Monday, September 29, 2014

Review: Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United

As boring as this "movie" was, I still have a few things to say about it. A few of them will probably surprise you.

First, the thing every-dang-body's criticizing.

The Animation
Yeah, it's terrible. But it's not all bad.

I talked in the Recap about how the animators invented "2-D Wrap" to put actual traditional 2-D animation on 3-D models. The result looks amazing… in a way. There are things that 2-D Wrap does well, and some things that 2-D Wrap makes look like 3-D Crap.  

  • The environments are textured really well. The subtleties of the 2-D painting really get a chance to shine in the backgrounds and atmosphere.
  • Robots, machinery, and other mechanical things are rendered with such presence and weight through the 3-D design.
  • Faces. Especially Tony Stark’s smooth, nigh-featureless, Uncanny Valley face.   
  • Realistic movement. While anything mechanical in this movie (robots, machinery, Iron Man, etc.) are all rendered well, the movement of the characters is off. Now, this is not a problem with the 2-D Wrap that paints the 3-D models, but the models themselves. Hulk and Abomination move like they’re weightless, and the actual characters’ motions are just… off. At the same time, they’re too jerky but also too fluid. I really wish I did video reviews so I could just show you, but go look on YouTube or whatever for a trailer for this movie, and you’ll see exactly what I mean.
Basically, the use of 2-D Wrap in this movie is trying to polish a turd. No matter how good your polish is, you’re still left with a piece of crap.

All I wanted was for it to look better than a video game from 2005. Was that too much to ask?
As an animation fan, It's really disappointing. When Disney was making Tangled, they wanted to make the movie look like a 3-D watercolor. They did their best, but ultimately couldn't do it to the extent they originally wanted. If Disney had access to 2-D Wrap and given it to their feature film animators, we might have had something completely unique and even more beautiful. Instead, 2-D Wrap debuts in a sub-sub-sub-par straight-to-DVD cheap-o barely-a-movie.

What a shame.

This movie is listed as a spin-off of The Avengers.  

Hah, no. Not at all. 

I mean, where do I begin? The fact that Red Skull isn’t floating in space? A non-covert HYDRA with enough of an active presence that Tony Stark isn’t fazed by their appearance? The absence of Bruce Banner? Speaking of which, I read that Jeph Loeb has enacted an official No-Bruce Banner policy. Apparently, he thinks kids find him “boring,” even though his friendship with Tony Stark was one of the highlights of The Avengers. I don’t know if this policy is true or not, but it would explain why Bruce Banner has only made one appearance in the Marvel Animated Universe, and that was in an alternate reality, to boot. 

Speaking of the Hulk, what’s with all the Hulk villains? Zzzaxx is a Hulk villain. Abomination is a Hulk villain. Wendigoes are Hulk villains. HYDRA isn’t a Hulk thing, but it’s a Captain America thing. Why no Iron Man villains? Why not have Justin Hammer be part of Zzzaxx’s creation? Just give some reason for Tony to be there, besides just happening to detect something weird and investigating. Which reminds me.... 

So how come Zzzaxx is always the go-to obscure Hulk villain? Avengers Assemble, Ultimate Spider-Man, he even got a reference in the 2003 Hulk film. Why not Xemnu? The U-Foes? Why can’t Bi-Beast get some love? … There’s a joke in there, and I’m not going to make it.

As it is, Zzzaxx was an utterly terrible villain. “MORE POWER!” “MORE POWER!” Shut up, Zzzaxx. Having said that, I really like Fump and Cruler. Their close friendship was both endearing and creepy at the same time. A little more presence in the movie, and they might have been able to elevate this thing into being watchable.

Iron Man and Hulk are flat, and their banter was nothing you couldn't find in Avengers Assemble.

I don't like to read other people's reviews, but I was desperate for information on this thing. With the other Marvel shows, movies, et cetera, I can usually find some inkling of trivia. Here? Nothing. Anyway, another reviewer mentioned that there were only eight characters in this thing. After I counted, I came up with nine, if you don't count the Wendigoes. Eight if you don't count the random HYDRA goon in the post-credits. Seven if you don't count JARVIS. Either way, that's not a lot of characters. Remember when Hulk said the city was evacuated? It was to avoid having to animate a lot of people. Heck, Fump and Cruler wear random breathy things over their mouths to save the animators trouble. Lazy.

This movie is mostly fighting. There's barely enough plot for a half-hour cartoon. Even with the pointless Wendigo fight and the opening credits, this thing's only a little more than an hour. After this and "All About the Ego," I'm beginning to think that Brandon Auman writing one of my favorite Avengers: EMH episodes was a fluke.

Heck, even I could do a better job. As a writing exercise, I came up with two ways to improve the plot.

  1. Have Fump and Cruler become Zzzaxx. This would allow Zzzaxx to have a dual-minded split personality. Iron Man and Hulk could keep Zzzaxx from absorbing everything by making its two halves argue. That way, you could even drive home another metaphor for working together as a team by providing Tony and Hulk’s antithesis.
  2. Make Tony and Hulk team up with Fump and Cruler to recover Zzzaxx, only to be betrayed. You could put a lesson about trust, teamwork, et cetera in there, too.
Either of those plot points would have allowed this film to be just as long with much less padding. This film is lazily written. It’s not even So-Bad-It’s-Good. It’s just boring. 

The immediate reaction to this "movie" was so bad that the sequel, featuring Captain America, is available for download/streaming only, because they realized it would be a waste of money to actually get DVDs made.

Was this torture worth it? Heck, no. I regret every second spent watching this thing. But I guess that's my punishment for not posting the 50,000 Page View Celebration in time for the 50,000th page view. I'd like to thank all my readers, and I hope to see you around to hit 75,000 views!

I promise, that post will be on time.

See you then!

1 comment:

  1. The sequels even worse, good luck staying awake through that poorly paced dull train wreck.