IRON MAN: ARMORED ADVENTURES: "Iron Forged in Fire" (Spoilers)

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Christopher, Apr 25, 2009.

  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Anyone else watch this? It's not brilliant, but it's not bad. The series reinterprets Tony Stark, Jim Rhodes, and Pepper Potts as teenagers, in a highly revisionist take on the Iron Man premise. Tony is the sheltered supergenius son of genius inventor/billionaire Howard Stark, and his heart is damaged in the explosion that kills his father, presumably engineered by Obadiah Stane, who wanted Howard out of the way so he could weaponize Stark's inventions and get rich. Tony is saved by the super-armor suit he apparently invented on a lark, and later, he begins using the armor to investigate his father's death (like there's any mystery there), incidentally discovering he can use it to save lives and stuff, like his dad always wanted him to do with his inventions. Meanwhile, he has to cope with going to school for the first time, where he and his friend/tech support guy Rhodey encounter the eccentric, fast-talking conspiracy nut Pepper. They try to keep their superheroics secret from the nosy Pepper while taking on Stane and a mysterious figure calling himself the Mandarin, who turns out to be a teenage boy, Gene Khan (Gene short for Genghis, I wonder?), who overthrows his stepfather to reclaim the Mandarin ring that is his family's by right.

    Some of it is cliche -- maybe a lot of it. The scene where Stane comes in and argues with Howard about wanting to adapt his technology to lucrative military uses was pure cliche, and telegraphed what was going to happen to Howard a couple of scenes later. The hero motivated to avenge his father's death is pretty boilerplate too, as is the high school setting (right down to Happy Hogan being reimagined as the standard dumb jock character, though not quite a Flash Thompson-style antagonist for Tony).

    And Tony Stark here is oddly characterized. He's a supergenius who memorizes his textbooks in a day and shows off his brilliance at every turn; how is this supposed to make him sympathetic to the young viewers? True, the adult Tony's always been something of an antihero in the comics, but a drinking, womanizing, obscenely rich antihero is easier for audiences to like because his bad behavior is something they can fantasize about. I doubt many people in the target audience of this show fantasize about memorizing their textbooks and solving ultracomplex equations on the dry-erase board.

    Still, for all its cliches and oddities, it's fairly watchable. The dialogue isn't bad, and the acting is okay, though Pepper's voice is a bit annoying. Rhodey is okay but a bit of a nondescript sidekick character; I kind of think it would've been better to make him an older mentor figure, maybe Howard's best friend who's taking care of Tony and helping him investigate Stane. I mean, it's a bit hard to believe that a 16-year-old orphan who's presumably living off a trust fund would have the resources to build the super-duper high-tech lab Tony somehow constructed on his own in under six months. It would make more sense if he had adult help, particularly from someone within Stark Industries.

    The cel-shaded 3D animation is, well, let's call it mixed. The character motion and expression aren't as annoying as they are on some 3D-animated shows, the designs are okay, and there's a pretty impressive virtual cityscape. But the cel-shading on the characters' upper lips is kind of odd -- too heavy a shadow right above the mouth. Also, it's clear that their budget for character animation is limited. There was a scene where Iron Man rescued a runaway train that was said to have hundreds of people aboard, but we didn't see a single one of the passengers, even when IM actually entered the first car. And when he then stopped the car from crashing into traffic, we heard cheers from a large crowd, but only saw three people. That's going to be limiting.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2009
  2. Mr Light

    Mr Light Admiral Admiral

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    I just learned that this is actually airing on a channel I get and I'll definitely be catching the rerun Sunday at 1pm.
     
  3. Thrall

    Thrall Commodore Commodore

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    It's got to be better then the 90's Iron Man show. That was painfully awful.
     
