Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United is Marvel’s first CG animated feature film from Marvel Animation Studios and teams up two of the more popular characters from The Avengers live action movie. The movie sees a villain of pure electricity called Zzzax start to suck all the energy from the Earth. Hulk and Iron Man are the only two heroes there to try to stop Zzzax, but first they have to learn to get along.
Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United starts with The Hulk living in peace in a small town when Hydra agents hire Abomination to attack and capture him. Unfortunately for Abomination, Hydra betrays him as well and their plans are to suck the power out of the two Gamma-radiated monsters to use as a weapon to destroy all their enemies. Things don’t go as planned when the energy takes on a life of its own in the form of Zzzax, a new sentient being that wants to suck all the energy from the Earth.
Of course, keeping with the classic Marvel team-up format, Iron Man shows up when he learns of a blackout dealing with Gamma radiation and attacks Hulk. The two have a big fight until Iron Man realizes that Hulk is not to blame and there is a bigger enemy. They then team up to fight Zzzax, a being that neither of them have the power to beat on their own.
The first thing I had to get used to was the voice cast. After years of hearing Iron Man in various entertainment forms (animation and live-action), Adrian Pasdar did not really sound like any Iron Man that I have ever heard (I have never seen an episode of Ultimate Spider-Man, where he voices the character) and it took me a bit to get used to him. I also didn’t really like the gravelly voice of Hulk at first either, although fans of Marvel’s Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. will recognize it immediately.
However, that was something that was easy to get used to, and when watching Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United for the second time, it gave me no problems at all. Honestly, these two guys do a great job as the characters once you get used to their voices. David Kaye was also great as Jarvis.
The story was nice and the dynamic between Iron Man and Hulk was great. While I felt that Iron Man was a little too much like Spider-Man in this movie, with the wise cracks and puns, it worked for his relationship with Hulk. The two were very much a water and oil mixture and their interactions were highlights of the movie. This played well into a scene where Hulk lost his eye sight and Iron Man had to play his eyes and lead Hulk into a fight.
There was also a problem with the fact that this was a feature length movie, as it almost seemed like the filmmakers needed to fill in time with extra stuff – like a battle with Wendigos in a cemetery that served no purpose in the film outside of having Iron Man and Hulk finally work as a unit. Despite it having no other real place in this story, it was a very cool scene. That was also a problem with Abomination, who was used to capture the Hulk but then disappeared for the rest of the movie.
The animation itself was fantastic. Some of the animation was a bit cartoony, but for their first feature length movie effort, the action scenes and effects during fights were very well done.
Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United was a nice start for the Marvel Animated Universe, and one that I hope they can build on in future efforts. Also, for those who have gotten used to post-credit scenes, make sure to stick around through these credits, because the animated movies look to follow the same pattern and a post-credit scene sets up the villain and team-up planned for the second Marvel Animation Studios movie.
There are very few special features here, and while short, they are actually pretty entertaining. The first is an 11-minute sit-down discussion between Joe Quesada (CCO of Marvel Entertainment) and Ryan Penagos (Agent M from Marvel.com). The two talk about their early comic book memories as well as some of their favorite comic moments. They also discuss something I have always been curious about – Wolverine and Spider-Man joining The Avengers in the comics. The reason behind this move actually made a lot of sense.
The only other special feature on the Blu-ray is “Marvel Mash-Ups,” which fans of the Disney XD Marvel universe will recognize. Basically, Marvel took scenes from old-school Marvel animated television shows and then mashed them up with new dialogue to create bizarre and comic situations. Some are hits and others are misses, but they are all pretty unique and worth watching.
There is also something called “Inter-Mission” on the Blu-ray, where if you pause the playback it will start to play Marvel Mash-Ups until you are ready to watch the movie again. These Mash-Ups are not the same ones you can see from the special features, giving a bit more extras than it looked from the special features menu.