Marvel Animation Age Presents


Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United
Studio: Marvel Animation Studios
Release Date: December 3rd, 2013

Synopsis: Marvel makes history again with one of the greatest heroic team ups in the universe. Hulk’s brute strength and Tony Stark’s high-tech intellect come together to create a powerful duo necessary to face off against one of the most dangerous enemies. When “Zzzax,” a seemingly invincible, energy devouring monster threatens to destroy the planet, these two Avengers are mankind’s only hope. Alone, neither can defeat the awesome power of Zzzax. As a team, they just might have a chance – if they can find a way to work together without smashing heads before time runs out! Packed with explosive action, loaded with bonus features and presented in groundbreaking Marvel CG Animation, Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United is a must-own movie event that will blow you away!

Main Voice Cast: Adrian Pasdar (Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man, Marvel’s Avengers Assemble) and Fred Tatasciore (Marvel’s Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H., Marvel’s Avengers Assemble)

Supervising Creative Director: Eric Radomski (TV’s Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man, Batman: The Animated Series)

Supervising Director: Leo Riley (TV’s Mad, The Rickey Gervais Show)

Writer: Henry Gilroy (TV’s Animatrix, Batman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond) and Brandon Auman (TV’s Iron Man: Armored Adventures, The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes)

Executive Producers: Alan Fine (Marvel’s The Avengers, Thor, Iron Man 2), Dan Buckley (TV’s Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man, Marvel’s Avengers Assemble, Marvel’s Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.) Joe Quesada (TV’s Marvel’s Avengers Assemble, Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man) and Jeph Loeb (TV’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)

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Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United Feature Review
By James Harvey

I'm honestly not sure where to start with for Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United. There's just so much fundamentally wrong with the project. Whether it's the lifeless voice acting, the terrible animation, or the obviously butchered script, it blows my mind that there is someone out there pleased with the final product. Save for a nice score, which itself seems to be a bit of a victim of the film's obviously low, low, low budget, there's little redeeming value to this film, regardless of the demographic.

Iron Man and Hulk team-up together for the first time in this new Marvel Animation direct-to-video release and the results are...pretty underwhelming. With The Avengers brand going strong, it's no surprise that Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment wants to take advantage as much as possible (note the "The Avengers Initiative" sticker on the Blu-ray cover), and as a result, we're getting plenty of animated fare to support the brand. Now, we know a good chunk of this will be quality product, and some of it...not so much. Well, Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United falls into the "not so good" category. And, honestly, I'm pretty sure it can't get much worse than this.

There's not really a lot of this film that makes sense. Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United jumps around from plot point to plot point, a series of action beats strung together by the thinnest of plots, the clunkiest of dialogue, and most laughable of conflicts between heroes. The amount of fisticuffs here is overbearing. The script itself looks like it was put through a shredder, with only the barest plot points left of what seemed like a genuinely cool idea for a story. And all of this is animated with bottom-basement CG animation. The character animation is perplexing, the mouth-animation is frightfully 1990s quality, and the interaction with the environment is slapdash. Seriously - watch Iron Man and Hulk talk, and pay attention the mouth-movements. It's looks so mechanical and somewhat bizarre.

The inconsistent story is pretty tired, filled with jokes that were considered cliched ten years ago and developments that feel utterly fake. The pace is scattershot, jumping from location to location with no real rhythm, yet somehow also overstaying its welcome scene to scene. First we're at Tony's very S.H.IE.L.D-esque flying base, jump to Hulk fighting the Abomination, then the heroes fighting each other and non-descript baddies, then landing in some random cemetary filled with Wendigo dogs in the middle of nowhere, and back to some secret base fighting Zzazz, and so forth. All the while, Tony is acting like a smug jerk and Hulk is incredibly, painfully dumb. Neither leads are likeable in the slightest. Hulk goes on and on about how he just wants to eat something while Tony jokes around with J.A.R.V.I.S., acting like an complete dink the entire time. In fact, be it hero or villain, no one seems to act in character. There is nothing to like here. Even the bad guys of the piece are given nothing in terms of character or plausible motivation. The whole thing feels so flat and prefabricated. And, this is no joke, about 80% of the film is made up of fights. Everyone fights. Usually for no reason.

What kills me about this movie is how much I want to like it. I love the Marvel Universe. Yes, I'm more of a DC Comics fan, but you have to give credit to the amazing world Marvel has created. The wealth of villains and characters they have is unparalleled. And in just this movie alone, in a short 70 minute runtime, we actually get a hefty serving of the Marvel Universe. But ... nothing works here. Even something cool - like seeing Hulk in his own Iron Man armor - gets muddled up and eventually played off for non-existent laughs.

A lot has been said about the current generation of Marvel animation projects, starting with Ultimate Spider-Man, and moving forward. A lot of it has been negative and, frankly, this will only add to that. This film is a near-complete misfire. I honestly can not see how even younger children - which this is clearly aimed at - could enjoy this. I honestly feel bad writing this review. I know a fair amount of people put a lot of work into this animated movie, and I'm certain more than a few are disappointed with the final product. I understand this film was aimed at kids of a very young age, but there's no way the creative team behind Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United could think so little about the intended audience. This movie just ends up being so difficult to sit through.

But hey, for the kids who watch it, maybe they'll take to heart some of the bizarre preachy messages that are poorly sandwiched into the movie. Iron Man likes to remind us, on many occasions and during some heavy fisticuffs, about how and what we can do to save the environment. Yup, that's in there, too.

However, I have to say the opening credits for the film look pretty sharp. The Jack Kirby-inspired artwork that floats across the screen as the cast and crew is name looks really great. Fantastic artwork coupled with a good score. In fact, the score work for Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United is pretty good, though it often gets buried under the action. So...the film has those two things going for it, I guess.

As much as this pains me to say, given how much I enjoy the Marvel Universe, you can Skip Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United. I wouldn't even search it out a few years down the road in a five-dollar bin. Don't waste your money or your time. The 71-minutes feels double that, and the overall final quality is just a trainwreck. Even though there are a couple of redeeming factors, that can't save this unmitigated disaster. If Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United is the start of a new home video series from Marvel Animation Studios, then things honestly do not look well for the animated future of our favorite Marvel heroes. You're honestly better off revisiting one of the older Marvel cartoons or direct-to-video features. Do yourself a favor and avoid Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United at all costs. There's no enjoyment to be found here, folks.

And that after-credits sequence, that hints at a sequel? That feels more like a threat than a promise.

Click here to read the review for the Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United Blu-ray Release!

Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United and related characters and indicia are property of Marvel Entertainment, LLC, 2001 - 2014.
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