Iron Man and Hulk: Heroes United Blu-ray ReviewNovember 24, 2013
Everyone loved watching The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man share the screen in last year’s The Avengers. Marvel has teamed the unlikely allies up once more for Iron Man And Hulk: Heroes United, a computer-generated film that sees the pair fighting against a new enemy known as Zzzax – an energy being born of gamma radiation siphoned from Hulk and his nemesis the Abomination. Zzzax threatens to drain all of the Earth’s electricity, and Tony Stark and Hulk will have to use their combined strength and intellect to try and stop him. Their adventure will see them face down rabid Wendigos, HYDRA robots and more – fans will even get to see Hulk don some armor of his own.
Iron Man and Hulk: Heroes United is a solid side-story, featuring plenty of action and decent humor. I found it a bit strange that Hulk can put together full sentences in this film, as I’m so used to seeing the “blind rage” version of the character. Watching Hulk and Abomination engage in lengthy conversations while pummeling each other was just plain odd at first, but I got used to it after a while; funnily enough, new villain Zzzax talks like classic Hulk. The overall story here is light, seeing some HYDRA scientists unwittingly creating big bad Zzzax, and our two heroes duking it out over a misunderstanding before putting aside their differences to stop this imminent threat. Zzzax is becoming more powerful by the minute as he feeds on the planet’s energy, and he can’t be harmed by Hulk’s giant fists or Iron Man’s repulsor beams. It’s a relatively interesting setup that had me pondering how the pair would eventually take him down, and there’s a few great fight sequences before the credits roll, including a standout nighttime graveyard battle between a blinded Hulk and some vicious Wendigos.
The art style of Iron Man and Hulk: Heroes United is 100% computer animation, which sometimes looks great and other times looks a bit unfinished. There’s certainly nothing Pixar-quality here, but it’s a few levels above something like the 2003 Spider-Man animated series. While the art direction is generally solid and the characters are well-animated, some rough textures and low-poly models rear their head from time to time, but it’s nothing bad enough to detract from the experience. Tony Stark’s face is probably the most jarring, as it’s the only human face we see throughout the proceedings and he has a very stylized look.
The voice acting is pretty good, and though Heroes’ Adrian Pasdar sounds nothing like Robert Downey, Jr. he holds his own as Tony Stark. Fred Tatasciore once again plays the Hulk, because who else could? He always knocks it out of the park – he is this character, just like Kevin Conroy is Batman, Steve Blum is Wolverine and Mark Hamill is the Joker. The dialogue can be a bit silly at times, but this seems primarily aimed at kids. I still had fun with it though.
The extras on the Iron Man and Hulk: Heroes United Blu-ray were possibly my favorite part of the package. There are a lot of “Marvel Mash-ups” on the disk, which are utterly hilarious shorts where voice actors overdub scenes from the old Marvel cartoons. There are three of these in the extras section, but if you pause the film you’ll access even more of them in the hidden Marvel Inter-missions. There’s one other bonus feature, an interesting conversation between Marvel’s Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada and Ryan Penagos (Agent M on Twitter) about Iron Man and Hulk’s shared history, as well as Wolverine and Spider-Man’s time in the New Avengers.
Overall, I came away impressed by Iron Man and Hulk: Heroes United, and I hope Marvel creates more of these stand-alone features. While I would have liked to see at least a little of David Banner, and “eloquent Hulk” never quite sat right with me, as a whole this film is a success. The bonus features and included digital copy and DVD make this a compelling purchase for Marvel fans, and a great stocking stuffer for Christmas.