Fans are up in arms, but I think they have a point
The Iron Giant was an important movie to me growing up. I always loved the animation style, and although it’s a movie that’s known for being a tear-jerker, it earns it with some excellent writing. It’s a shame that Warner Bros. Animation shut down in 2004, because they had some truly iconic films back in the day. I don’t know anyone who wasn’t touched by the story of friendship and pacifism that we saw from The Iron Giant. I think a lot of us who grew up with the film feel a bit protective over it because of how earnest it was — or at least, that’s how I feel. That’s why I’m up in arms about the Iron Giant kicking some ass in MultiVersus, and I know I’m not the only one who feels that way.
After seeing our favorite giant robot on the game’s roster during the cinematic trailer, fans (myself included) took to Twitter to discuss the validity of his role in a Smash-style platform fighter. PC Gamer reached out to MultiVersus‘ director Tony Huynh for a chance to, uh, set the record straight:
“So, first of all, we’re starting with this being an alternate universe,” said Huynh. “Characters are pulled in from all over. And also if you understand the Iron Giant lore, there are multiple Iron Giants. And it’s an assembly line of different Iron Giants.”
“So that being said, the backstory on the [MultiVersus] website is that Iron Giant is learning from Superman, who is his idol. And Superman uses his powers to protect people. And our game is inherently focused on co-op and protecting your ally.”
happy that multiversus is going to include my favorite quote from the iron giant (1999) pic.twitter.com/rlc5SlgBPq
— niki grayson (@godsewa) May 16, 2022
I’m not sure if I’m buying it. Especially after seeing how they used Iron Giant in the Ready Player One movie, which had its own discourse when it came out back in 2018.
It kind of feels like he’s just an iconic, beloved character they can draw upon who also happens to be a cool giant robot decked out with weapons. The themes of the movie he was in almost 25 years ago don’t seem to matter, if they need to fill out another slot in the roster, I guess. I also don’t believe the whole Superman argument either, because who would the Iron Giant be protecting in this scenario? Maybe a teammate at best?
So I obviously care way too much about this, because at the end of the day it’s just supposed to be a fun fighting game. I think the heart of the issue for many fans lies in the fact that the movie really set itself apart for having a plot and characters that went against the grain of mindless action that tends to plague Hollywood blockbusters. It dared to make a clear anti-war and anti-violence stance in an industry that makes a spectacle of these things, and so seeing a character that serves as a symbol of peace — or even an alternate reality version of him — doesn’t feel quite right when he is being reduced to another fighter in a roster. It’s more about what the character means than the Iron Giant on the roster being the exact same one from the movie or not.
— Melo (@LetItMelo) May 17, 2022
Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox now. MultiVersus looks like a ton of fun, and my qualms with this one aspect of the game certainly won’t keep me from trying it out. Since we don’t know his move set yet, here’s also a chance that the Iron Giant could be a defensive character only, which would be a fun way of honoring the character’s legacy. As unlikely as it is, I’ll be holding out for that scenario.