Heroes United improves slightly for animated Marvel universe
While continuing to look way, way up at the vastly superior cranked out by their DC Animation counterparts, Iron Man and Captain America: Heroes United is a slight step in the right direction for Marvel Animation. It’s an improvement even if it’s content just satisfying a small demographic of the Marvel fan base with its latest direct to video effort.
In a minor teaser to the upcoming Captain America: Civil War Marvel Studios film set for 2016, Captain America (Roger Craig Smith) and Iron Man (Adrian Pasdar) have to overcome their philosophical differences.
Cap is too strategic while Iron Man is too unpredictable — to stop the Red Skull (Liam O’Brien) and Taskmaster (Clancy Brown) and their Hydra army.
And of course it wouldn’t be a superhero team-up film if the two didn’t end up fighting.
Unlike the goofy Iron Man and Hulk team-up, the plot won’t send you into whiplash from your eyes rolling back so often, but the dialogue would still benefit from not pandering to the younger viewers instead of being a more all-inclusive experience.
It’s not impossible to create a cartoon that adults will enjoy as much as children as evidenced by shows like Young Justice, Justice League Unlimited and Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, which was arguably the best comic book based TV show.
There’s a few good lines and character interaction — the Captain America/Taskmaster fight is fun — but there’s the nagging sense that this could be so much better if it weren’t overly childish.
Another problem is Marvel Animation’s unique ‘2-D wrap’ animation style where the standard animation is scanned into a computer for added weight and facial expressions. It’s still a serious work in progress.
At times, the effect looks more realistic than a simple cartoon, but all too often the herky-jerky animation is distracting as the character movement resembles mid-90s CGI cartoons.
And the character lip synching is the animation’s most glaring flaw. It looks like the character’s mouths were pasted on in post-production. That’s great for a comedy sketch, but not for a project meant to be taken somewhat seriously.
Marvel Animated’s narrow focus for its direct to video projects cheats the fans out of animated films the equal to their live-action counterparts. Iron Man and Captain America — Heroes United is passable entertainment, but only will serve to make older viewers more anxious for the feature film version.