Iron Man / Hulk: Heroes United Blu-ray Review: Needed a Better (Creative) Team

Heroes United brings together Iron Man and Hulk in a CG-animated adventure that is more likely to please the younger Marvel fans than adults with its emphasis on action over story and character.

It opens with a fight between the Hulk and the Abomination.  From his speech, the Hulk appears smarter than normal, which will prove to be the case.  The Abomination is working with the organization Hydra, but in a good plot twist, they trick him, siphoning the gamma radiation from both of them.  However, the experiment goes wrong, and they unintentionally create a being made out of energy, referred to as Zzyax.

Tony Stark is nearby, traveling in what appears to be his own version of the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier, and the nearby surges of energy and gamma radiation get his attention.  When our heroes meet, they follow the standard hero protocol by getting into a brief skirmish due to misunderstanding each other before working together. 

Although there’s a great deal of Hulk smashing and Iron Man blasting, the plot does show moments when the writers gave some thought to what they were doing.  The heroes are forced to combine their efforts when Iron Man’s armor is damaged and drained of energy and Hulk’s vision has been temporarily comprised.  I was surprised however that instead of brilliant inventor Tony Stark it’s the Hulk who figures out why Zzyax always floats above the ground.  I don’t remember catching a reference to Bruce Banner, but I didn’t buy the Hulk knowing no matter how simple and obvious it was.   

The animation was serviceable but some of the character designs were a bit off.  Abomination glowed, with what I assume was gamma rays, from portions of his body.  When Stark was unmasked, his face was strange and off-putting.  Would also be nice if not every version of Stark had the Downey Jr. facial hair. 

The Combo Pack comes with a Blu-ray, DVD, digital copy, and access to a free Iron Man MiniMate figurine and a digital comic.  The Blu-ray offers a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 encode displayed at 1.78:1.  Regardless of the artwork, the picture is impressive.  Colors are pop when intended, and blacks are inky.  There’s fine detail on display, frequently seen in Iron Man’s armor.  There being very brief bits of banding is the only complaint and it’s minor.  The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 does a great job accentuating the action as things move through channels and delivering more than enough bass.

When pausing, the Blu-ray offers “Inter-missions” which are old Marvel cartoons paired with new silly audio from improv actors.  They are called “Marvel Mash-ups” and three different ones, “Shield” (2 min), “Betty Ross” (2 min), and “Lil’ Hulk” (2 min), are available as Bonus Features.  There is also “Marvel Team-Up with Ryan Penagos and Joe Q” (12 min) where the Executive Editorial Director for Marvel Digital Media Group and the Chief Creative Officer of Marvel Entertainment talk about Marvel Comics.  It takes nine minutes before they mention Iron Man and Hulk teaming up and don’t have much to say about it.

I’d recommend the Marvel Mash-ups over Heroes United because I’d prefer a better story and better art,but for children who like superhero action, it’s a fine way to spend 71 minutes.

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Gordon S. Miller

Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of this site.

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