Iron Man (Ultimate 2-Disc Edition)

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Rating: PG-13

Starring:
Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man
Terrence Howard as Jim Rhodes
Jeff Bridges as Obadiah Stane
Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts
Leslie Bibb as Christine Everhart
Shaun Toub as Yinsen
Faran Tahir as Raza
Sayed Badreya as Abu Bakaar
Bill Smitrovich as General Gabriel
Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson
Tim Guinee as Major Allen

Special Features:
Deleted And Extended Scenes
- Convoy Ambush
- Craps Table with Tony & Rhodey
- Tony & Rhodey on Stark Jet and Military Ceremony
- Rhodey and General Gabriel
- Tony Comes Home
- Tony Begins Mark II
- Dubai Party
- Pepper Discovers Tony as Iron Man
- Obadiah Addresses Scientists
- Rhodey Saves Iron Man on Freeway
- Rooftop Battle

I Am Iron Man: 7 Part Making Of
- The Journey Begins
- The Suit that Makes The Iron Man
- Walk of Destruction
- Grounded In Reality
- Beneath the Armor
- It’s All In The Details
- A Good Story, Well Told

The Invincible Iron Man: 6 Part History Of The Hero
- Origins
- Friends & Foe
- The Definitive Iron Man
- Demon in a Bottle
- Extremis and Beyond
- Ultimate Iron Man

Wired: The Visual Effects Of Iron Man
Robert Downey Jr. Screen Test
The Actor’s Process
Still Galleries (175 Images)
Iron Man: Armored Adventures
Easter Eggs: Easter Egg Stan Lee
The Onion “Wildly Popular Iron Man Trailer to be Adapted into Full Length Film”

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.35:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Spanish and French Languages
Spanish and French Subtitles
Running Time: 125 Minutes

Synopsis:
The following is from the official synopsis of the film:

“Lift off with high speed, high flying action in this Ultimate 2 disc edition that takes you inside the suit of Marvel’s invincible super hero for the ultimate Iron Man experience!

After surviving an unexpected attack in enemy territory, jet setting industrialist Tony Stark builds a high tech suit of armor and vows to protect the world as Iron Man. Straight from the pages of the legendary comic book, Iron Man is a hero who is built – not born – to be unlike any other!”

“Iron Man” is rated PG-13 for some intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, and brief suggestive content.

The Movie:
I am a long time “Iron Man” fan. In fact, “Iron Man” is one of the first comics I truly started collecting back in the ’80s. I came on board around the time Iron Monger debuted, actually. So it was an incredible treat to see the comic finally brought to the big screen. It was an even bigger treat to see it done so practically flawlessly. I would say this film is on par with the first “Spider-Man” movie.

A large part of the success of “Iron Man” is due to the performance of Robert Downey Jr. He perfectly captures the cocky playboy attitude of Tony before being captured. He’s sexist, egotistical, and inconsiderate, yet equally charming, funny, and likable. Very few actors could pull that off, yet Downey does it. He’s equally convincing when Stark has his moral compass shifted and decides to become a superhero. Downey injects a ton of humor into his performance and it’s never over the top. This is especially apparent in scenes where he’s testing the Mark II armor components. He also has great chemistry with Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts. The two have a professional relationship that’s walking the fine line of being a romantic one. The constant flirting mixed with mutual respect makes this a bit more satisfying than the tortured romance between Mary Jane and Peter Parker. They are both supported by an excellent cast. Jeff Bridges seems to have a blast being evil as Obadiah Stane. Terrence Howard could have easily been a stuffy military stereotype as Jim Rhodes, but we briefly get to see him lighten up here and there and make his character more three-dimensional. You have to give credit to Jon Favreau for letting all the supporting cast members have moments to shine. Everyone from the hot reporter in the trailers to a SHIELD agent have memorable scenes. Favreau even manages to give a robotic arm some personality that would make WALL•E jealous.

That’s the other key to “Iron Man’s” success – the humor. There are frequent laughs in the movie but never so many as to turn it into comedy. And it’s not just Downey’s one-liners that contribute to this. For example, the opening scenes showing Stark’s gleefully decadent playboy lifestyle offer up lots of laughs. How can you not get a kick out of a prim and proper corporate jet that turns into a bachelor’s fantasy mid-flight? Or the seemingly constantly available bar that travels with Tony? These little touches really make the movie an enjoyable experience.

Another thing that makes “Iron Man” such a success is the action. The live action suits, beautifully created by Stan Winston Studios, are perfectly merged with the CGI from ILM. With the Mark I armor we’re treated to an intense battle in a cave with the terrorists. The practical suit of armor is as clunky, and lethal, as you’d expect. Later we see the Mark II armor in test flight. But it’s the Mark III red and gold armor that’s most impressive. When it finally goes into battle, the fanboy in you will leap for joy. We see Tony battling gunmen, tanks, jet fighters, and finally Iron Monger. It all leaves you wanting to see much more.

I think the final key factor of success with “Iron Man” is that it will please comic book fans while still being accessible to people who have never read the book. There are so many touches here and there that comic geeks, such as myself, appreciate. There are hints of War Machine, SHIELD, and more. The story remains remarkably faithful to the source material while just tweaking things enough to make it more modern. The origin story is almost identical to the comics but it’s set in Afghanistan rather than Vietnam. Obadiah Stane is now an employee of Stark Industries rather than a rival weapons manufacturer, but his character is still very much the same. The list goes on and on. I can’t tell you how happy I am to see the old Tony Stark again. I hate the new ‘jerk’ Iron Man that Marvel has been pushing on us since Civil War. Old school rules.

On the down side, I only have very minor gripes with this movie. I have to really stretch to find anything that didn’t work.

