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DVD Review – Ultimate 2-Disc Edition Iron Man Blu-Ray
It’s not every day that you have a movie that is not only technology-wise something you would use to show off your blu-ray player and 1080p television, but it is also one of the best comic book adaptations done to date. The first few minutes before the title of the movie is even shown, right up until the credits at the end of the movie, this is a ride of humor and action. It is as close to perfection for a comic book adaptation movie as one could expect. From the first scene you feel like this comic book movie could be real, that the world of Tony Stark is our current America. We are given a story, with a setting, that creates an intense atmosphere for the audience.
All good movies need good actors and Iron Man was no different. Not to worry though it had a cast to carry the story, that was assembled with each characters background in mind. I am going to touch on few of the larger roles in the movie and how the actors fell into their character. Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts is a home run. Gwyneth looks better than I have seen her in the movies in a long time. She has the smart, sexy look and attitude that many women try to accomplish but usually fall flat on, and plays Potts with the same style. Terrence Howard lends his unshakable style to Col. James Rhodes, another great casting choice. Terrence pulls off the role beautifully with his calm demeanor laced with a bit of humor behind it, which works out well as a nice compliment to the main character. Jeff Bridges plays the part well, even if I found the Obadiah Stane storyline to be a bit underwhelming. The real gem though is Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, and since his character carries the storyline that is a plus. Downey Jr. works the calm exterior of a man used to being in the spotlight to the nighttime playboy womanizer to perfection. Based on the script the Tony Stark character has to pretty much carry the film with more than a few solo scenes, as well as most of the second act. Downey Jr. hits each one of them, he is Iron Man, that about sums it up. Paltrow makes you believe that Pepper is the always perfect with everything in order assistant. She also brings a believable sexual tension to Pepper and Stark as the storyline suggests, with the help of Downey Jr. and his acting skills as well. I do not want to forget about Shaun Toub who plays Yinsen in the first act though as he holds his own.
Nitpick: The Stan Lee Cameo – for me while I do understand the thought behind it, it detracts from my immersion in the film. When I was watching I felt Robert Downey Jr. was Iron Man and that the world that the studio created was real. Lee’s cameo takes me out of that experience and jolts me by saying, “This is just a movie.” There are better ways to remind us of Stan’s contribution to the Marvel Universe.
The blu-ray quality itself was one of the best I have seen, from the desert (the sand looks like you are there) right up to the final fight scene, it was all crisp. Some areas of the film in the cave are not as sharp as maybe they could have been, but it was a cave, so we let that slide. This is a disc that you want to bring out to show off your 1080p television which you just mounted on the wall. When Iron Man is flying over the city, with the dark night sky and bright city lights, mmmmm. The audio keeps in stride with the video and this also gives you material to show off your audio system as well. You would be missing out a fair amount if you just watch this through you television’s speakers, keep that in mind.
The extras on Disc 1:
- Hall of Armor
- The Invincible Iron Man
- Deleted/Extended Scenes
- BD Live
The Hall of Armor was well done, and was pretty darn cool to get into some of the information on what the suits are capable of. The Invincible Iron Man extra was a bunch of interviews with the comic creators, all of which were interesting and insightful. I particularly enjoyed this section with all the information that is contained. When you have a comic book movie the amount of background material is staggering, so this filled in some gaps that some people may have. Remember they put out at least one issue every month for Iron Man, that makes for a lot of information. My favorite deleted scene was the one that shows Stark throwing a party at one of his mansions. It really gives you more insight into the playboy that Stark is. As with most deleted scenes that may give a bit of insight, but overall they would throw off the flow of the film, hence the reason they fall into the Deleted Scenes category. The BD-Live (I was using a Playstation 3) is a bunch of questions that are memory based or story based. They were ok, not something I would play over and over, but going through them once was neat. Plus you have the ability to create a user account, which I assume saves your status and allows you to show your scores online?
- I Am Iron Man
- Wired: The Visual Effects of Iron Man
- Robert Downey Jr. Screen Test
- The Actor’s Process
- The Onion “Wildly Popular Iron Man Trailer to be Adapted into Full Length Film”
- Theatrical Trailers
- Image Galleries
I am Iron Man – which was a full piece on the making of the movie and the stages of production. This show really gives you that behind the scenes look, it was all encompassing. WIred: The Visual Effects of Iron man talks to each of the studios involved in the CGI portions of the movie, for the geek, this was very cool. The screen test, was a screen test, but Downey Jr. nails it as you would expect. The Actor’s Process is scene rehearsals with the cast. The Onion segment was well done as a parody (if not a little too long of a joke) and the trailers and galleries are just as stated.
This is the first film self-financed by Marvel Studios and they should be proud of their freshman effort. They have to satisfy the old Iron Man fans and comic book geeks with some sort of mesh of a story line that works for everyone. They do just that in their first effort with a prime example of this being is the interaction that S.H.I.E.L.D. has with the story, it is nice for the geek, but not a big plot point for comic noob. We are in a prebuilt world with millions of fans and a ton of history and it all seems to come to a compromise that works. The story has enough action, drama and humor to make the masses happy, and Downey Jr. bring the snarkness and playboy attitude to perfection. Something struck me as I was watching this movie, and it was real item branding. It almost got to the point of looking a little bit like a commercial with some of the items highlighted, but at the same time it made me feel like I know these brands, they exist in my world also, so no deduction there. From the story standpoint a gripe I had was that there are a few throw away characters from the story standpoint. One example would be Leslie Bibb, who has a nice film resume, is cast as a reporter that could be left out. It is not that she did a bad job with the part she was given, just that her character was not really needed. The CGI work that was done by the studios involved was some of the best to date, they worked to make everything look real and seamless and that took some real effort with a gadget fest like this movie. Hats off to them. Iron Man is my favorite super hero story so far, watch out other caped crus…other super heroes.
Some interesting bits of information – Captain Americas shield in Tony Stark’s lab (from what I read more of a hey cool, then a story line theme) and if you stay past the credits you get a nice Samuel L. Jackson as Nick fury cameo, and the mention of The Avengers. Also something about the name of the terrorist group and the Mandarin, but I am just not that geek yet.