  4. Nick Ryder

    Nick Ryder Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I dunno from what I've seen of this one, I'm not a fan and I'm a HUGE Iron Man fan. I actually enjoyed the old Iron Man cartoon from the 90s - especially that second season, boy that was a kickass opening theme. Sure was typical 90s superhero stuff, but at least it wasn't this pseudo 3D/Cel shaded junk they pass off as animation. And the way they hyped this show on Marvel.com you'd think they sunk all kinds of money and resources into it. Kind of reminds me of that MTV Spider-Man show they did after Spider-Man 1. Which failed.

    I give it a barely 13 episode run before it's dropped and then you find the whole works on DVD which you can barely give away.

    And they're even making toys based on this show too... I can hear the clearance endcaps calling them already. And they'll probably charge like $11 bucks a figure too. I think they would have been better served making a more realistic or traditionally animated Iron Man 'toon that was skewed a tad older that could have sort of acted like an in between filler with Iron Man 1 and 2. Even if Tony's doing nothing more than going after industrial spies, maybe some colorful criminals robbing banks or hijacking shipments and dating analogues to pop celebrities lol.
     
  5. Samurai8472

    Samurai8472 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I downloaded the free episode available on Itunes.

    I thought it was okay. Still have to get used to kid Tony. Looked like Tony's first professor was Yinsin.
     
  6. Mr. Adventure

    Mr. Adventure Admiral Admiral

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    I honestly couldn't get past the art and animation and it didn't look like what was there was worth trying to do so.
     
  7. Leroy

    Leroy Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I thought it was terrible I can't stand the horrid 3D animation and the fact they turned all the characters into kids.
    Only the first season sucked the second season was great.
     
  8. Gojirob

    Gojirob Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    There weren't hundreds of people aboard the train--there were hundreds in Stark Tower, which is where it was to crash into.
     
  9. Captain Craig

    Captain Craig Vice Admiral Admiral

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    LOL!:lol:

    I feel the same way about the Terminator:Salvation toys. Its not a kids movie whereas I do understand IM is actually made and targeted at a toy demo. I've not seen this teen Tony show but I hope if your right the endcaps aren't competing with T:S for clearance space before I pick up some them. :lol:
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Either way, the point is that the way the scene was storyboarded indicates that they can't afford to animate large numbers of people, and that's bound to be a limitation.
     
  11. Mr Light

    Mr Light Admiral Admiral

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    I finally saw the pilot, and I didn't particularly care for it. The animation did not look very good and this show unfortunately reminds me of the unfortunate Spider-Man MTV CGI series. The teenage version doesn't help either. The action scenes, what few there were, looked straight out of an XBOX1 video game cut scene, right down the generic robot villains. But hey at least they had the Mandarin proper in it. Also, they took the "runaway el train running out of track" bit straight out of Spider-Man 2 and the "hero hovers outside corporate villain's penthouse office" bit from the Superman 90s cartoon.
     
  12. Checkmate

    Checkmate Commodore

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    I personally don't get why people insist on turning adult characters into teenagers. "Kids" don't identify with them anymore than adults do and, at least in my case and with the exception of Spider-Man, I just rolled my eyes whenever I saw a comic book (let alone a cartoon) that revolved around teen-aged heroes. To this day I can't stand Teen Titans.

    It's hard enough to accept that superheroes have as much free reign as they do in their respective universes. But to expect people to just let kids (and sometimes little kids like Power Pack) to run rampant and do whatever they want is absurd.
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I didn't see much resemblance. It's the same cel-shaded 3D technology, but aside from that, they're very different in style and content. For one thing, the cel-shading technology is considerably better here, not looking as rough and strange as it often did in the MTV Spidey series. For another, the character designs are stylistically very different. No leading lady who looks like a Roswell alien with a red wig and two bowling balls stuffed under its shirt. And in story terms, the MTV Spidey aspired to a more "adult" sensibility (which mainly meant having people die a lot while having much less sophisticated storytelling than the more "kid-oriented" '90s FOX series), whereas this show is clearly targeting a younger demographic.

