I am continually disappointed with the Japanese’s attempt to anime-mate Iron Man and this animated feature follows in the pathetic footsteps of Madhouse’s previous 2011 Iron Man series.
As far as the animation goes, America could definitely learn a few things about CGI from Madhouse as visually, this is one of the most impressive animated films that I have seen. The backgrounds are exquisite works of art, the character designs are incredibly believably and fantastically detailed, and the technology looks solid and real. Overall, there is little to complain about. The special effects are fairly solid as well, I did find some of them to be somewhat repetitive, particularly the technovore’s attacks.
The voice actors were a rather broad mixture with some of them being excellent while others could definitely have used some emotive in their performances.
Matthew Mercer was a perfectly adequate Tony Stark but he’s not Robert Downey Jr. either. It sounds like he’s trying to ape Downey’s flair and arrogant lilt a bit too much and he can’t quite pull it off. James C. Mathis III (Rhodey) was sharp, easily the best voice actor in the entire film. Unfortunately Mathis had very little scenes and the rest of the actors pretty much drag down the rest of the movie with rather bland, wooden, and uninspiring—particularly Eric Bauza (Ezekiel Stane) who is the main villain with his insipid pseudo-intellectual philosophical monologuing. He didn’t come off as insane, just extremely boring. A lot of the dialogue and witty battle banter could have been improved as well.
Finally, where Iron Man: Rise of Technovore completely falls apart for me was the storyline. I found it tiresome, overly convoluted, and a lot of parts just didn’t really track for me. The story feels very drawn out where it could have been compacted into maybe 30 minutes or so. The inclusion of the Punisher felt a bit forced and instead of a plot, we’re treated to a barrage of awesomely explosive fighting sequences where Iron Man is showing us his mettle. But basically, they’ve forgotten to tell a story in-between those bits.
Basically, there is a lot of Ezekiel Stane just sitting there, staring into space while someone rambles on in the background from a book. I think it’s an attempt to feel like philosophically artistic and thought provoking, it felt more pretentious rambling to me and utter pointlessness. I mean Ezekiel keeps talking about the future, how he’s the next stage in evolution, how backwards and utterly obsolete Stark is—yet his scenes uses old fashioned record players and leatherbound books as it’s metaphors. Does that make sense?
All and all, this is animated feature is utterly senseless and perfectly replicates Madhouse’s previous Iron Man work; confusing story but cool visual effects. If nothing else, those action sequences are neat to watch but you’ll suffer through the rest.
RATING: 2 STARS.