Technically speaking there is no and in the title, but I don’t really care for using the & symbol that much and just leaving it blank could be odd. In this case, I’d say that using “and” is the right move. Is this film really as terrible as its reputation? Well, that would have been nearly impossible from the get go and it’s still a decently good Marvel film. The animation is the main thing that really holds it back. First off, let’s get the plot out of the way!
The Hulk and the Abomination get into a brawl as the film begins. The Hulk was just resting and showing the world that he is not to be trifled with so he wasn’t prepared for such an attack. The Hulk is quickly subdued (By a pair of robots…he did beat the Abomination btw!) and kidnapped. After the scientists realize that they are in over their heads, they leave. (They so say sorry though!) The Hulk breaks out the saves the Abomination’s life, but a spark escapes from the battle. Ironman appears and they quickly get into a fight. The Hulk quickly takes him down and they agree to make a temporary truce to defeat the mighty Zzzax. Ironman and Hulk are as different as two heroes can be and they Really don’t get along. Will they really be able to pull off such an ambitious team up!?
Well, that’s the plot in a nutshell! The film is a little over an hour, but they do try to cram a lot of things in. We get a bunch of Wendigo creatures at one point that really come out of nowhere! The Abomination is here of course and Zzzax serves as the main villain as he uses many of Ironman’s old armors. It’s a pretty good array of villains that we’ve got here and the film has almost nonstop action. What is keeping this film from cracking a solid 7 like your average action film? It’s the animation!
This film uses CG-I and that was mistake number one. Always go for Hand Drawn when you’re making a true animated film. Ironically, these graphics would be perfectly acceptable for a PS4 cash in game or something on the mobile. For a real video game or a film…this just won’t cut it! There is a lot of lag to be seen between character movements and the fight scenes can look really fake at times. The bullets leave random explosions when they hit that appear as if they were put on the Hulk’s character by photoshop. Nothing about this really screams professional and the animation really brings it down. Contrary to popular belief, animation is easily one of the most important factors in a film. It’s (nearly) as important as the writing. Examples of this include Samurai Jack and Symbiotic Titan. Both of those shows are in the pretty good range, but they easily could have jumped up an extra point or two into the great category. 1-2 points may sound pretty small, but considering that it is out of 10…that is a pretty big jump. Let’s face it, a 6/10 looks much worse than an 8/10 and a 2/10 is scarier than a 4/10. Two points can make a difference. In this case, the film lost a firm point with the animation.
That being said, if the movie was incredible in all of the other areas, I’m sure that it would have still done pretty well. The problem is that the rest of the film is really only average. The writing is what you would expect from Marvel. Ironman and Hulk have settled into their stereotypical personalities pretty well and you can really tell what they will say before they even speak. There are several puns in the film at least, but they aren’t as original as the ones over at DC. (Not to play the DC card this early in the fight…)
The soundtrack is actually really good in this film. I’ll say that it was one of the surprising positives involved. It really felt like they stole some music from the DCAU, but I’m not going to go there. Wherever the music was from, it was really good and it definitely made the film a little more enjoyable. A good tune can make everything seem cooler.
The film actually has some pretty deep environmental messages. Zzzax isn’t completely bad as he just wants to protect the planet from the humans who continue to fill the landfills across the world. As with Ultron, Zzzax realizes that the extinction of mankind is the only way to save the day. Ironman reminds him that humans are still a pretty young race and that they are getting closer to using clean energy. It’s all empty words and Zzzax knows it. Humans continue to use up more and more power while polluting the planet, but I suppose that it’s an issue for another time. Still, it was interesting that Marvel added this part in and combined with the elements from the Technovore film…maybe they will start including things like this in their films. I’m always ready to talk about the environment so I wouldn’t mind seeing it in the film.
So, there isn’t a whole lot to say about Ironman and Hulk. Ironman loves to find some humor in the situations that he gets involved in and he’s pretty proud of himself. He takes the credit for everything and he acts as if he was tougher than everyone else. He’s so confident that he will beat the Hulk until he’s quickly crushed. He’s a pretty good character here since he doesn’t have time to fulfill his less desirable character traits in the film. Trying to blast Hulk in the eyes wasn’t cool even though he claimed that it could help the Hulk. (He didn’t try again so I’m not sure if I buy that) The Hulk is also what you would expect. This is the smarter Hulk that we are used too from the various Avenger cartoons. He puts Abomination in his place, but he’s easily crushed by robots several times in the films. He’s another big punching bag when it all boils down to it. It’s a trait that many superheroes have at this point. They act all high and mighty, but they crumble at the first attack from a decent villain. It’s films like this that really make me pick Link or Gagaga Girl in a fight against these guys.
Zzzax has a pretty nifty design and he makes for a good villain. The way that he talks can be annoying though since he has a hisssssss for each word and he likes to take his time a little too much. Abomination is another confident fighter who can’t back up his tough words. He also has a fun CGI design for this one. Power wise, he does seem to be clearly outmatched by the Hulk though. The Wendigos didn’t have any character in this film, but maybe that’s for the best.
Surprisingly, the movie actually drags on a bit. It’s only a little over an hour, but thanks to the CGI it’ll feel like a lot longer. Each fight scene looks the same and you’ll get tired of seeing the two heroes getting beaten up by the electro robots for so long. They’re basically powerless and it’s more than a little embarrassing. It really could have ended after the first 30 minutes and it may have been a little cooler. It would have had the same score though so maybe this is for the best. Ironically, the fact that it’s pure action without much plot gives it a lot of replay value. This is actually a film that I wouldn’t mind rewatching in the near future.
We can’t forget to mention that there is an after credits scene! It leads into the next film for those of you who are actually interested. I guess the writers really want to keep things confined though since the two scientists from this film seem like they will be returning with a new threat. It’s an epic scene in theory, but not in execution as the film couldn’t really make the scene as threatening and intense as it really could have been.
Comparing this to DC’s last big superhero team up..it’s pretty sad. Superman/Batman Apocalypse (Notice how I appropriately switched the title a little bit?) smashed this film in animation, crushed it in fight scenes, demolished it in character development, burned it in pacing, and thoroughly destroyed it overall. This is why I don’t even think that there is a debate in as far as who creates the better films/TV shows overall between Marvel and DC. DC is just too good at this point. I don’t think that Marvel will ever make a film to match the DC title that I mentioned. It’s bold, but I seriously don’t think that Marvel has it in them. We can hope of course. (While we are “hoping” I’ll be checking out Throne of Atlantis!)
Overall, This film is nowhere near as bad as the reviews suggest. It’s par for the course for Marvel and while it’s nothing special, it’s nothing bad either. It’s just a good action story where we get to see two iconic heroes team up. It could certainly be a lot worse and one plus is that it’s always enjoyable to see a classic Avengers battle. I like to think that Ironman would have won the battle though and Jarvis’ statistics seemed flawed. No way does the power type end up beating the speed type more often than not. The only reason why Ironman was humiliated in that fight was because he wasn’t fighting properly. The point of a speed type is to use your speed…not fly right into the power type to make it a fist fight. I recommend checking this out if you’re just looking for a casual watch (Since this is basically just a pilot to “insert any Marvel show” it works as a Saturday Morning Cartoon) to see your favorite Marvel heroes duking it out. Of course, I would sooner just recommend watching the original Ultimate Avengers since that one was pretty solid! (The Hulk fight there was intense!)