Iron Man: Rise of Technovore
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Release Date: April 16th, 2013
Run Time: 88 minutes
Director: Hiroshi Hamasaki
Screenplay: Kengo Kaji
Writer: Brandon Auman
Animation by: Madhouse Inc.

Voice Cast:
Iron Man - Matthew Mercer
Black Widow - Clare Grant
Punisher - Norman Reedus
War Machine - James Mathis III
Technovore - Eric Bauza
Maria Hill - Kari Wahlgren
Hawkeye - Troy Baker
Sasha Hammer - Tara PLatt
Nick Fury - John Bentley

Synopsis: When a young terrorist named Ezekiel Stane attacks Starks Industries with a lethal biotechnology that threatens to destroy the world, it is up to IRON MAN to hunt down Stane and his bio-enhanced monsters known as Technovores. This new chapter in the Iron Man franchise also brings together favorite characters WAR MACHINE, Colonel NICK FURY, BLACK WIDOW, HAWKEYE, and THE PUNISHER. Iron Man: Rise of Technovore is an exciting, action-packed adventure that takes the story of Tony Starks to new heights never seen before.

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Iron Man: Rise of Technovore General Review
by David Medinnus

In 2011, there was a Japanese animation series of twelve Iron Man episodes, where TGony Stark goes to Japan. This isn't that.

In all honesty, when I saw the writing credit I got excited for this release. Brandon Auman is not a name well-known to the general public, but his work is well-known to me - he is the writer of some of the best The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes episodes (including the Iron Man origin episode "Iron Man Is Born"), as well as Iron Man: Armored Adventures). His work has already proven to me that this is a writer who can write the heck out an an Iron Man story.

The opening sequence starts with ants. For a second, I thought I'd gotten a Pym movie and not Iron Man, but Iron Man and War Machine soon appeared.

There are some DVD production problems unrelated to the feature. Sony loaded down the opening with a ton of trailers for other movies, so much so that the beginning became an adventure in chapter skipping. My menu button would flash to the menu, but immediately do onto the feature, requiring that if I wanted to go back to the menu, I had to reload and then chapter skip to the menu.

The character designs were mostly dead-on, although clearly done in the style of anime. Within the bounds of that, the designs were very well done. The Black Widow and Pepper Potts have never looked better, and the style clearly played to the strengths of the genre, with the Iron Man armors, the Mandroids, and others looking very nice indeed (even if the Mandroid armor here looks nothing like the MU 616 armor). The Punisher wears body armor - nice touch (I sure would, in his business).

The animation is smooth and sexy, the combat scenes bristling with energy and action, and in general I can find no fault with it - it met every expectation I had, and my expectation from Madhouse was pretty high, based on the Wolverine, Iron Man, Blade, and X-Men The voice acting was... "adequate" seems such an inadequate word, but I couldn't find fault with it, really - although I confess I prefer Eric Loomis. The voice acting pacing was very anime- centric; a little slow for my personal taste, but right in line with anime convention.

The storyline was well done, even if there was a few too many slow exposition scenes. Again, no surprise - this is Iron Man done Japanese style, and their pacing is often too slow for my gaijin action-movie-trained sensibilities. Technovore, with his polymorphic tentacles and asymmetric form, was an inspired choice as villain, playing to anime style strengths.

There are a bunch of subtitles persistant from the Japanese language version, and they are not the same as the English language dubbing. On the one hand, seeing the contrast was interesting and occasionally amusing, but on the other hand it could be quite tedious for those who don't like subtitles.

* I spy, with my little eye, a civilian wearing a Fantastic Four logo t-shirt.
* The Raiders armor is very different from their comic appearances.
* I don't get why War Machine and Iron Man repeatedly remove their face-plates in a hostile environment. You'd think they'd know better.
* Why didn't Iron Man download to SHIELD the data on the new threat his armor recorded. He was hardly, as Fury put it, the "only eye witness"; his sensor array was trying to do analysis.
* I hardly think that Nick Fury and SHIELD would authorize deadly force against Iron Man when they want him as a witness.
* The Punisher was an interesting choice as a character within an Iron Man story. The character itself was very reminiscent of other "tough guy with a gun" anime series like City Hunter, Riding Bean, Sanctuary or Gunsmith Cats.
* How does the hellicarrier hide when it violates another country's airspace and NOT be detected?
* I always get a kick out of watching Hawkeye fight Iron Man, as when Hawkeye was first created he was an Iron Man villan fighting at the behest of the Black Widow.
* Hawkeye's expanding canister arrows were a nice design touch.
* Some of the terrorist contacts of the A.I.M. salesman included:
--- Zodiac
--- Chthon
--- Omnisapient Systems
--- Power Broker (Inc)
--- Prject Pegasus
--- National Force
--- Dragon Circle
--- Children of Eternity
--- Inquisition
--- Ezekiel Stane

Iron Man: Rise of Technovore is a very good feature. In many ways, Iron Man as a property fits very well with Japanese animation styles and conventions; they do so love their battlesuit dramas. Its well-written, well-drawn, and well-acted. If anything, its drawbacks are that it fits TOO well into the same old anime tropes; we have battlesuits, we have an androgynous villain, we have tentacles, we have revenge drama, we have a bunch of strung-along events that make no sense (SHIELD using deadly force against Iron Man, wasting the Black Widow and Hawkeye's time in trying to take Iron Man down when they're both on the same side - it made zero sense), but make for good action scenes. Its like a Die Hard movie with Iron Man starring - just enjoy the ride and don't try too hard to have it make sense.

Continue to the Iron Man: Rise of Technovore Feature Review

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