Iron Man (2008) - Ultimate 2-Disc Edition

Genre(s): Action / Adventure / Drama / Science Fiction
Paramount || PG13 - 125 minutes - $39.99 || September 30, 2008
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2008-09-17


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Jon Favreau
Writer(s): Stan Lee & Don Heck & Larry Lieber & Jack Kirby (characters); Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby and Art Marcum & Matt Holloway (screenplay)
Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges, Gwyneth Paltrow


Theatrical Release Date: May 2, 2008


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Deleted/Extended Scenes
  • I Am Iron: 7-Part Documentary
  • Wired: The Visual Effects of Iron Man
  • Robert Downey Jr. Screen Test
  • The Actor's Process
  • The Onion Spoof
  • Image Galleries


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

IMAGE

Taken from my original review:

Iron Man is the latest Marvel-based comic book to grace the screen and after a couple, let’s say, less than satisfying adaptations (Fantastic Four, its sequel, Punisher, Spider-Man 3); it seems that they’ve broken the streak. Is Iron Man one of the best superhero movies ever made? Not even close (for the record Superman ’78, Batman Begins, X2 and Spider-Man 2 are my favorites). But it is at the very least an entertaining bit of cinema even with some glaring flaws with the story and characters, one in particular.

Tony Stark (Downey Jr.) is the CEO of Stark Industries, a company that makes and sells high tech weapons around the world. While in Afghanistan, after demonstrating a new missile system, his convoy is ambushed and nearly was killed. He’s kidnapped by some multi-ethnic group (probably a reference to some kind of organization in Marvel-verse) and his life is saved by a fellow captive. Unfortunately for Stark, in order for him to stay alive, he must use... some glowing thing that prevents the shrapnel from killing him. A side effect of this device allows him to gain extra power which, shall we say, will become useful later on. The reason he’s been kidnapped was to build the sophisticated missile system but Stark has other plans. While under the watchful eye of a security camera, he and the fellow captive design a suit that could utilize the device and thus an iron suit was made for a daring escape.

Back at home after months in captivity, Stark takes a 180 view on his company’s policy of weapons manufacturing and devotes much of his time to developing and improving his new invention which allows him to fly and fight some baddies with relative ease. Obadiah Stane (Bridges) isn’t too keen on Stark Industries going away from making weapons and has his own plans in motion behind the scenes.

Origin films in general tend to suffer when it comes to pacing. In the superhero origin films I’ve seen over the years, even the best of them, take time to develop the main character and their powers (or identity in the case of Batman). Iron Man is no different. However, those pivotal 20 or 30-minutes can go a long way not just for the rest of the movie but for the franchise.

Iron Man is a fun movie, plain and simple. Is it one of the greatest superhero movies of all-time? Not really. It has glimpses especially when Robert Downey Jr. is onscreen but, like any other movie I guess, it has its flaws. For instance, Iron Man’s first flight, much like Superman’s, was awe striking. You feel the excitement and energy throughout the sequence and really just get into the movie. Problem is that’s the high point of his adventure. Normally you would want the climax of the film to pale in comparison to anything that has come before and thing is, it did not. Was it cool? Absolutely. But while it wasn’t as underwhelming as the end scene of say, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, it still was an every so slight letdown. But that’s really only a minor setback to an otherwise solid action/superhero movie.

The heart of this film lays right with Robert Downey Jr. Nobody working today has that quirky sense of humor like RDJ and he fits into the role of Tony Sark/Iron Man like a glove and alongside Christian Bale as Batman and Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, is perhaps the best cast superhero ever, that I can say with certainty. Without Robert Downey Jr., I believe this would’ve been, at best, an average movie. This is where casting worked perfectly.

