WonderCon 2019: Marvel Rising: Heart of Iron Review

Marvel Rising: Heart of Iron had its world premiere at WonderCon 2019 and today it becomes available on the Marvel HQ YouTube channel at 4 pm PT. The 44-minute animated special introduces Riri Williams, a.k.a. Ironheart, and also bring the Marvel Rising story arc involving Hala the Accuser to an action-packed conclusion.

Riri is struggling to fit in at college, where she’s younger than all of the students, and trying to find a way to help others using her genius-level intellect. When Hala the Accuser attacks the college’s lab and kidnaps Riri’s best friend, Riri finds inspiration in her hero Iron Man. Along with the Secret Warriors, she hatches a plan to defeat Hala and save the day.

Heart of Iron pulls off a difficult job of putting the focus on Riri while still giving the Secret Warriors space for their own development. Daisy Johnson is unsure of her confidence in leading the team as they sometimes fumble and falter during missions, especially when that happens right in front of Captain Marvel. Squirrel Girl and Ms. Marvel are juggling their ever-present fangirl love for the Avengers, like Captain Marvel and Iron Man, while also trying to develop into noteworthy heroes on their own merits.

Riri is the perfect addition to the team. She needs a safe and welcoming space to explore her intelligence and desire to do good while also surrounding her with likeminded people who encourage and support her. Almost instantly, Squirrel Girl and Riri connect over their interest and abilities with technology. It seems certain that a friendship with Ms. Marvel will follow. But what Heart of Iron also wisely does is show Riri as a complete character. She has insecurities familiar to many teenagers and emotional baggage that is difficult to explain to new friends. In the Secret Warriors, she finds no judgment, only acceptance and understanding. These are young people who know her struggles.

If there any critiques of Heart of Iron it’s that the plot takes a while to truly get going. The first confrontation with Hala happens quickly but the second, bigger battle is slow to develop. With a 44-minute run time, Heart of Iron could have benefitted from a tighter story and less of the prolonged build-up to action. That said, the development of individual characters, particularly Daisy, and the relationships between Riri and the Secret Warriors was excellent. When the battle with Hala did get going, it was fun to see the Secret Warriors using their powers (both physical and mental) in tandem with one another. It was a fantastic example of the power of teamwork and friendship, and that is ultimately what Heart of Iron is about.

Starring Sofia Wylie (Ironheart), Ming-Na Wen (Hala), Kim Raver (Captain Marvel), Dove Cameron (Ghost-Spider), Tyler Posey (Inferno), Chloe Bennet (Quake), Cierra Ramirez (America Chavez), Milana Vayntrub (Squirrel Girl), Kathreen Khavari (Ms. Marvel), Kamil McFadden (Patriot), Dee Bradley Baker (Lockjaw/Tippy-Toe), Mick Wingert (Iron Man) and Melanie Minichino as (A.M.I.), Marvel Rising: Heart of Iron premieres today, Wednesday, April 3, on Marvel HQ.

Stephanie Coats