Iron Man Anime: Rise of Technovore Review
The latest Marvel animated feature is another attempt at Anime and it’s using the character that’s Marvel’s most popular character that they completely control and also the one that had the worst of the worst of their Animes. They made another Iron Man Anime, though still made through Madhouse this one has a different creative team than the first. So is this any better than their previous attempt or has Marvel failed again at the Anime market.
In this instalment Tony Stark has made a satellite that can access any computer on the planet in the name of security and keeping people safe. On the day of the launch, because somehow no government in the world has thought that such a thing it’s a tad illegal or dangerous and put a stop to it, the site gets attacked by armoured thugs working for Technovore. He wants to use it to take over/destroy the world depending on which nonsense ramblings he’s spouting. Technovore uses advanced “technorganic technobable” that trumps Iron Man and War Machine and leaves War Machine for dead. Because of Tony not wanting to be kept at SHIELD for questioning, since he was the only witness left alive at the site, Nick Fury calls for a manhunt on him. They don’t go after Technovore, they use Tony’s spy satellite to track him down and not the main villain, and even after Tony’s tracked down Technovore Hawkeye and Black Widow are still more interested in Iron Man.
About half the film is spent on Iron Man on the run from SHIELD and not about the “rise of Technovore.” There’s not really much about Technovore for most of that other than discovering the thinnest of thin backstories and some meaningless technobable about his tech. Instead there’s a pointless fight with SHIELD Mandroids, a pointless Punisher team-up where the Punisher is in the Middle-East for plot reasons and decides to help Tony for no real reason, and Fury having Black Widow and Hawkeye going after Iron Man pointlessly. Technovore actually does stuff in the latter half of the film but no effort has been made to make his backstory, motives, characterisation, technology, philosophy, or plans make any sense. Even the pointless technobable nonsense stopped so things just started happening with little explanation of what was actually happening.
There were many things wrong with this film. The plotting, pacing, and writing were just terrible. SHIELD, Black Widow, Hawkeye, and especially the Punisher, could’ve been taken out of the plot without any real problems since they did nothing of any importance and took away needed time to actually give Technovore some proper character and explanation. The satellite at the beginning was such a laughable plot device that veered into the absurd. People were apparently up in arms over it due to invasion of privacy, which in a conference Tony did to answer that he barely actually addressed it, and then at the end we find out it can take over every computer in the world. The people protesting it were not only right but I’m not sure why any government in the world let Tony put that thing in orbit. That’s Superman 4 levels of ignorance of international politics.
There was definitely a lot of telling rather than showing, then just not doing either towards the end. Stuff just happened and the audience was given no idea why or what was going on. Take the fact that Tony’s Arc Reactor managed to repel Technovore’s tech with no explanation given, not even a visual cue for what was happening, it just happened without even a token line given as to why. To save it solved the plot isn’t even a spoiler since I’m not quite sure how they solved it. They did things in a big flashy, sacrifice oneself to save the world (but not really), kind of way but when you don’t know what’s going on that’s all meaningless.
The animation on the other hand is much improved from the other Anime. It’s prettier to look at and they got rid of the ugly CGI Iron Man suit from the other series. That’s about as much as I can praise it for however. The direction is shoddy with a lot of it being cutaways so we see what’s happened but not how it happened. Much like some of the writings is telling rather than showing the action follows the same principle. It would’ve been nice to see things happen rather than being told about them happening, either through dialogue or a visual of the aftermath. The designs were all okay, nothing really stood out, though Black Widow has breasts too big to zip up her suit. Which seems to be a common problem for superheroine costumes these days.
The voice acting was alright. I listened to the dub and it was serviceable. Tony was not voiced by Adrian Pasdar this time around and instead Matthew Mercer takes up the role, which I am grateful for. It was nothing standout or exceptionable but no voice put me off or made me want to listen to it in Japanese. Although there were times it was like hearing a bad Samuel L Jackson impression, but those were few and far between.
Overall I would not recommend this to anyone. It’s a mess of a film that is there to cash in on the Iron Man franchise with no real thought put into the plot or characters. It is better than the other Iron Man Anime but just because a fruit is 20 days out of date instead of 100 doesn’t make it any better to eat.
If you want good animated Iron Man watch Avengers Earths Mightiest Heroes. Or if you want a series just focused on the Iron Avenger try season 2 of the 90s cartoon, it’s not great but it’s more watchable than any of the other animated Iron Man series.