Iron Man also boasts a solid supporting structure with Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts, Stark’s personal assistant, Terrence Howard as best friend Jim Rhodes and Jeff Bridges as Stark Industries second-in-command, Obadiah Stane. In regards to Paltrow and Howard, was either of their calibers of talent needed? Not really. It seems the filmmakers are setting up for the sequels as neither character has much impact on the film. But it never hurts to get the best and here they are great compliments to RDJ. (Edited to add, indeed Howard as Rhodes has a bigger part in the sequel(s))

As for Jeff Bridges as Obadiah, as great presence as he has onscreen, I wasn’t too thrilled with the character himself. It’s nothing that Bridges did wrong but he felt a bit... bland, maybe on the same scale as Lex Luthor, a villain who has become overrated over the years. Is Obadiah a good counter against Stark/Iron Man? Sure, but I can only hope that the sequels will present a better nemesis and more at stake for Iron Man than this one.

I realize I’m coming off as someone who didn’t care for or even dislike Iron Man, but that is not the case. This is first and foremost, a fun action-adventure and a hell of a way to start out the summer. Robert Downey Jr. is fantastic in the lead role and the story, even with its flaws, is entertaining. When it comes to cameos or setting up a mythos for their movie adaptations, nobody does it better than Marvel Comics and for fans of the comic book, they sprinkle in plenty for not only sequels but whole new franchises.

Unfortunately I forgot entirely about a certain cameo that was to come after the credits (caught it through other resources) so if you haven’t seen it, or forgot and plan on going again, stick through for a very cool last scene, it’s worth it.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Paramount/Marvel Entertainment presents Iron Man on DVD with a 2-disc set. Disc one has some previews and a promo for the upcoming “Iron Man: The Animated Series” along with 11 deleted/extended scenes (24:00), most of which weren’t that great or anything, but good to see them included.

It is the second disc that contains the meat of this DVD...

I Am Iron Man (108:57) – Feature-length ‘making-of’ takes us from pre-production on Iron Man through the production process of shooting on various locations finally to post-production and the premiere. Jon Favreau gives plenty of input talking about his fears or just general things about shooting. While not even on the same playing field as The Lord of the Rings, it is still a fantastic documentary.

The Invincible Iron Man (47:00) – Not nearly as fascinating as “I Am Iron Man”, this is like all the other Marvel DVDs that have come before (Daredevil, Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, etc) that provide the origins of the comic book featuring interviews with the writers and their thoughts on Tony Stark/Iron Man.

Wired: The Visual Effects of Iron Man (27:00) is a cool featurette that goes into how some of the effects were done and getting them done correctly. Three effects houses were brought on to do various shots. ILM, The Orphanage and a smaller company called The Embassy worked on different shots for the film.

Finally, there’s also a Robert Downey Jr. Screen Test (6:10), The Actor’s Process (4:10) featuring Downey Jr. and Bridges rehearsing a scene, a funny news spoof called The Onion “Wildly Popular Iron Man Trailer To Be Adapted Into Full-Length Film” (2:38) and some galleries (Concept Art, Tech, Unit Photography and Posters).



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

IMAGE

While the picture doesn’t look fantastic, it was still crisp and clean for a DVD transfer. It is presented in its OAR of 2.35. Colors are spot on and I did not notice any dust, scratches or other imperfections.

On the other hand, I was a little disappointed with the audio. Yes, the sound effects were good, but overall, I did not receive that oomph I expect from a summer blockbuster like this. Also, it seemed the bass was uneven as at times I had to adjust it to get that right. The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is certainly fine, but it’s hardly the best I ever heard.



.::OVERALL::.

Iron Man is one hell of a ride. It’s a great movie that, save for a couple suggestive scenes, the entire family can enjoy (unlike The Dark Knight, it does not push the PG-13 boundaries). Although I don’t feel this is one of the best superhero movies ever made, Robert Downey Jr. alone is a solid argument to say it belongs with the others. That said, these Marvel movies still need to work on their super villains, because in this case, I never felt any sort of threat from Obadiah. The DVD is fantastic, however, with several great featurettes and deleted scenes. The only thing oddly missing is a commentary from Jon Favreau; I only hope he and Robert Downey Jr. sit down for one someday.