    Oh, that was already a superhero cliche long, long before Spidey did it. "More powerful than a locomotive" has been a defining superhero attribute for nearly 70 years.

    There is precedent in literature. Romeo and Juliet were 17 and 15, respectively. And they ran away and got married. (Admittedly, it didn't turn out too well...)

    (Oh, and it's "free rein," as in letting up on the reins of a horse and letting it go where it will. Anyone who reigns has automatically got freedom to begin with, so that would be redundant.)
     
  14. Chris3123

    Chris3123 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I watched it. If it wasn't Iron Man, I probably wouldn't continue watching it. I don't like the animation style, and the show isn't too terribly exciting. But it isn't terrible.
     
  15. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I'm not sure it is Iron Man, character names and armor design aside.

    Of course, it isn't necessarily a bad thing to reinterpret everything about a character besides the name and costume. Check out the streaming episodes of the '70s Japanese Spider-Man series that come out every Thursday on Marvel.com. It was sort of a direct ancestor of the Power Rangers, with Spidey reinterpreted as a sort of ninja given his powers by an alien to fight other aliens, and using a giant robot to defeat the monsters-of-the-week. It's ridiculous and repetitive, but certainly more fun than the American live-action Spidey series from around the same time.
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: IRON MAN: ARMORED ADVENTURES (Spoilers)

    I'm not sure this show is worth doing a separate thread for each episode, so I'm just going to continue here, and the mod can change the title if that's appropriate.

    This week's episode was okay. Not too bad a story, kind of by the numbers, but some decent banter. There was a coherent reason given why the teen Mandarin aka Gene Khan would end up as part of Tony Stark's circle of friends, so that wasn't too contrived. (And I liked Happy Hogan's "KHAAAAAANNNNNN!!!!!")

    The thing I like best about this show is its look. I think it's improved since the pilot, but the use of color, light, and texture is very good here, making the backgrounds look realistic, especially the cityscapes. Or maybe realistic isn't the word -- there's an almost painted quality to them. It's beautiful, in an understated, slightly grungy sort of way.
     
  17. Captain Craig

    Captain Craig Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Apology for the necromancy but felt it better than starting a new one really.

    I got Armored Adventures Season 1 back about the first of November on Amazon, the entire first season, for $14. Making each episode about $.55 so not a bad gamble I thought.

    I'm up through episode 19, Technovore, and I'm really enjoying it. As Christopher notes in the OP, once you get past the concept of them being teens and a hyperactive Pepper and just go with it the characters and show itself are quite fun. They've taken a page from the Spiderman book by making Tony and Gene(Mandarin) friends ala Peter and Harry Osborn. The season one arc of finding all the Maklaun rings makes for a good idea imo as well.
    A large portion of Iron Man's rogues gallery has thus far been shown and their updates are interesting at times. We've had Black Panther show up and Nick Fury guest star.

    Anyone else had a chance to view this series since the show came out. Is season 2 as strong? I noticed a thread on that. Haven't noticed a box set for all of season 2 yet though unless I've overlooked it.
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I actually haven't felt season 2 was quite as effective as season 1. It's got some interesting arc stuff going on, but sometimes the writing is kind of crude. And the animation isn't great.

    Season 2 is only half-finished; the mid-season finale aired a couple of weeks ago and the second half of the season will air next year. So it's way too early for a DVD release of the full season.
     
  19. Captain Craig

    Captain Craig Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^^^
    Didn't realize that about season 2.
    So the animation style/team is different in S1? I'm ok with how the animation in S1 has turned out.

    The musical jingle for the show is also a bit catchy. I was indifferent at first but it's grown on me. So many shows have omitted a jingle that it's a nice throwback in and of itself.
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    No, the animation style is the same; it's just never been all that good. On the whole, 3D animation doesn't look that good unless it has a lot of time and budget behind it. What I said in the original post was that the 3D animation here was better than on some past shows -- shows that had really bad cel-shaded CG -- but still had a lot of weaknesses.