Second only to The Dark Knight, Ironman rules the comic book/superhero genre. This movie was so well thought out, superbly directed, and perfectly acted that it took an historical performance by Heath Ledger to top it. That’s how good Ironman is, and that’s how good Robert Downey Jr. is in it.
Downey Jr. has had a huge comeback, and Tony Stark was the perfect role for him. Not only did he get to play a narcissistic, sarcastic playboy billionaire; he also got to be a narcissistic, sarcastic superhero.
As a war profiteer, Tony Stark made his fortune in weapons. He’s so cocky and sure of himself, but at the same time so naïve as to what kind of catastrophes his weapons really cause. Joking, but being dead serious at the same time, he says “…Yeah, peace. I love peace. I'd be out of a job for peace.”
After his convoy is attacked by terrorists, who are ironically using the very weapons Stark created, they kidnap him. The terrorists force Stark to rebuild his newest and most destructive weapon, the Jericho missile.
Stark, being a mechanical genius, has other plans. After creating a giant metal suit to escape his captors, he vows to vanquish evil. He declares that his company will not build any more weapons.
After perfecting his suit of iron, Tony becomes a vigilante flying halfway across the world to fight the terrorists who once kept him captive.
The problem with a lot of superhero movies is the wrong people are directing them (Ang Lee the first Hulk movie). Here we have Jon Favreau, self-proclaimed geek. It’s about getting the people who will stick close to the source material and Favreau does that here. He makes a fun, fast-paced film that still has room for deep characters. He eschews CGI as much as possible, only using it when it’s absolutely necessary, creating a far more realistic feel.
The set has two discs, one for the main feature, plus a few special features, and the other devoted to the rest of the special features (of which there are many).
Just as you’d expect, the quality of the film is fantastic. The anamorphic widescreen presentation will look great on any widescreen TV. The 5.1 Dolby Digital more than does the sound in this movie justice, making the jet scene as fun to listen to as it is to watch.
The discs come packaged in a normal snapcase with a swinging tray in the middle. The slipcover is interactive with the case itself. A hole is cut out in order to expose the glowing arc-reactor Stark has implanted in his chest. Some people just throw slipcovers away, I don’t know why. But, this one needs its slipcover, because underneath is Tony Stark and on the cover is Iron Man. They complete each other. Take that, all you people who just chuck out slipcovers like pieces of trash.
The Special Features
Man, the special features are lengthy, but worth it. There’s no wasted space here. There are the usual deleted scenes, screen tests, trailers, and even a preview for the new Ironman cartoon coming in 2009.
But, there are some real stand-out special features. “I Am Iron Man” is a seven part making of that runs well over an hour and starts from day one of planning and goes all the way through the wrap-up of shooting and the special effects editing that went on at ILM. This is an enormously comprehensive making of feature. We get to see the fledgling beginnings of the team in a small office building. Then Robert Downey Jr. shows up and steals most of the documentary with his quick and witty remarks. After watching him for a while you wonder if he really had to act at all to be Tony Stark.
Watching them build the suits at Stan Winston Studios was the absolute best part for me. It was nice to see the detail that it took to build these suits, and that the filmmakers actually took the time to do it properly. They could’ve easily rendered everything via CGI, but they didn’t. Most of the time, when you see the suit walking around, it’s real. That amazes me.
The other fantastic special feature is for both the die hard fans and people who know nothing beyond this movie about Iron Man. “The Invincible Iron Man” chronicles the birth of Iron Man, and all his subsequent variations and storylines in comics. It’s great to see all the different artists and storytellers describe Iron Man and why they did what they did. It’s interesting to see how the story evolved and developed over time.
This is a DVD worth owning, no doubt about it. Not only is it a great movie that has almost unlimited re-watch value, the special features are well thought out and offer the viewer more than just a few deleted scenes and an underwhelming gag-reel. The special features here are of the highest caliber and you can tell that they were planning the DVD release from day one. If that’s not enough for you, the making of documentary even chronicles Jon Favreau’s weight loss.
I love this set. It looks great on my shelf and wonderful on my TV. The acting is brilliant, the story is top-notch; overall it’s just a great time at the movies.