Iron Man: Rise of Technovore (2013)
"Iron Man is framed by a technological terrorist and breaks out to clear his name."
Insert some Black Sabbath and say "I am Iron Man." I mean, really, that's the first thing to come to mind when anyone thinks of Iron Man, right? Well, he's back in animated form (the character, not the actor) with a small scale assortment of known heroes and some distinctly japanese-flavored new ones in this animated adventure. If you're a bit pressed for time, let me assure you that if you enjoyed his live-action romps, then you should find yourself a happy place for this one.
The plot line here isn't really super complex in the slightest. We start off with some fun sport between Tony Stark (Matthew Mercer ) and Rhodey (James C. Mathis III) having some fun on their way over to Tony's newest "toy" being launched to space - the Howard satellite, capable of connecting to all the other satellites in hopes of upping world security and keeping the populace safer. Everything is all fun and games until some mercs in some heavy hardware show up and try to ruin the show, being foiled until their boss arrives and causes a real ruckus. Although the satellite is launched successfully, death tolls from the attack rocket with it with Iron Man himself barely coming out on top. Rhodey isn't so lucky, and Tony is full of rage because of it - which bleeds through when S.H.I.E.L.D. tries to detain him, causing Tony to blast off in pursuit of revenge (and becoming a bit of a fugitive in the process).
During his pursuit of vengeance, Tony briefly encounters the Punisher (Norman Reedus), gets some help from trusty Pepper Potts (Kate Higgins), and is pursued by Hawkeye (Troy Baker) and Black Widow (Clare Grant) on behest of S.H.I.E.L.D. Although there are some slightly awkward feeling slow moments, the pacing here is pretty good with plenty of action and thought provocation combined in a decent mixer. It even manages to toss in a flashback/reference to the first live action Iron Man film. If one is looking for more than just the normal vengeance or superhero plot lines, it also offers a slight sub-realm of thought about technology itself, a man vs. nature vs. technology string, and some subtle romantics.
Of all the characters, the only one that really received much focus here is Tony as far as development - although it is admittedly slight. The impact of the loss of Rhodey is there as a driving force the entire time, but it doesn't entirely detract from Tony's normally playful banter while in combat or talking to other characters - with the exception of a few scenes. It is nice, however, that the flick doesn't bother with all the needless origins stories that we've already been given by numerous sources numerous times (it gets a trite annoying when everything is just a reboot) and just lets the characters flow and interact on screen as they would within the universe of the film.
The music is wonderful, giving a nice high-octane boost to help with all the action scenes, but also quickly disintegrating into the background as needed. The fact that most of them don't have words does help keep them from being overly-catchy, although the rustic and olden-day tune at the end roused a chuckle out of me. Lines are delivered well, although a couple of scenes do have what feels like rather awkward pauses between a character delivering a line and then continuing with the next. The sound effects have been given some care as do most of the animated flicks from both DC/Marvel. It's all pretty well polished in the audio department, even if I did have to fumble around with my media player to get the DvD to actually play it in English (for whatever reason, it had defaulted itself to Japanese).
Animation here leaves nothing to be desired. Frame by frame is smooth as anyone could want, and the wonderful use of colors keep even the desert amusing to look at. Each of the characters looks recognizable as who they should be, and anything on the technological side - such as Iron Man and War Machine's suits - are incredibly detailed (down to battle damage on the close ups) to the point where I don't even want to imagine how long it must have taken to draw them, let alone animate them. Many of the fights retain the same high-speed highly maneuverable combat from the live action movies, and there are enough explosions throughout the film that it wouldn't have been surprising to see Micheal Bay attached to the credits somewhere.
All in all, it's a fun use of time. It's got a bit of depth if you want to get into it, but at the same time the brightly animated world presented is a pleasant change from the recent live action remakes and re-remakes, even if the content present within it can be a bit depressing. Technovore has no qualms with killing characters left and right, and even with that being said, there is probably still less loss of life and destruction of property in this movie then in that new Superman live action movie. If you wanted the short-end of the review then you can look at it like this: Do you like Iron Man? If yes, watch this movie. It's really that simple - it might not be the best flick to ever hit video, but it's no worse than any of the live action or other animated superhero flicks to hit the market recently.