Iron Man and Captain America: Heroes United review

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.

Iron Man and Captain America - Heroes United - Cap and Red Skull

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.

Iron Man and Captain America - Heroes United - Taskmaster vs Cap

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.

Iron Man and Captain America - Heroes United - Iron Man and Cap

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.

Iron Man and Captain America - Heroes United - Iron Man, Hulk and Captain America

Rating: 4 out of 10

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  • Barry Murray

    It was a bit childish in my view. And why didn’t Hulk start off with that move?
    And that mouth animation was very distracting.
    It was cool seeing Red Skull back, but i’d give this thing one star out of ten. It’s also weird hearing Nathan Petrelli/Glenn Talbot’s voice coming from Iron Man, lol.

  • keith

    I think i told you how horrible this was when it first came out. I figured all of this out from the horrible trailer. Plus we seen this story done better on EMH and even the the current avengers cartoon. to me they would do better just Making EMH stand alone movies. Why cant they stick with one animation and some progress. DC stuff is the same style and violent but consistent. This looks cheap flimsy and sooooo damn chilidish a four is too nice

  • It was funny as I was writing a note about the lack of the other Avengers when Hulk showed up.

    I don’t know what they were thinking with the mouth animation, but it really needs to get fixed.

    Pasdar has been voicing Iron Man so long I’ve gotten used to him 😉 It was cool hearing Clancy Brown in a Marvel film for a change of pace.

  • That four is really judged on a scale. It’s a four because the target 4-8 year old demographic will like it, but it’s not something anyone else needs to endure.

    I agree. Really wish they’d just make EMH movies!

  • keith

    exactly.. the show proved you can change the roster like an rpg and people dont freak out. they could hit us with classic secret wars with the 80s beyonder with this perm and MJ jacket lol

  • Yeah, I wasn’t very excited by this one, I completely agree that it’s geared way too childish to be taken seriously, there were a few gags that made me laugh, but overall I didn’t find a whole lot to like about it. Though I don’t really remember noticing anything unusual about the lip synch.

  • Man, I’d love to see a Secret Wars movie!

  • And it really could have been better with just a slightly more mature tone, which is what was so disappointing.

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