I recently watched a couple of animated movies, one that I have been wanting to see for awhile, and one that I was just alerted to by Random of Sturgeon’s Law fame.

150px-Ultimateavengers_dvdp.jpgThe first is Ultimate Avengers: The Movie. In addition to all the live-action superhero films created by Marvel, they began a series of direct-to-dvd animated films that has really caught traction with the fans. Ultimate Avengers came out in February of last year, just as I was getting fed up with Netflix. After cancelling my account, I just never got around to seeing it. When Random mentioned a new Invincible Iron Man title, I knew it was time to play catch up.

First off, let me say that I loved the film… about the only way to make me not like an animated superhero film is to screw with traditional animation. (i.e. the unrealistic look in Batman: The Animated Series.) The animation in UA was excellent (with the exception of Hulk’s face… just a little too gaunt for me.) I was even okay with them “reimagining” the story line a bit to bring it up to date. I just couldn’t get into Nick Fury being a black dude. I am down with the brothers in comics…Luke Cage (aka Power Man) and Jim Rhodes (War Machine) are a couple of my favorites… but come on – Nick Fury was one of my heroes – a grizzled veteran chomping a cigar, one-time leader of the Howling Commandos, and current head of S.H.I.E.L.D. Heck, he was the first comic book character I ever penciled as a kid. You can’t just change him so completely.

As an action-packed romp into my past, this film was a blast. As an accurate depiction of the history and mythology of these character’s origins… it was disappointing.

RATING 7 out of 10

150inronman.jpgNext up is one of my all-time favorite superheroes and the reason for renting the two in the first place – The Invincible Iron Man. (I haven’t rented a video from a video store in over a decade.) It was good to see “ol shellhead” in action once again, but as with UA there are some big changes to the history.

In the original incarnation, Tony Stark was injured by shrapnel in the Vietnam War. A Vietnamese warlord nursed him to health and forced him to create weapons for the cause, while Tony and a fellow prisoner created a suit that not only maintained his heart function, but gave him tremendous strength. This story was later updated making the setting the original Gulf War. This time around, the story was not just updated, but changed entirely.

I have always liked Tony Stark because, instead of the typical insecure teen, he was a billionaire playboy, cutthroat capitalist, and sometime philanthropist. I have been biding my time until the Iron Man live action film, so this animated piece came along at a good time.

The film has a lot of action and once we get past the history and into the suit of armor, it really gets fun. Three cheers to Marvel for continuing the comics I know and love in fresh ways, even though I believe the original storylines would have played just as well to today’s youth.

RATING 7 out of 10

Want proof that I am a huge Iron Man fan? This is an unfinished section of my garage wall. It is my wall of comics that I started when I first moved in… it has Iron Man, War Machine, the X-Men, and even the Hulk. Most of it is penciled in already, but as you can see the inking (black paint) is far from finished.

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Here is a closer shot…
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Now, if I could just get my garage cleaned out, maybe I could get back to my painting one day. I will probably need to cut the whole wall out when I sell the place because I doubt it will increase the value and the thought of someone painting over it is just sad.