Wednesday, October 2, 2013


Marvel's Mouse-led marketing mavens have manufactured a marvelous movie tie-in featuring a metal man's mechanical major domo.

I enjoy Iron Man 3 a little more every time I see it, and watched it twice last weekend, once on my iPad while travelling, and on BluRay at home. I'd seen an article about Marvel's JARVIS: Second Screen Experience ipad app and downloaded it on a whim, and let me tell you, it is a genuine treat.

Paul Bettany, the voice of Tony Stark's virtual valet, Jarvis (Just A Rather Very Intelligent System), voiced 20 additional hours of dialogue for the app, which would be a novelty even if all it did was tell you the time. Jarvis can tell you the current weather and temperature, what time the next appointment in your calendar is, and post updates to your Facebook, if you are into that sort of thing. And it does it all via voice actuation to boot.

It is supposed to be able to serve as a voice-controlled remote for your BluRay player as well! but that functionality never worked for me, unfortunately.


The app also comes with a number of ringtones you can email yourself so you can have Bettany's bemused tones announce, "incoming call; unfortunately, we cannot ignore the inevitable or the persistent."

For the fanboys among us though (and fangirls too; Fenya brought Jarvis to school today to show her friends), there is a neat Easter egg hunt tied into the BluRay. Jarvis contains a sort of fieldguide to the various armours depicted in the film, but you have to unlock them in order to view them. By navigating around the menus and watching some of the featurettes and the Marvel One-Shot Agent Peggy Carter (which is quite enjoyable in its own right), a type of QR code is displayed on your television. You then scan this in and Jarvis will announce that you have decrypted a number of the suits, needing 13 codes to unlock all 42 variants. Glee!


If you've seen the climax to IM3, you may already have a favourite suit, either by look, or effect, or perhaps just by name, like 'Heartbreaker' and 'Red Snapper'. If I had to pick one, it would probably have to be the heavy-lift model most people mistook for the Hulkbuster configuration from the comics, nicknamed 'Igor'.

Oiler fans might like the colour scheme of 'Disco' though...

There is some interesting colour text behind many of the suits too; a deep sea diver load out, high altitude, high speed variations, and a non-armoured exoskeleton called 'Bones', but the most intriguing to me is this one, designed for operations in space.

There was a rumor (almost certainly nonsense), that the original post-credits sequence for Iron Man 3 was to show Tony Stark somehow receiving a distress transmission for outer space that he would then respond to in a suit like 'Starboost'. This would then serve as the first tie-in to the more 'Cosmic' Marvel Universe, and lead directly to 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy.

Thankfully they opted not to do that; in addition to being a bit ham-handed, it totally would have undermined the emotional finale to the film. I mean, it's no secret that "Tony Stark will return", it says so right in the end credits, but that turnaround would have been a little too abrupt.


As mentioned, the app is free; having Paul Bettany read you the weather is charming, and it's quite a bit of fun overall for the nerdy among us. If you do happen to get it, at some point you will want to push Jarvis's 'button' repeatedly for a bit. Give him a chance to reply, then push it again. He will eventually warn you not to...but you really should anyways, just to see what happens.

Ooh, and also, when you unlock the last set of suits, you get a little 'Classified' folder, which will show you the teaser footage from this year's Comic-Con where they revealed the subtitle of Avengers 2: Age of Ultron .


It is nothing short of ridiculous for me to get excited about this: there is no new dialogue, no substantial reveals, but hearing Hall H go absolutely batshit when they get just a glimpse of the evil robot's iconic helmet, well, it's pretty hard not to get dragged along.


Still, the joke's on you, Marvel/Disney marketing geniuses: I was gonna see it anyways. Hah!


Thanks for the cool app, though.


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