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Iron Man 2
BLU-RAY disk
10.08.2010 By: Dave Davis
Iron Man 2 order
Director:
Jon Favreau

Actors:
Robert Downey Jr.
Gwyneth Paltrow
Mickey Rourke
Sam Rockwell
Scarlett Johansson

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
With his origin already unspooled to audiences in IRON MAN, cocky billionaire industrialist Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) has revealed to the world that he’s the guy inside the Iron Man armor, and six months later he has “privatized world peace”. But it’s not all girls and glory, and everyone wants a slice of Stark. The US Senate thinks his suit is a weapon and should be handed over to the government, and his military pal Jim Rhodes (Don Cheadle) is in agreement.

Worse, his past comes back to haunt him when electrowhip-wielding Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke) seeks revenge for Tony’s father kicking Ivan’s pop to Siberia after working together years earlier. Stark’s corporate rival Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell) is constantly trying to outgun him. Enigmatic SHIELD honcho Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) is attempting to recruit him for the “Avengers Initiative”. Oh, and using the suit is killing him, so he hands over control of his company to faithful right-hand woman Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) while he desperately searches for a cure. Everything inevitably and explosively collides with grand spectacle and significant property damage at the Stark Expo.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
IRON MAN 2 is an indecisive movie – it tiptoes and trots through themes and threads, without really planting its heavy boots on any particular one. There’s hints of Tony dealing with the celebrity of public superheroism, grappling with government intervention, contending with the “sins” and secrets of his father, juggling his business, social and hero lives, facing his own mortality (in his own inimitable, bratty fashion), touching on the infamous “Demon in a Bottle” alcoholism comic storyline… but no single element gets sufficient focus.

While some comic book sequels arguably turn out better than their first (SPIDER-MAN 2, X2, THE DARK KNIGHT, BLADE II), IRON MAN 2 is in the unenviable position of having to lay cable for a whole future of Marvel movies, and it suffers for trying to be both a sequel and a prequel. As a standalone movie or straight follow-up, it’s often fun but not particularly balanced or accessible (for example, Nick Fury appears halfway through the movie with no introduction whatsoever, so if you’re not a comic reader and didn’t stay through the credits of the first movie, you’d be rightfully confused), nor does it have the same magic as IRON MAN.

While Justin Theroux’s script (as undoubtedly dictated by Marvel) may be scattershot and overly ambitious, director Jon Favreau once again demonstrates his talent for handling actors and action. The setpieces and FX are sizzling, and Downey commands the screen with smarm and charm as he did the first time around. And the expansive secondary cast is universally appealing: the lithe hotness of Scarlett Johansson’s shadow agent Black Widow, the brusque authority of Jackson’s Nick Fury, Sam Rockwell’s wonderfully oily (and ultimately inept) weapons contractor, Paltrow’s sharp and reliable Pepper, Rourke’s steely supervillain… even Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) and bodyguard/driver Happy Hogan (the director himself) get some choice scene-stealing moments.

As Stark proclaims at the opening (and director Favreau reiterates on the commentary), this is about legacy. Unfortunately it’s also about building Marvel’s movie “universe”, and the bricks of this foundation come hurtling left and right, leaving the “real” IRON MAN 2 without much breathing room. As a lifelong Marvel geek, I savored this “universe construction” and its nods -- JARVIS (Stark’s exposition program), Cap’s shield, the sadly underutilized (and trailer-spoiled) suitcase armor, War Machine, references to Avengers and SHIELD, etc. --but I can see how it might not be as satisfying to the casual fan.
THE EXTRAS
Yowza.

The first disc has the glorious HD movie itself, along with a lively alternate commentary track from director Jon Favreau, a through-and-through diehard geek whose enthusiasm is obvious when listening to his insight on the production. The movie can also be watched with a smoothly executed screen overlay called “Footage Scan Mode” that provides additional information about how scenes and objects fit into the Marvel movie universe. This is part of the slick “SHIELD Data Vault” (designed like a high-tech computer interface), which can be accessed independently and contains a ridiculous amount of information and bonus content including dossiers on all the principal and peripheral Marvel characters introduced or mentioned thus far, plus the full clips and virals from the Stark Expo (’74, 2010 and tech being "promoted" at the show) and much more. And there’s also a "Previsualization and Animatics" feature, a pop-up window that shows concept art, storyboards and rehearsals footage during the finished movie.

