Man of Iron or Man of Steel?

I’ve been meaning to get to these for quite a while. Within a couple weeks, both Marvel and DC each put out animated movies released on DVD and BluRay. First was Iron Man: Rise of the Technivore. This was followed soon by Superman Unbound. Both movies are very different in everything from artistic style to method of story telling. But before I get into that, the obligatory warning…

* * * SPOILERS * * *

The most obvious detail can be picked up right from the cover. The movie was done in manga style. I love anime as much as everyone else, but Marvel’s foray into the Japanese style animation just isn’t working. (The anime X-Men episodes are better but still not great.) Another thing that hits this home even more is the fact that the default language on the DVD is Japanese. I would have preferred a normal style of animation. You see it all the way through, especially in the villain. The technovore comes out in the form of Ezekiel Stane, son of Tony’s business nemesis, Obadiah Stane. He is enveloped in a free flowing technological outfit that can reshape in whatever way he feels. The way it flows off his head to unmask is like anything you’d see in an anime movie. Then add in the floating techno-balls that he uses and all you’re missing is a tentacle monster.

The mix of characters is a bit unusual as well. War Machine/James Rhodes makes total sense in the story. Hawkeye and Black Widow even fit in an extended way since they are members of the Avengers tho not ones that Tony would normally team up with. The addition of the Punisher in movie come out of left field though. Writing part of the story around him makes no sense. He’s not even that popular of a character any more. All he does is work as a decoy to hold off Clint and Natasha for a while.

Overall, the movie isn’t all that memorable really. I started watching it once and couldn’t keep interest long enough to finish it so I had to re-watch it again later. (And, yes, I had to go back and switch the language to English the second time around too.) Unless you’re really into anime, I wouldn’t bother with this one. There are plenty of good animated Marvel movies out there but this isn’t one of them.

Next we have the Man of Steel’s most recent animated movie. As is obvious from the cover, it’s Superman vs. Braniac. Unlike the Iron Man movie, the cast of characters makes sense — Lois Lane, Supergirl, Kandorians…

Yes, Kandorians. What better Brainiac story to tell. The thing is that Superman doesn’t know who he is but Supergirl does and she’s scared of him. She was there when Kandor was taken. While on his ship, Superman finds the bottled city of Kandor and even ends up inside it where he meets Kara’s parents along with other Kandorians. In a ship controlled by Brainiac, brute force force is not enough. Like with his fights with Lucifer, Superman needs to use his head and figure out his enemy’s weakness. In the end, he’s able take Brainiac down (though there’s always a glimmer of existence left for the bad guy) and save Kandor as well as the miniaturized Metropolis. (I always wondered that happened to the phone lines, power cables, water systems, and such when the city gets shrunk and pulled up from it’s location.)

It was a good movie with some good action, some Kryptonian history, and interesting looks at Supergirl who is new to Metropolis and also staying with the Kents in Smallville. It’s definitely a good watch and worth checking out.

* * * The Winner: Man of Steel * * *

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