This direct-to-video animated feature sees Iron Man and Hulk team up to face a powerful new enemy created by Hydra pretty much accidentally. Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United was Marvel's first attempt at a CG movie using a new 2-D wrap technique.
Unfortunately, the one thing bringing this venture down is the animation which could be a little more fluid when it comes to the characters' faces and definitely needs more shading, texturing and overall polish. It's a shame since the designs and the plot are all-around faithful to Marvel's recent movie output, this particular movie giving us an Avengers: Age Of Ultron test run of sorts while also bringing back The Abomination thereby linking The Incredible Hulk to Hydra in a clever way. The latter organisation's goal initially being to use Hulk's gamma energy to create a weapon but, in the process, they give birth to a new sentient electrical life form called Zzzax and it's not too keen on humans. Soon enough, the creature, of course, gains control of Tony Stark's technology and Iron Man is forced to partner up with Hulk in order to defeat the enemy. Don't ask me why we're never told the reason behind Bruce Banner seemingly living as the Hulk 24/7, I have no idea.
The writing is solid throughout and so is the voice acting, there's just not much to this particular plot which doesn't leave us with too many surprises. The follow-up, Iron Man & Captain America: Heroes United is much better in that it's packed with nifty twists and turns, plus you're never quite sure how the heroes are going to defeat their opponent. Here, you know from the get-go that Stark will somehow pull some techno-babble out of his butt and Hulk will smash. A lot. It doesn't help that Zzzax is such a one-dimensional villain and, although he's resilient, he's also never interesting. He's certainly no Ultron who, like him or not, had charm and intelligence. Which is not to say there aren't cool moments in this movie, the Hulkbuster suit makes an appearance for example, but it's definitely lacking in the visual department and in terms of the central threat: maybe having Hydra more involved could have fleshed things out a bit?
A promising team-up on paper, this Avengers side story still left room for improvement and, to Marvel's credit, the next movie delivered just that. The animated feature's video game look may be distracting at times but the characters are likeable and iconic enough to keep the film entertaining.