Episode #27 - The Invincible Iron Man, Part One: Disassembled
Original Airdate - July 13th, 2011
When Mr. Fixís shadowy boss orders the abduction Justin Hammer and then Obadiah Stane, Tony Stark armors up for the first time in months. Will an upgraded Whiplash make it his last?
Episode #28 - The Invincible Iron Man, Part One: Reborn!
Original Airdate - July 20th, 2011
With his fatherís company on the line, an injured Tony must suit up in his new Mark 2 Iron Man armor and join War Machine to defeat Blizzard, Whiplash, Mr. Fix, and their mysterious boss!
Written By Brandon Auman (Part One, Part Two)
Directed By Stephane Juffe and Phillipe Guyenne (Part One, Part Two)
Review by Arsenal
Iron Man: Armored Adventures was a flawed show when it premiered.
Its animation was clunky; its plotting, half baked. Its scripts often needed one more thorough rewrite. Its main characters were almost unrecognizable when compared to their classic, comic iterations.
The humor didnít land. The action didnít thrill. The romances didnít blossom.
In general, the show didnít entertain.
But it improved gradually throughout its first season. The creators rightfully focused on improving the trio of Tony Stark, Pepper Potts and James Rhodes. The writers and voice actors figured out how to make these characters (and, perhaps, more importantly, their chemistry) work.
Consequently, the Stark-Rhodey-Pepper triumvirate became the best part of the series, fueling the good episodes (and even a couple of great ones) and salvaging the bad ones.
Iron Man: Armored Adventures wasnít a flawless show by the end of the first season. (No, it still served up some groaner moments in its season finale.) But it had some strengths to counteract its clunky animation and half-baked plotting.
A second season offers the creators a chance to capitalize on its strengths and rehabilitate its weaknesses. (Think about the leap in quality that Justice League or X-Men: Evolution made between their first and second seasons.) So, the question is, is Iron Man new and improved or still a bit of a mess?
Sadly, itís more of the latter.
The writing is still inexcusably bad at some points. (A villain actually tells Tony his ďdestruction is imminent.Ē And thatís not even the worst line. In one scene, a doctor announces to Pepper and Rhodey that Tony Stark is dead. Then, he adds, ďJust kidding.Ē What doctor would do that?)
The animation is still more often a hindrance than an asset. One would think computer animation never improved after Reboot. (An example: Pepper complains to Tony at one point that his new stubble looks bad and he needs to shave. The problem? Tony clearly has no stubble on his face. Would it have been that difficult to add facial hair to the character model?)
The plotting is still undercooked. This 2-parter consists of Justin Hammer, a weapons dealer and Stark Internationalís primary competition, using upgraded Iron Man villains (Blizzard, Mr. Fix & Whiplash) to kidnap Obadiah Stane.
Hammerís motivation is clear. He wants to buy out Stark International. However, itís not clear at all how kidnapping Stane will help him accomplish that.
Just because you kidnap a businessís CEO doesnít mean its Board will let you buy it out.
Moreover, the writers still struggle with building suspense, so they use cheap fakeout tricks like having Tony inexplicably escape and survive his exploding armor without the villains noticing. (Also, you know, the doctor saying Tony died for no reason.)
The good news is that this show hasnít forgotten its strengths either. Tony, Rhodey and Pepper each get good character moments and their chemistry is as strong as it was by the end of last season.
(This episode also teases Pepper getting her own armor and I want to see that yesterday.)
Additionally, the show is taking steps to improve its roguesí gallery. Mr. Fix and Whiplash both come off as credible threats and Hammer Ė the new Big Bad Ė has potential.
So where does that leave us?
With a flawed show, the same place where we began. The difference is sometimes an episodeís strengths can overcome its flaws.
Unfortunately, this episode did not.
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