOOOOOOOOOOVED the DC Comics films that have come out so far and even the Lionsgate Marvel films were a lot of fun, but the last couple of outings for Disney/Marvel have been really week in the animated universe just like the first two, Disney is 0 for 3. If you have young children that you’d like to introduce to the Marvel universe without giving them access to a PG-13 movie, than this is the movie for you, but if you’re looking for stuff that the parents can enjoy as well as the kiddies then I’d give a definite pass.
Starring: Adrian Pasdar, Fred Tatasciore, Dee Bradley Baker
Directed by: Leo Riley, Eric Radomski
Written by: Brandon Auman, Henry Gilroy
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, French, Spanish DD 5.1
Studio: Disney/Buena Vista
Runtime: 72 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: Dec 3rd, 2013
Buy Iron Man and Hulk: Heroes United Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Rental at Best
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