The Invincible Iron Man (2007, 83 minutes)
Plot: When industrialist Tony Stark raises an ancient Chinese temple, a group of demonic elementals are released which seek to raise their undead master from the grave. Armed with technology he’d developed, Stark seeks to prevent the rise of the Mandarin.
Source Material: This is a long way from accurate to say the least. The very bare minimum basics are here. Tony Stark is an industrialist who gets injured in a battle and builds a suit. Beyond that the film bears no resemblance. Pepper Potts is a matronly figure, though drawn like she’s roughly the same age. Stark’s father is alive and of iffy morality. James Rhodes is Stark’s assistant. But the most crucial change of all: Stark already had all of the suits built before he was injured and was just copying the idea to the post-battle fight he was in.
Animation: It’s really great looking actually. The animation extensively blends CGI and cel animation and does so, if not smoothly at least effectively. There’s a lot of nice detail to the elementals. The Iron Man suits look great. Character designs are solid. It’s a bit murky at the end but that’s the big flaw. Also why was the love interest naked at the end? She’s concealed but still…
Script: Oh I have so much to say here. My theory is that many of the ideas for this film were at least in part taken from the rejected attempts to get the character on film such as Howard Stark being alive and maybe a villain. Whatever the case, this is a dreadful script. The alterations to the canon don’t work one bit. Think about how clean the origin is in the 2008 movie. This is confusing and annoying throughout. Stark himself is a cipher with zero personality who isn’t even ultimately the hero. Morality is often muddled and hard to figure out. What a dud.
Voice Acting: It’s Marvel. Do we get that OK is the best we’re getting. Actually I have an observation here I want to make. In theory I love that Marvel chose to let their voices be anonymous voices but that’s not really what we wound up with. Instead we get pretty much the same types of voice acting for all the movies. The men sound stern but occasionally joking. The women are emotional and often concerned. Side characters are ciphers of their stereotypes such as angry businessmen. Oh and at one point here, there is a cliched villager who talks in broken English. So yes, the voice work is bad here.
Final verdict: 1/5. The animation is really very good. But it can’t save this from the bottom. This movie doesn’t suffer in comparison to the 2008 movie. It suffers by being what it is: a racist, sexist, confused piece of dreck that satisfies nobody. It’s not for kids with constant sexuality and violence but it’ll anger fans of the material. It’s dreadful.