The Invincible Iron Man

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Rating: PG-13

Starring:
Marc Worden as Tony Stark/Iron Man (voice)
Gwendoline Yeo as Li Mei (voice)
Fred Tatasciore as The Mandarin (voice)
Rodney Saulsberry as Rhodey (voice)
Elisa Gabrielli as Pepper Potts (voice)
John McCook as Howard Stark (voice)

Special Features:
Alternate opening sequence
“The Origins of Iron Man” featurette
The Hall of Iron Man Armor
“Iron Man” Concept Art
A Look at “Doctor Strange”
Trailer gallery

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.785:1)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Spanish Language
Running Time: 83 Minutes

Synopsis:
The following is from the official DVD synopsis:

“Past and present collide in this epic adventure that reveals the origin of Iron Man. While raising the ruins of a long buried Chinese kingdom, billionaire inventor Tony Stark digs up far more than he bargained for. He unleashes an age-old prophecy that foretells the resurrection of the Mandarin, the emperor of China’s darkest and most violent dynasty. In order to confront the destructive force, Tony creates an armored suit infused with high-tech weaponry. To stop the evil that he himself has raised from the earth, Tony must become his greatest invention ever — Iron Man! The newly born champion must travel to the four corners of the earth to battle the Mandarin’s henchmen, the Elementals — four magical warriors who harness the power of the elements — earth, water, wind, and fire — with deadly chemistry. But is the Iron Knight, as he his known in the prophecy, strong enough to defy fate and turn back the malevolent forces hell-bent on earth’s destruction?”

“The Invincible Iron Man” is rated PG-13 for action violence and some sensuality.

Mini-Review:
Marvel continues their run of animated films with “The Invincible Iron Man.” And much like the previous films, this one has the same strengths and weaknesses. The animation is pretty cool, the slow moments are really slow, and the action ends up being what makes the movie worth watching.

I’m a long time Iron Man fan, so I was curious to see what their take on his origin would be. It’s kind of an amalgamation of the comics, the Ultimates (not Ultimate Iron Man), and entirely new material. Tony Stark is still wounded, must still rely on mechanical devices to save his heart, and still uses a variety of armor to save the day. But there are a few changes – Mandarin is a spirit rather than a living nemesis, Rhodey is there for Tony’s origin, and Stark becomes a fugitive from Shield as he battles evil. Despite the changes, it all works pretty well.

The animation of the armor is cool. It’s all computer animated and is quite impressive in battle scenes. We see the traditional grey armor (which looks like The Iron Giant), a deep sea armor, and his modern red and gold armor. I was a bit surprised to see that the grey armor is the one most used in the film, including in the big climax. You would have expected his standard red and gold suit to be most prominent. You also get glimpses of several other suits in the armory – the Ultimate suit, the Hulk-Buster suit, and several others. Iron Man fans will get a kick out of it.

All that being said, any time Iron Man is not on the screen, the story becomes quite slow and tedious. My 5-year-old and I watched it together and we both got bored with the ‘quiet scenes’. This was pretty much the same problem with the “Ultimate Avengers” movies, too.

If you’re a comic book fan and especially an Iron Man fan, this is a movie you’ll find well worth checking out. I will say, though that it may not be appropriate for younger fans. They went out of their way to get a PG-13 rating by adding sex and blood into a few scenes. I mean, a female character spends the whole finale naked for no good reason other than to bump up the rating. (For the record, my 5 year old had left the room by that point. He was scared off by the Mandarin.)

There’s a decent selection of bonus features here. First off is an alternate opening to the film. In it, the origin of the Mandarin is told through Chinese paintings. This sounds pretty cool, but it ends up being about as exciting as a real high school history lesson. It’s not a good start to the film and it was a good move to drop it. Next up is a ‘making of’ featurette talking about the creation of Iron Man in comics and how this movie was made. It includes interviews with Joe Quesada and several other comic talents. You’ll also find a gallery of all the Iron Man armor (with poorly scanned pictures from the comics), concept art from the movie, and trailers. Best of all, though, is a 7-minute preview of “Doctor Strange.” I’ve never been a Strange fan, but this preview, showing an exciting battle with an invisible beast, was quite cool.

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