Iron Man Ultimate 2 Disc Edition (Blu-ray)
Starring Robert Downey Jr, Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges, Gwyneth Paltrow
Paramount Home Video
Release date: September 30, 2008
When Iron Man first blasted into theaters, I was not so sure what to expect from the movie. I am a huge Robert Downey Jr. fan and always had a special place in my heart for Terrence Howard, but things that look this good on paper always end up either being a tolerable film to a train wreck. We now know that Iron Man was a huge success in the box office, becoming on of the top grossing movies of 2008. Now on DVD and Blu-Ray, can Iron Man once again grab viewers and propel this into their DVD collection?
Robert Downey Jr. plays the title character and his alter ego Tony Stark, billionaire inventor/industrialist. On a trip to Afghanistan to demonstrate his latest weapons to the U.S. military, rebel terrorist group The Ten Rings attacks Stark’s convoy and kidnaps him. It is during his captivity that he discovers the weapons his created to better mankind might also be placed in the hands of those who wish to destroy it. Unable to live with this fact, Stark creates a suit of armor to fight those who use his weapons to hurt innocents as the Invincible Iron Man.
If you are one of the few people who have not seen this action-packed superhero movie, then you are missing out on one of the best comic book movies ever made. This movie has it all: action, comedy, drama, and to top it all off, it has some damn fine acting.
Downey’s portrayal of Tony Stark is just amazing. Playing his character as part Howard Hughes and part George Clooney, his performance is nothing short of mesmerizing. A lot of people in the industry weren’t sure if he could carry a movie anymore, but they could not have been more wrong. Downey literally brings this comic book character to life with his acting chops, showcasing all the good and bad qualities that Stark possesses that fans have come to know and love. Above all else, he has great chemistry with the cast. Whether it is cracking jokes with James Rhodes (Terrence Howard) or flirting with assistant/potential love interest Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), Downey brings out the best from his cast and they do the same for him.
While a certain Dark Knight in the box office bested Iron Man, I still believe that Iron Man was the better film of the two. To me, Iron Man was a just a better all around movie. Watching it a second time, there was not one moment where I was bored. I was literally on the edge of my seat when Tony Stark dons the Iron Man suit for the first time and felt Stark’s pain when he realized his technological gifts to mankind were being used for evil. This movie made me feel like a kid again, a sentiment I’m sure the fans of the first Superman film felt when they saw that movie for the first time. This was just not a great comic movie: it was a great film, period.
The movie is definitely worth a purchase, but does the DVD extras deliver the goods as well? For the Blu-ray edition, the film looks great as always. The picture is crisp and clear even on my outdated TV screen so I am sure it would look even better on a TV set equipped to broadcast Blu-ray. Those who decide to purchase the Blu-ray disc receive two extra features: an Iron Man trivia game you can download online and a Hall of Armor feature, where fans can browse through all the armors featured in the film. Both features are interesting, especially being able to see the all the armors close up, but should not be the reason you shell out that extra cash for the Blu-ray Edition.
The rest of the extra features are standard in both Blu-ray and Standard DVD edition. There is the “I am Iron Man” featurette, highlighting the comic history of the title character. Fans of the movie might not be so interested in seeing the progression of the character from the time of his birth in the late 1960s to his more prominent role in the Marvel Universe but as a comic fan, it was a trip to see the writers and artists who use to put out Iron Man on a monthly basis reflect on their stories. It was especially satisfying to see Warren Ellis talk about his Extremis storyline, the story that reinvents Iron Man for the millennium.
Other extras include a Robert Downey screen test, trailers, and a Wired special highlighting the visual effects of the movie. A special hand must be given to the 7-part documentary on the movie. Shot in the vein of a video diary, the documentary highlights the pieces and procedures needed to create a blockbuster movie. It is insightful and extremely in depth and should be seen at least once just to get a sense of how many cooks are needed in a kitchen when it comes to creating a big budget movie.
Whether you are comic book fan or a movie fan, you need to pick up Iron Man on DVD. It is by far, one of the best movies made in 2008. Those with a home entertainment center equipped to play Blu-ray should consider picking up the Blu-ray Edition but if not, the regular DVD edition will do just fine. Either edition will sure to please any Iron Man fan.