The success at the box office of the Marvel franchises from the past few years is well-documented. “The Avengers,” “Iron Man,” “Captain America” and “Thor” each had strong showings. The new television series, “Agents of Shield,” seems to be doing well despite a few complaints about some if its storylines thus far. Even with all that is going on in the Marvel Universe, be it on the big or small screen, there are many more storylines waiting to be brought to life. We’ve very excited to see Marvel Entertainment offering a way for some of these characters and stories to be introduced to younger fans, and “Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United,” a digitally-animated film that is now available on Blu-ray and just in time for the holidays, does just that.
The story of the film is simple but enjoyable, with Iron Man and the Hulk teaming up to save the Earth from a seemingly impossible to defeat threat: a new villain named Zzzax (originally introduced in the comics in 1973) who has the power to release and absorb electricity. This new monster was created by HYDRA when they purposely staged a battle between Hulk and Abomination. Because Zzzax is such a formidable foe, Iron Man and Hulk reluctantly agree to work together to defeat him. Although somewhat predictable, it’s an interesting enough story, and one that probably would not have seen the light of day outside of an animated feature.
For those that are excepting to see characters that totally resemble their live-action big screen counterparts, you might be in for a bit of a surprise. There is no Bruce Banner in the film. That is, the Hulk character is simply the Hulk for the entire length of the movie. The voiceover work for the Hulk by Fred Tatasciore is fantastic, which is extremely important because this version of the Hulk is much more articulate than you might be used to. Tony Stark is bit closer to what you would expect, although everything, including his normal sarcasm and arrogance, has been brought down a notch or two likely because of the intended audience. Adrian Pasdar, who has voiced Tony Stark in the “Avengers Assemble” and “Ultimate Spider-Man” animated series, reprises his role as the voice of Tony Stark and is excellent once again.
As I’ve already mentioned, the plot is relatively simple although that isn’t really a negative when you consider the market this film is for. The animation and visuals are top-notch, the voiceover work is excellent and there is a bit of humor in the film that I’m sure your kids will enjoy. This movie was fun to watch and enjoy with my family, and I’m hoping that it could be the beginning of several more animated Marvel “team-up” movies. Make sure to keep watching through to the end of credits as the film has an after credits scene that offers some hints to future plans that is similar to those that are present in the live-action films. If you are interested, “Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United” is now available for purchase on Amazon and at other retailers.
Marvel Mash-Ups (17 min): Clips from the Iron Man cartoon of the 90’s and the 80’s Incredible Hulk with new voices dubbed in with what amounts to a bunch of gags and silly jokes. It’s very kid friendly and many of these show up as “Inter-Missions” when you pause the movie.
Marvel Team-Up with Ryan Penagos and Joe Quesada (12 min.): Marvel’s Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada sits down with Ryan Penagos (@AgentM) to chat about their favorite superhero team-ups in the Marvel Universe and discuss a wide range of topics like their most memorable issues. I really enjoyed this addition to the Blu-ray as I’m sure most will.
71 min – Animation
Action | Adventure – 3 December 2013 (USA)
- Eric Radomski (supervising creative director)
- Leo Riley (supervising director)
- Brandon Auman
- Henry Gilroy
Cast (in credits order)
- Adrian Pasdar: iron Man / Tony Stark (voice)
- Fred Tatasciore: The Hulk (voice)
- Dee Bradley Baker: Dr. Cruler / Zzzax (voice)
- Robin Atkin Downes: Dr. Fump / Abomination (voice)
- David Kaye David Kaye: Jarvis (voice)