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Iron Man (DVD Review)

21 Sep, 2008 By: John Latchem

Iron Man

Street 9/30/08
Box Office $318 million
$29.99 DVD, $39.99 two-DVD set, $39.99 Blu-ray
Rated ‘PG-13’ for some intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence and brief suggestive content.
Stars Robert Downey Jr., Jeff Bridges, Terrence Howard, Gwyneth Paltrow.

What turned out to be a pretty good year for superheroes kicked off back in May with this witty, fun and topical take on one of Marvel Comics’ lesser known core characters. Iron Man is the first movie financed by Marvel Studios, and with all due respect to Spider-Man, it’s the best film based on a Marvel character.

Robert Downey Jr. turns in a brilliantly effortless performance as Tony Stark, a billionaire weapons merchant who experiences a literal change of heart when he is captured by terrorists. Guilt-ridden over his contributions to war, and forced to wear an electromagnet in his chest to stay alive, he builds a weapons-laden suit of armor to combat evil, pitting him against his business partner (Jeff Bridges) and setting the stage for some flawless special effects sequences.

In terms of extras, the DVD presentation is nearly perfect, lacking only a commentary. Just as the box art for the two-disc set reflects the duality of Tony Stark, the content is neatly divided between the discs into that which reflects the world of the film, and that which delves behind the scenes.

The centerpiece of the second disc is the seven-part feature-length documentary I Am Iron Man, which chronicles all the aspects of making the film, up to the premiere. It’s somewhat amusing to see director Jon Favreau fret about the potential success or failure of the film, considering its subsequent and quite enormous box office take.

This idea of the movie’s potential is explored to humorous effect in a short video clip from The Onion, which pokes fun at fan obsession with trailers by reporting Paramount’s plans to adapt the Iron Man trailer into a feature film.

Disc two also offers a featurette that focuses on the special effects, and a documentary about the history of the character. Downey’s audition and some rehearsal footage is thrown in for good measure. Hardcore fans will consume these extras rabidly, leaving the single-disc version to the casual fan.

Accompanying the film on the first disc are some deleted scenes that shouldn’t be classified as anything special, but will appeal to fans looking for more material that takes place in the world of Tony Stark.

The Blu-ray version adds to these extras an interactive guide to the armor suits depicted in the film, and a BD Live trivia game for fans.

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