Iron Man: Rise of the Technovore continues from the anime Iron Man series produced by Madhouse. What that means is if you've seen any of the episodes from the series, you know have an idea what to expect.
The movie actually opens to very plain opening credits. It's almost strange as it just begins. Once we catch site of the actual movie, the animation and colors look great from the very first scene. What sets this movie apart from the anime series is there are other familiar characters involved. With an opening scene of Iron Man and War Machine racing through the city, it's a visual feast. As the story progresses, we also see Pepper Potts, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Nick Fury and Punisher. Having the different characters involved in the story gives the world a bigger feel. It's what you would want and expect in a Marvel animated movie.
While the villain Technovore was fitting, I won't say anything more about the identity, he/it just didn't do it for me. This is a problem I have with Iron Man in general. I love the character and everything he can do, we just tend to have similar tech-based villains most of the time. Iron Man doesn't just have to fight villains like this. It would have been great to see Iron Man deal with a different threat.
What was a nice change of pace was Iron Man having to team up with Punisher, voiced by Norman Reedus. Reedus delivers his lines well but it takes a little bit to get used to hearing Punisher with his voice.
Iron Man working with Punisher is the sort of thing I'm talking about. We've seen Iron Man fight alongside members of the Avengers over and over so seeing him with Frank Castle adds an element of the unknown. Being hunted by S.H.I.E.L.D., Black Widow and Hawkeye also made the story more compelling. Hawkeye's lines made him come across as a little annoying but his character added to the tension of the plot. We have some big ideas here but they don't all play out well on screen.
During the various battles and fight scenes, we do get some pretty big displays of action. But because of the nature of Technovore, it could come across as a little ridiculous at times.
Overall the animation and voice acting are packaged in a nice presentation. I just really hope if we do see another installment, we can get a different sort of villain for Iron Man to deal with. The fact that other Marvel Universe characters are incorporated into this movie should be an indication that we could see other threats used as well. There was a lot of potential here. I'd love to see the Marvel Universe opened up like this with more variation. Unfortunately this movie didn't deliver everything I hoped it would.
There are some special features included. 'Tale of Technovore' has Joe Quesada talking about extending the anime series and 'S.H.I.E.L.D.: Protecting the Marvel Universe' describes what SHIELD is about in this animated universe. Neither one are huge deciding factors in making the purchase of this DVD but they do contain some interesting information in terms of behind-the-scenes and what S.H.I.E.L.D. does (which most comic book readers should already know).
There has been a lack of Marvel animated movies lately. It's nice to see a continuation of the anime series and if we can get more self-contained movies, that'd be great. Throughout the series, time has been invested in establishing these characters compared to their comic book counterparts. It'd be a shame not to see them continue in other adventures. If you enjoyed the Iron Man anime series, you'll definitely want to check this movie out. Just don't get your hopes up too high. Hopefully you won't have a problem with this sort of enemy for Iron Man like I do. Despite my feelings on this part of the story, the animation and characters did keep me thoroughly entertained. I wish this story was executed in a better fashion but I do still have hopes to see more.