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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Movie Talk - Marvel Animated Features Part 2: Other Heroes

In part 2 of this three-part venture, I’ll be looking at the movies from this series that are solo adventures. I’ll be looking at The Invincible Iron Man, Doctor Strange, and Thor: Tales of Asgard. Iron Man's movie and Doctor Strange were both released in 2007 while the Thor movie was released in 2011. I actually bought IIM back in 2007 at Wal-Mart. I actually don’t have it now and I’ll tell you why when I get to the movie. I rented Doctor Strange from a video store when it was released. As for Tales of Asgard, this is the first time I’ve seen the movie and I’ll get to why later.

The Invincible Iron Man
This is pretty much the origin of Iron Man… sort of. I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be in the continuity of the other Ultimate Avengers movies are not. It might as well be since Marc Worden is voicing Iron Man here as well. In the movie, Tony Stark and James Rhodes get taken hostage by a group of Chinese militants when they accidentally unleash a prophecy involving the Mandarin. During his captivity, Tony falls in love with Li Mei, one of the women there. He and Rhodey are able to escape with the help of a suit Tony created during their captivity. When Tony finds out that the prophecy of the Mandarin is real, he uses his resources to combat his enemies and save the day.

Well, I have to say it: I don’t like this movie. When I owned this movie, I only saw it once. That’s why I got rid of the thing. Even after I re-watched it recently, I still don’t like it. While it does have some good things, the cons outweigh the pros here. The story is a bit bland and it takes too many liberties with his origin. I may not be Tony Stark’s biggest fan, but I know that his origin wasn’t fused with the supernatural. The villains were also pretty bland. If you thought the Mandarin was done wrong in Iron Man 3, watch this movie and be amazed at how bad this version is.
So, these are the elements of earth, wind, fire, and water? Where's heart?

I also wasn’t a fan of most of the animation here. While the hand-drawn animation was pretty good, it did still feel pretty dull and stiff. Then we get to the computer-generated (CG) animation. Everything from the Elementals to Iron Man suits looked pretty bad. While everything else is hand-drawn, the Elementals and Iron Man are CG themselves and the combination looks horrible. I wonder why they went with CG animation instead of hand-drawn animation for the fights. If they had gone either way with the whole movie, the fights would have probably been decent. At least they would have been consistent.
Rhodey: Tony, will you hurry up and do your "Superman" thing?

Is there anything good about it? Well, I did like the voice acting. It was pretty good as a whole. Some of the supporting characters were pretty cool. I also liked the twist involving Li Mei’s character. It was definitely something that was a shock. While the CG animation was crap, the Iron Man suits did look good at points. Had the whole movie been CG animation, this probably wouldn’t have bothered me. Overall, I’d skip this movie and watch the infinitely better live-action movie. If you want to give it a watch, go on ahead. I can’t stop you.

Doctor Strange
This movie is the origin of how neurosurgeon Stephen Strange became one of the most powerful sorcerers. After an accident destroyed his medical career, Stephen Strange went on a journey to heal his hands. While his journey is going on, other magicians led by the Ancient One are trying to keep the Sanctum Santorum from falling into the hands of Dorrmomuu. Strange finds himself in Tibet learning learning magic (and sword-fighting) from the Ancient One and his students. When Mordu, one of the students, betrays everyone, Strange must step up to the plate in order to save New York.
So, I guess Doctor Strange just needed some swords to mix with his sorcery? Cool.

While I know that sword-fighting is probably not part of Doctor Strange’s canon, I thought this movie was pretty good. I’m not a big fan of the character, but I thought this was a good introduction to the character. I thought this was a good origin story. We got to really feel for Stephen Strange and his predicament. I liked the different supernatural aspects here as well. I liked the supporting characters like Wong and the Ancient One. The animation and the fight scenes were also really well done. It probably has some of the best animation in all of these movies.
I guess he needs handouts for a shave now.

While I like the movie, it still has some shortcomings. The villains were okay. I thought Dormomuu was alright and Mordo is about the same. I thought Mordo’s reasons for joining Dormommu’s side could have been handled better. I wish we got to see more of the other sorcerers  that assisted the Ancient One in protecting the Sanctum Santorum (say that three times), but this is Stephen’s origin so I can forgive that. While the animation is really good, there were some weird things that took me out of the movie for a bit. Overall, I thought this was one of the best movies from this line of movies. It might not treat the source material well (I wouldn’t know), but it is a good movie. It’s got me psyched for the 2017  live-action movie with Benedict Cucumber… yes, I know I said it wrong.

Thor: Tales of Asgard
Tales of Asgard was the last movie to be released from the Marvel/Lion Gates team up. It centers on a younger Thor as he is on the brink of adulthood. In the movie, Thor and Loki decide to sneak out of Asgard and look for Surtur’s sword. The Warriors Three get involved and they find the sword in Yodenheim. Unfortunately, this sparks an incident with the Frost Giants and war is on the horizon. Things get worse when the sword falls into another ones hand. Thor and his friends risk their lives in order to set things right.
Well, he has to start somewhere!

I waited a long time to see this movie as well mostly because I’m not a big fan of Thor. He just isn’t a character I gravitate towards. Still, I thought this was a well done movie. I really liked the story and character development. We see Thor starts out as an ego-driven, snotty prince. Both he and Loki get put through some things that make them come out as different men at the end. They basically get put in their respective destinies. I also liked the supporting characters like the Warriors Three, Sif, Odin, and Algrim.
Loki: Thor, have you seen this thing on Midgard called the Internet? Some images show us being... a little too close.
Thor: Aye, brother. I have seen this Internet and it is quite appalling! When I grow up, I will find this "Anthony Stark" person who keeps posting those images out and smite him!

The animation was more or less the done in the same style as Next Avengers. It was alright itself, but the action scenes were pretty good. The villains of the piece were cool. I really liked this one villain but I kind of predicted that he would use the sword in order to get revenge for his people. I also liked that we got to see a lot of the Nine Realms except for Midgard aka Earth. I really don’t have any problems with the movie. I will say that it does get a little boring in the middle. Other than that and some of the animation, I thought this was good movie and it serves as a nice prelude to Thor’s later adventures.

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Overall, I recommend two of these three movies. You already know which one I leaving out in the cold. Still, if you want to check out The Invincible Iron Man, go for it. Well, I’d say I’m done here, but there are two (technically three) more movies that Marvel and Lions Gate released. They all feature the green man himself: The Incredible Hulk. Next week will  also start off a week that’ll give the Hulk some focus. Until then, Peace and God Bless.

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