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Iron Man's Cartoon Tarnishes His Name, Armor

Illustration for article titled Iron Mans Cartoon Tarnishes His Name, Armor

New animated series Iron Man: Armored Adventures premiered in the US last night, finally answering the question "What if they made a cartoon about Iron Man that completely lost everything that made the movie good?"

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It has to be said, Armored Adventures is so different from the Iron Man movie - or the original Iron Man comic, for that matter - that you have to wonder why anyone even bothered calling it Iron Man in the first place. Yes, the hero is Tony Stark, and yes, he's a genius who builds himself a suit of armor to save the day... but this is a teenage Stark, whose heart problems come from a plane crash that kills his father, as opposed to being damaged by something he had a hand in creating. Rhodey becomes a teenage best friend, and Pepper a high school student with the hots for Tony, and almost everything becomes much more generic as a result - certainly, the relationships between the characters could come from a million other cartoons, and there's nothing in the flat banter here to match the swagger of the movie.

Illustration for article titled Iron Mans Cartoon Tarnishes His Name, Armor
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It doesn't help that the animation - CGI that tries to look like flat, hand-drawn traditional animation - is so bad. It's the worst of both worlds, with characters saddled with the stiffness and awkward motions of CGI but lacking the texture and detail that computer animation can distract with. It's not that the show looks ugly, it just looks as bland and lost in translation as the writing sounds.

It's difficult to say just how badly Armored Adventures misses the mark, because it's just so different from - and suffers so much in comparison to - last year's movie, which was probably the best portrayal of the character in years. Perhaps if you'd never seen the movie, then this would at least seem passable...? But if you had - or, if you read Matt Fraction's impressive take on the character in the monthly Invincible Iron Man comic - then there's no way to look at this than a dumbed-down version made all the worse by the shoddiness of the process. The Nicktoons audience should complain at being patronized so lazily.

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DISCUSSION

I hear about the failure of this serie for month now.

I even know from the art director himself that he is distancing from his project, knowing half through that it would suck. Why ? Because i'm french, and the cg production is made in France, by a studio called Marathon.

Here you gonna say, meh ! those French ruining everything (insert typical american sarcasm about gayness/surrender).

But no, the script and top decisions were made by stupid teenage authors from Canada, who co-produces the show with the studio Xilam, famous for producing clone-looking rubbish. It is from the canadians and their "cool and fresh respect your mother" attitude that originates the wreckage that this show has become.

Why only canadians had the power on this show ? Because they had the money (animation is always dismissed in french subventions), therefore Xilam, backed by their clients, the canadian networks, was free to ask for all the crappy changes they made.

Marathon (the french studio) is not exempt of defaults, they too make wet-blanket adventure cartoons, since in the eighties french politicians found interest in bashing the emerging manga culture, almost killing all the studios of the time, marathon being one of their deformed offspring.