Quick, what do you do after you have a surprise success with a major comic book movie of a character that nobody had really heard of previously? Why, you fire up production on the sequel and start up an animated series, that’s what! While no one saw the success of Iron Man being as strong as it was once it finally bowed out of theaters, studios were quick to react. The Iron Man Armored Adventures series debuted in November of 2008 on the Nick network and fans of the armored hero found the series to be an odd mixture of the Iron Man mythos while at the same time also appealing much more to the younger crowd.
Join the adventures of teenage prodigy Tony Stark, and his alter ego Iron Man, as he uses his technological inventions to battle villains and save the world! Teen genius Tony Stark ahs just finished his greatest invention: the Iron Man armor. But before he gets to show his dad, Tony’s world is shattered. His father, his home, his entire life are all gone, and Tony is left picking up the pieces. But with a little help from his friends Rhodey and Pepper, he begins to unravel the mystery surrounding the attack on his father. And as Iron Man, Tony Stark takes his first steps toward becoming a new her for the digital age, fighting high-tech, battles in high-octane adventures!
Man, this series sounds so tubular! Aside from the fact that it makes no real sense. I mean it kind of works in an Ultimate Spider-Man or Batman Beyond sort of way, but the extreme de-aging of the individuals in the show just really doesn’t make for believability in any form. I honestly was cringing quite frequently while watching this show, simply because it did so many things in a cartoon that I find irksome today. The writing, the extreme pandering to the younger audience and…honestly, I wasn’t a big fan of Marvel cartoons prior to this, but it really didn’t help any.
Yes, yes, I know, cartoons are for children. I shouldn’t enjoy this because I’m not the target audience. Well what about Batman: The Brave and the Bold, which manages to attract an older audience as well as a younger one? You can have a series that appeals to a wider audience, networks often don’t want it, however, because it might come off as too risky. But that doesn’t make much sense on Nick…I mean they have Spongebob for cryin’ out loud. That’s the most age-defying cartoon ever created.
I had hoped that I’d at least get into the visuals of the show but it reminded me too much of the MTV Spider-Man show from a few years back. The cel-shaded CGI look works in some instances (mainly with the Iron Man suit and the other mechanical workings of the series), but when it comes to the human counterparts…again, I cringe. The mouth movements are like flash-animation level and the animation itself is hardly what you’d call fluid. It was like this from the first episode to the last one included here and as much as I wanted to enjoy it even one iota as much as I enjoyed the Iron Man film itself…I just couldn’t.
And you know why, more than anything, I couldn’t get into it? The theme to the show. The first animated Iron Man series from the 90s had such a good intro that the live action film adapted it in some form. But the theme for this show? No. It’s as if they took Black Sabbath’s intro with Ozzy singing “Iron Maaaaaaaan” and slowed it down, removed the guitars, and hired the Jonas Brothers to sing it in some kind of pop fashion. Nails on a chalkboard, I tell you.
Granted, I’m a bit biased saying all of this. As mentioned previously I don’t enjoy Marvel animated products (the 90s efforts notwithstanding) and pretty much everything they’ve produced as of late (Spectacular Spider-Man notwithstanding…or so I hear, I haven’t watched it) has just been one big disappointment to me. I want to enjoy these products as much as I enjoy the live action efforts…but they somehow always manage to turn me off. We can add Armored Adventures to the steaming pile now as well.
Genius tosses out the first six episodes onto DVD with little else accompanying them. The set itself arrives in a standard Amaray case with a reflective foil slipcover over the outside. Inside is just the basic disc art with a rather boring menu system (complete with that damn annoying theme playing over a few of them). Video is a 4×3 transfer (for some reason…I know it’s animated in 16×9) and it looks as good as a digital show can possibly look on DVD. It’s paired with a DD5.1 track (5.1 but no widescreen? What the…) that manages to pack a punch in action scenes, but does little else with the LFE and surrounds aside from that. Also as an aside the packaging shows Iron Man battling Hulk on the back of the package…but that episode isn’t included here.
Extras include “Four Suit Profiles,” a “Rooney Music Video,” and “All-New Super Hero Squad Show Music Video.” And no, the extras aren’t worth watching either. Sorry.
Overall a release that you can very easily Skip. Unless you have a four or five year old, in which case you might get some replay out of this disc.
Iron Man Armored Adventures – Volume One is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.