Iron Man Rise of Technovore
Iron Man Rise of Technovore
This is a home video animation produced by a collaboration between Sony Pictures Entertainment and anime studio Madhouse. It’s a follow up to the 12 episode Iron Man anime series, though it’s a stand alone story that I was able to follow without having seen any of the previous episodes. There were four different Marvel properties that were turned into anime series, though I think Iron Man seems like it would be the easiest transition from Western Animation to Japanese Animation considering anime has a prevalence of mecha similar to Iron Man and some of his enemies. It ended up being an interesting mix of the two mediums with the obvious Japanese style combined with some of the more American personalities. I loved it for the most part, although I thought some of the philosophizing was a little slow and overly cerebral.
The main thrust of the plot involves a new villain who has control over microscopic nanotechnology called Technovores that can invade and destroy organic material and control or destroy electronics. He uses this technology to disrupt the launch of Tony Stark’s new satellite, seemingly toying with both Iron Man and War Machine, leaving Rhodey dead in the aftermath. With Tony the only surviving witness of the attack, S.H.E.I.L.D. wants to keep him under wraps until they can get things sorted out, but instead he goes fugitive on them to try and solve the mystery himself, at one point meeting up with the Punisher while being chased by Black Widow, Hawkeye, and an army of S.H.E.I.L.D. mandroid robots.
Most of the action in this movie tends to be Iron Man fighting against S.H.E.I.L.D. itself more often than him fighting against the Technovore and his minions which is interesting because even though he’s still giving it his all, there’s a lot more playfulness to it knowing that they’re all friends in the end, and also easily gives the impression that this isn’t the first time, nor will this be the last time that he’s gone against S.H.E.I.L.D.’s orders. For Nick Fury’s part, I think he went a little overboard in places considering that he should know better, though I did enjoy Hawkeye a lot more here than I did in the Avengers.
This being an anime, it wouldn’t be complete without some overly philosophical posturing, and nearly all of the scenes with the Technovore have it in spades. It’s in these scenes where I also noticed a lot of cost cutting animation techniques such as just showing a character’s torso and lower jaw, or their face from the nose up, which avoids having to animate the lip synch. I know that it’s a common technique but it was a lot more noticeable in this movie partly due to the contrast between the slow, static scenes with the Technovore and the fast paced, laser filled action sequences between Iron Man and his opponents. I also thought the design for the Technovore’s armor was a little too anime influenced with it’s very bishounen aka androgynous look, and also the design change at the end was jarring and evoked a certain popular anime which I won’t mention as it feels like it might be too spoilery. Aside from the character design, I did really appreciate the character’s backstory which I also won’t mention here. I thought it connected to the Marvel Universe very well.
One other pleasant surprise for me in this movie was the Punisher. He’s in the trailers and I thought he also looked a little too bishounen at first, though when I actually saw him in the movie it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. I also thought that Frank Castle’s portrayal in this movie was great, he’s very much a badass, but he also helps out Iron Man in his own way. I think the entire sequence with his character was my favorite part of the movie. I also enjoyed Pepper Potts in this movie, who is on a constant quest for an uninterrupted vacation from the duties of Stark’s assistant. The voice actors did a great job at capturing the playfully antagonistic relationship that works so well for me in the live action movies while still showing that the two really do care for each other. It’s worth a watch if your a fan of anime and/or Iron Man, it won’t make it into any of my favorites lists, but I did enjoy watching it. It comes out on DVD and Blu-Ray on April 16th. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.