And then… there’s another entire disc of bonus content, which basically provides a feature length documentary. “Ultimate Iron Man: The Making of Iron Man 2” has four parts, "Rebuilding the Suit" (29 min.), "A Return to Action" (17 min.), "Expanding the Universe" (19 min.) and "Building a Legacy" (20 min.). While each section primarily focuses on what their title suggests, they’re all a blast to watch and should be considered essential viewing to experience both the big-budget filmmaking process from behind the scenes and the camaraderie of everyone involved in the production.

And there are eight deleted scenes with optional commentary from Favreau. These are all worth a watch and some probably would have integrated seamlessly back into the movie (like the alternate opening that better establishes the rapport between Tony and Pepper), although Favs makes a good argument for his edits in the commentary tracks.

But wait, there’s more! The three very cool “Illustrated Origins” featurettes give details from Nick Fury, Black Widow and War Machines comic book histories and how they translate to screen, with interviews featuring Marvel Comics top dog Joe Quesada and other comic talent among the cast and filmmakers. Additional featurettes “Creating Stark Expo” looks at the sets and ideas behind it, “Working with DJ AM” is a brief hat-tip to the late deejay who appears in the party scene, and “Practical Versus Digital” shows how much of those suits were actually in the shots and not rendered in post-production. Plus there’s Concept Art galleries (offering looks at Hammer Drone variants and other countries’ Iron Man suit attempts), some trailers (sorry, no THOR), and the music video for "Shoot to Thrill" by AC/DC. Exhausting!

The third disc contains the standard-definition DVD of the film, plus a digital copy for your computer or portable media player. (But honestly, it’s really a movie that should be enjoyed in hi-def on a sweet big screen.)
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
IRON MAN 2 may be busy and a bit disappointing after the success of the first, but such a phenomenal Blu-Ray can actually enhance the movie (I found that I enjoyed and appreciated it much more on subsequent viewing with the remarkable features taken into account). Either way, the 3-disc package is the very definition of “loaded”, and truly sets a new standard for Blu-Ray releases – you could literally spend the better part of a day sifting through all the treats within.
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8:20AM on 10/14/2010

Ive been cheated--

--I bought the 2 disk edition of the regular DVD version... and after hearing whats on the blue ray (which I didnt see contained the reg. dvd as well) --I feel jipped-- only a few deleted scenes a couple short featurettes... and no blooper reel? Blue rays usually have more content regardless, and is expected, however I expected more from a 2 disk set than just a digital copy of the film. I can only assume that the cheaper 1 disk version of the dvd only includes the first half of the movie-- !
--I bought the 2 disk edition of the regular DVD version... and after hearing whats on the blue ray (which I didnt see contained the reg. dvd as well) --I feel jipped-- only a few deleted scenes a couple short featurettes... and no blooper reel? Blue rays usually have more content regardless, and is expected, however I expected more from a 2 disk set than just a digital copy of the film. I can only assume that the cheaper 1 disk version of the dvd only includes the first half of the movie-- ! :) --of course you can correct me if Im wrong... its late and Im really sleepy.
Your Reply:



+0
8:19AM on 10/14/2010

Ive been cheated--

--I bought the 2 disk edition of the regular DVD version... and after hearing whats on the blue ray (which I didnt see contained the reg. dvd as well) --I feel jipped-- only a few deleted scenes a couple short featurettes... and no blooper reel? Blue rays usually have more content regardless, and is expected, however I expected more from a 2 disk set than just a digital copy of the film. I can only assume that the cheaper 1 disk version of the dvd only includes the first half of the movie-- !
--I bought the 2 disk edition of the regular DVD version... and after hearing whats on the blue ray (which I didnt see contained the reg. dvd as well) --I feel jipped-- only a few deleted scenes a couple short featurettes... and no blooper reel? Blue rays usually have more content regardless, and is expected, however I expected more from a 2 disk set than just a digital copy of the film. I can only assume that the cheaper 1 disk version of the dvd only includes the first half of the movie-- ! :) --of course you can correct me if Im wrong... its late and Im really sleepy.
Your Reply:



12:37AM on 10/09/2010

Stln

S.J. is stolen biological material, taken against will and formed to clones line 200 pieces total. DANGEROUS, DANGEROUS, sign of dangerous criminal activity. Original Scarlett Galabekian future pediatrician doctor, pediatrician nurse license she obtained in 2008.
S.J. is stolen biological material, taken against will and formed to clones line 200 pieces total. DANGEROUS, DANGEROUS, sign of dangerous criminal activity. Original Scarlett Galabekian future pediatrician doctor, pediatrician nurse license she obtained in 2008.
Your Reply:



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