I would note that the music (other than “Back in Black” and “Iron Man”) did not stand out in the film. There’s no recognizable Iron Man theme like there was for Superman or Batman. In fact, there were many points in the film where the music sounded like it came from a TV show rather than a major summer blockbuster. There’s room for improvement here in a sequel.

I would also warn people that the trailers and TV commercials spoil many of the best parts of this movie. I watched the SDCC footage, the online clips, the trailers, and commercials. If you’ve seen all that, there’s very little left new for you. But I can’t fault the marketing department too much for this. They had to sell a comic book movie to people that had never heard of Iron Man before. If that’s what it takes to make this a hit and get a sequel made, I can live with it.

Finally, my 6-year-old has been waiting a year to see this movie, so I took him to it without screening it first like I usually do. (He’s such a big fan that he said, “The kids at my school say I can’t talk about Iron Man anymore.” Yes, he’s hard-core.) There were a few scenes where I covered his eyes (Stark romping with the hot reporter) and a bunch of scenes where he covered his eyes on his own (Stark being captured by the terrorists, people being hurt by Stane). In the end he loved it, but parents should pay heed to the PG-13 warning. There’s nothing in here worse than what you see on primetime television, but I’d say 8 or 9-year-olds would have no problem with this film.

The Extras:
Like the offerings for most genre films, this DVD has a good collection of bonus features. Here’s the detailed breakdown

Deleted And Extended Scenes

- Convoy Ambush – In this scene, we see Stark’s convoy getting ambushed. Rhodey happens to be riding along in this version and enters the battle. (How he avoids getting captured isn’t explained.) Stark also grabs a machine gun and starts firing, but is still ultimately injured.

- Craps Table with Tony & Rhodey – We see Stark bet $3 million on one game, then lose. There’s more interaction with Rhodes and we get a little explanation as to why they’d test a new missile for a demonstration in a war zone.

- Tony & Rhodey on Stark Jet and Military Ceremony – We see a bit more of the stewardesses flirting with Rhodey, then him looking hung over as he arrives at the base in front of his superiors. This is followed by a formal military ceremony which was cut from the film.

- Rhodey and General Gabriel – The General challenges Rhodey for searching for Stark after 3 months after his disappearance, but ultimately praises him for his dedication.

- Tony Comes Home – Tony enters his home for the first time after being captured and we’re introduced to Jarvis. Stark trashes 1300 e-mails (that’s all he got after 3 months? I get that much spam a day!) then settles in.

- Tony Begins Mark II – This scene shows a bit of Stark manufacturing the Mark II armor using steel cutters, the robotic arm, and other tools.

- Dubai Party / Pepper Discovers Tony as Iron Man – This deleted scene was shown online. It shows Stark, a little out of character for his post-hostage self, jetting to Dubai, partying with women, and flying off in the armor to get alcohol (a hint of Demon in a Bottle?). Pepper then catches Tony after the party lounging in the armor. This scene really doesn’t fit anywhere in the film, so it’s obvious it was deleted after they reworked some scenes.

- Obadiah Addresses Scientists – Jeff Bridges gives a rousing, pro-military, anti-terrorist message to the scientists building the Iron Monger armor. The scene seems to give his role a bit more of a political slant than in the theatrical version.

- Rhodey Saves Iron Man on Freeway – In the grand finale, Rhodey rams a car into Iron Monger and saves Tony. Iron Man then rips open the roof of the car to save Rhodey. I’m not sure why it was cut other than for pacing.

- Rooftop Battle – After Iron Man has defeated Iron Monger, there’s a brief moment where Obidiah Stane is trapped in the armor and dangling over the edge of the roof. In a typical “Do I Save Him Or Not” moment, Stark reaches out to save Stane.

I Am Iron Man – This is a 7 part series of “making of” featurettes. It has all your usual stuff you find in these videos. My favorite was seeing the creation and testing of the Iron Man costume. (Stan Winston is even briefly interviewed.) You start to appreciate how heavy the Mark I costume was.

The Invincible Iron Man: 6 Part History Of The Hero – These videos cover the comics. It starts with the origin of the character and then goes through the various eras of stories from Demon In A Bottle to Ultimate Iron Man. There are a lot of familiar faces for comics fans – Stan Lee, Joe Quesada, Bob Layton, John Romita Jr., and many more.

Wired: The Visual Effects Of Iron Man – The special effects of the movie are featured here. We get to see the work of ILM, The Orphanage, and The Embassy. One of the highlights here is seeing the original test footage for Iron Man created by ILM. It was certainly impressive. The blending of live action and CG doubles was also quite cool as you get to see side by side comparisons between the two.

Robert Downey Jr. Screen Test – We get to see a goatee-less Downey Jr. test in the scene where he’s confronted by the reporter he ends up seducing. He’s a little more stiff than he was in the film, but it’s interesting to see. Another test scene is with him in the Humvee with the troops and yet another with him and Rhodey after the jet chase.

The Actor’s Process – In this featurette we see Favreau, Downey, and Bridges rehearsing the early scene between Stane and Stark. You see them working out the dialogue, the body language, and more. It is certainly a peek into the actor’s process.

Still Galleries (175 Images) – This includes concept art, technology, unit photography, and posters.

Iron Man: Armored Adventures – Here you’ll find your first look at the animated Iron Man series. It looks like it features a younger Tony Stark and more of an anime look.

The Onion “Wildly Popular Iron Man Trailer to be Adapted into Full Length Film” – I saw this when it first appeared online, so it’s fun to see on the DVD. It’s a mock news feature on how they’re creating a movie based on the wildly popular Iron Man trailer.

The Bottom Line:
“Iron Man” is everything you’d hope a comic book movie would be. It’s a great start to a new franchise and a fantastic start for Marvel Studios.

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