One of the hottest brands in entertainment today, Marvel has been combining its characters for years, joining together their unique personalities to create a deadlier fighting force than the members can gather on their own.  Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United presents an animated look at two very popular members of the Marvel universe. While this direct-to-video production certainly can’t compete with any of the recent live-action films, it offers something for the Iron Man and Hulk fanatics among us.

I used the word fanatics, because as a fan of both characters (but not a fanatic), I really wanted to love Heroes United, but it’s too clunky. The basic premise is a simple one: a villain named Zzzax (voice of Dee Bradley Baker) who is threatening to destroy the world. Iron Man (Adrian Pasdar) and Hulk (Fred Tatasciore) must take him out before he can execute his dastardly plan. It’s left up to Iron Man after Hulk—filled with gamma ray energy—is kidnapped, in order to use one of his energy sources in the creation of Zzzax. Iron Man must rescue the big, green guy before it’s too late.

The dialogue is annoying throughout. It seems as though every other sentence ends in an exclamation point. It’s annoying, the jokes aren’t funny, and the usual Marvel wit is missing. Worst of all, the CG looks like it was produced years ago; the character movements are jerky and uneven. DCU Animated Universe films have been consistently well produced, enjoyable affairs, and Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United doesn’t approach those efforts.

In fairness, Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United will likely entertain superheroes youngest fans, but for older fans it will likely be one and done. Marvel has produced such quality films and games; I expected a lot more from them.

Despite my dislike for the animation style, the 1.78:1 aspect ratio Blu-ray looks pretty solid. The computer animation looks clean and crisp. The colors are bright and vibrant. There are no digital anomalies to speak of.

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix will make your subwoofer work. There are eruptions, explosions, and other big noises throughout the runtime. The surround might not be used as much as expected, but the differe4nt sounds are still handled well. Dialogue is clear throughout, and based in the center channel.

English SDH, Spanish, and French subtitles are available.

The following extras are included:

  • Marvel Mash-ups (HD, 2:02 each) Three mash-ups must be watched individually featuring Iron Man/Shield, Hulk/Betty Ross, and Hulk/Li’l Hulk.
  • Marvel Team-Up with Ryan Penagos and Joe Quesada (HD, 11:37) Marvel executives Ryan Penagos and Joe Quesada discuss the Superhero teamups; their favorites, issues that came up, and more.
  • DVD/Digital Copy: disc and code sheet enclosed.