Marvel’s latest direct to video release is almost as good as the first two, which weren’t all that great.

Cast and Crew

Marc Worden as Tony Stark/Iron Man
Gwendoline Yeo as Li Mei
Fred Tatasciore as the Mandarin
Rodney Saulsberry as Rhodey
Elisa Gabrielli as Pepper Potts
John McCook as Howard Stark

Written by Greg Johnson and Craig Kyle
Directed by Patrick Archibald and Frank Paur

Complete information is available from this IMDB page.

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Past movie reviews can be found here.

Synopsis

Tony Stark is captured behind enemy lines, and must create a suit of armour with the help of his best friend in order to save innocent lives. He is soon wrapped up in a prophecy dealing with an ancient threat known as the Mandarin.

High Point

Establishing a project history. That makes the creation under these conditions far more likely.

Low Point

This version of the Mandarin. An ill-defined threat with this weird “chink in the armour” is just not threatening.
If you didn’t already think of the Mandarin as a threat due to exposure to the comics, you won’t understand what’s so scary about this one. Sure, Mandarin used to be a dictator, but reclaiming that position would take a LOT more than resurrection. (If Hitler were brought back to life today, he wouldn’t run a country. He’d either hide, or get tried and executed for war crimes. Either way, he wouldn’t be a threat.)

The Review

This loses some originality for its nature as an adaptation, but they’ve made enough alterations to the source material that it doesn’t feel recycled. I give it 4 out of 6.

The animation uses the mix of CGI and traditional animation that these Marvel movies seem to feature. The blend should be smoother, as should a lot of the character interactions. (It looks terrible when Pepper wipes Tony’s cheek, for example.) I give it 4 out of 6.

The story includes very clear goals for the hero, even if the importance of those goals is never really understood. What good is knowing what to do if you don’t know why you’re doing it? I give it 3 out of 6.

The voice acting isn’t bad, though I feel there should have been a dramatic change in Tony’s tone of voice over the course of the story given the severity of the changes in the character’s outlook and attitudes. I give it 4 out of 6.

The emotional response wasn’t that bad, but not that good, either. I gave the Avengers movies grace because they were the first two productions to come out of Marvel’s in house animation. This is their third feature, all of which have used this character, and there’s no sign of improvement. If anything, the quality has declined slightly. These should be designed to get people unfamiliar with the characters fired up and wanting to read the source material. Instead, there’s some payoff for existing readers as they see their favourite characters on screen, and that’s just not enough. I give it 3 out of 6.

The production was passable, but it has some definite weak points. Like the previous features, it gives the impression that some shots were selected for a particular attention to detail and others were not, giving us a mix of great shots and painful shots. I give it 4 out of 6.

Overall, it’s a decent direct to DVD release, given the reputation of poor quality associated with that distribution method. I give it 3 out of 6.

In total, Invincible Iron Man receives 25 out of 42.