From the superheroics of Marvel's The Invincible Iron Man, to the award worthy short features of Paramount's The Animation Show Box, Vol. 1 & 2, to the Disney classics found in the Disney Treasures sets, More Silly Symphonies, Vol. 2 and The Complete Pluto, Vol. 2, recent animation releases have continued to bring on the fun. CLICK THIS LINK TO SUBSCRIBE TO EMTV, OUR iTUNES VIDEO PODCAST!!
The Invincible Iron Man
This update of Marvel's Iron Man character takes an interesting tack – it presupposes that, before he was forced to create a crude chest plate to keep himself alive, Tony Stark [voiced by Marc Worden] had already secretly designed and built a number of armored prototypes for potential military use. Thus, when a project to raise a buried city in China goes awry, and Stark is badly injured, he is able to whip up the basic iron suit to save his life – resulting in the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy.
The buried city is the capitol of the long dead Mandarin Dynasty – and the efforts of Stark's company [headed by his right hand man, Rhodey, voiced by Roddy Saulsberry] to raise it are complicated by a series of attacks and instances of sabotage caused by a group who fear that raising the city will resurrect the Mandarin. It takes the news that the group has killed everyone working on the project to jolt Stark from his life of privilege [spelt booze, broads and parties] and fly to china to find out if his best friend is still alive.
Naturally, it turns out that raising the city has allowed circumstances to come to fruition that begin to resurrect the dead emperor. Stark is able to get home and switch to one of the modern sets of armor and returns to take on the elementals who are implementing the Mandarin's return – along with an unexpected traitor.
The Invisible Iron Man is well written. It takes the character's origin and gives it a most sensible and almost inspired updating. The main characters are well delineated, and it's easy to follow the maturation of Tony Stark, as well as the disillusionment of his best friend and right hand man, Rhodey. The re-imagining of The Mandarin is pretty nifty [this version would likely make a cool foe for Doctor Strange, too] and the science versus magic [Iron Man vs. The Elementals] is fun – if maybe a wee bit too pat.
Peripheral characters [like Stark's father, and Pepper Potts] are fun [though I never imagined Pepper as being British] and the female lead – Li Mei [Gwendoline Yeo] comes across as a sweetly conflicted character who really doesn't want to be in a position of responsibility.
The animation of The Invincible Iron Man is not quite feature quality, but is certainly superior to the majority of TV animation – and is quite a bit better than Ultimate Avengers 2. The character design is excellent, and some of the effects work is breathtaking. The voice cast is uniformly excellent as well. Lionsgate's third Marvel-based animated adventure is an intriguing updating of one of the comics publisher's most interesting and powerful characters.
Features include: Alternate Opening Sequence [places more emphasis on the prophecy right from the beginning]; The Origin of Iron Man; The Hall of Iron Man Armor – a gallery of the major versions of the Golden Avenger's armor; Iron Man concept Art, and A Look At Doctor Strange [which looks to be pretty spectacular].
The Invincible Iron Man – Grade: B+
Features – Grade: C+
Final Grade: B
The Animation Show Box Set – Volumes 1 & 2
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