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Iron Man 3(2013)
Marvel's "Iron Man 3" pits brash-but-brilliant industrialist Tony Stark/Iron Man against an enemy whose reach knows no bounds. When Stark finds his personal world destroyed at his enemy's hands, he embarks on a harrowing quest to find those responsible. This journey, at every turn, will test his mettle. With his back against the wall, Stark is left to survive by his own devices, relying on his ingenuity and instincts to protect those closest to him. As he fights his way back, Stark discovers the answer to the question that has secretly haunted him: does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man?
For more about Iron Man 3 and the Iron Man 3 Blu-ray release, see Iron Man 3 Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on September 17, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Starring: Robert Downey, Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Paul Bettany, Jon Favreau
Director: Shane Black
» See full cast & crew
Iron Man 3 Blu-ray Review
No one puts Tony in a corner...
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, September 17, 2013
Pop quiz, hot shot. When was the last time you walked out of the third film in a trilogy with a grin on your face? Trilogy cappers are notoriously tough nuts to crack. More often than not, even the best Part IIIs are divisive, and only a select few deliver something truly special. Even rarer is the fabled Trilogy Topper: a film that outclasses its predecessors and stands tall and proud as the unmistakably best of the bunch.
The simply but aptly titled Iron Man 3 falls somewhere between divisive third-parter and undisputed trilogy topper. Would-be filmfans responded with equally impassioned jeers and cheers when the eagerly anticipated, billion-dollar summer blockbuster debuted in theaters; particularly the disenfranchised comicbook readers among you who were none too fond of filmmaker Shane Black and co-writer Drew Pearce's controversial but fearless take on The Mandarin, the foremost villain in Tony Stark's corner of the Marvel Universe. Iron Man 3 is a far better film than its detractors give it credit, though, quite a different film than the one most will experience during their first viewing, and one that does indeed best each Iron Man that comes before it. (IM3 handily breezes past the god-awful Iron Man 2 while narrowly inching by Jon Favreau's original Iron Man.) Is it a flawless fling? A perfectly fantastic hurrah? For that matter, is it a more effective Iron Man 3 than Joss Whedon's The Avengers? No, no and... no. For all its bravado and arc-wrapping aspirations, Black's wry action-comedy is more IM4 than IM3, and works better as a solid one-off or a second trilogy opener than a proper close to Marvel's Phase One Stark saga. That said, you aren't likely to have this much fun, laugh this hard or applaud this loud while watching any other comicbook spectacle this year.
With Loki's Chitauri invasion thwarted, billionaire inventor and recent world savior Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) retreats to his Malibu mansion and begins work on a never-ending series of armors culminating in the Mark XLII, a suit capable of assembling itself, piece by piece, around its wearer with the flick of a wrist. Haunted by memories of the attack on New York and plagued by insomnia and panic attacks, Tony isn't sure what sort of man he is anymore, or if he even has what it takes to be the cocksure hero he once was. Clarity begins to come, though, when The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley), a deadly international terrorist whose past is shrouded in mystery, stages a string of bombings across the U.S., one of which lands Stark friend and bodyguard Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) in the hospital.
Impulsively challenging The Mandarin to literally bring the fight to his doorstep, Tony inadvertently invites a world of hurt upon himself, live-in girlfriend Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), resident artificial intelligence J.A.R.V.I.S. (voiced by Paul Bettany), botanist and former one-night-stand Dr. Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall), and on-again, off-again best bud and fellow shellhead, Rhodey Rhodes (Don Cheadle), whose government-owned War Machine has been painted red, white and blue and redubbed The Iron Patriot. Tony is not only forced to go on the run from The Mandarin -- without a fully functioning suit of armor, no less -- he finds himself at odds with the enigmatic villain's allies and underlings: Advanced Idea Mechanics founder Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce), his fire-slinging right-hand henchie Eric Savin (James Badge Dale), hot-headed assassin Ellen Brandt (Stephanie Szostak), and a small army of super-powered soldiers granted their extraordinary abilities by a volatile virus dubbed Extremis.
Iron Man 3 is Marvel's snarkiest, Starkiest Iron Avenger actioner yet, with more one-liners and pop culture references per square inch than any Marvel movie to date. Upon first viewing, the comedy is almost too pervasive, occasionally distracting from the PTSD drama and Tony's ongoing evolution. Some will also deem its Extremis-wielding baddies as being rather generic, its kidnap-the-president plot derivative, and its Tony & The Kid subplot unnecessary. (Unnecessary now, that is. Young Ty Simpkins' Harley Keener might just become future space-faring hero, Nova. Stay tuned, Marvel maniacs.) But IM3 is only a blazingly brash action-comedy the first time around. Further viewings retain the beats and beatdowns quite nicely, yet also reveal how much is going on beneath the surface, how ingenious its villains (and their best-kept secrets) really are, how much more Downey Jr. and his castmates have brought to the table this time around, and how much more complex and nuanced the story and, in some regards, the underlying sociopolitical commentary tend to be. All that with Tony spending (in retrospect) a startling amount of time out of his armor. (Full armor anyway. One of the highlights of the film is Stark's makeshift home improvement store "suit," followed by his impromptu boot/gauntlet/uzi combo. Mark XLIII and Mark XLIV anyone?)
Yes, IM3 is more of a bridge between The Avengers and (presumably) The Avengers: Age of Ultron than a true trilogy capper. And yes, its second-act gotcha gag can most definitely be a shock to the system. (You know the one. If not, brace for a big laugh... or a big groan.) But Iron Man 3 is more than the sum of its parts, and far more than its flaws, banter-laden tomfoolery, and sleight of hand will strike the film's biggest critics. The difference? We, the popcorn-movie horde, have become so used to being inundated with exposition and hand-holding that it's become much too easy for us to overlook visual clues and cues that aren't painted red or highlighted by a lingering zoom. When did we start expecting movies to giftwrap and deliver everything they have to offer in one sitting? Why don't we revisit blockbusters multiple times, attempting to unearth more and more subtleties with each subsequent viewing? Why do I continue to be surprised that Iron Man 3 is such a wildly different film each time I watch it? Even supposed plot holes and bizarre decisions suddenly seal up and make more sense as time passes, at least for those willing to consider the possibility that Black and Pearce know what they're doing. (Those with nagging doubts to the contrary should give the filmmakers' audio commentary a listen and then take another stab at the film. It makes for a whole new IM3.)
Above all, Black's run at Iron Man is a fittingly dazzling, vulnerable and, let's just say it, daring introduction to the Starkverse 2.0 and the new stakes of the post-alien invasion Marvel Cinematic Universe. Nearly as big, bad, funny and grand in scale as the most thrilling MCU extravaganzas (even without flying Leviathans, dimensional portals, or Green Behemoths smashing puny gods), it's a fine farewell to the standalone Iron Man movies... if we're to believe reports that Downey Jr. will part ways with the MCU after Avengers 3, without starring in any further IM one-shots. With the right script -- and the return of Downey's pal Shane in the director's chair -- anything can happen, of course, and I doubt many would complain. Black and Pearce infuse Iron Man 3 with a sense of immediacy, urgency and spontaneity (out of the armor and in), as well as an enviable dose of wiry wit and unassuming ease. Like Stark, the third Iron Man has style and swagger to spare, yet still has the innate sense to sacrifice self for the greater MCU good.
Iron Man 3 Blu-ray, Video Quality
Iron Man 3 takes to the skies with a top tier 1080p/AVC-encoded video transfer that looks every bit as impressive as a recent summer blockbuster presented in high definition should. For all its fiery reds, armor-plated golds and war-ravaged metal hues, John Toll's dark, dusty palette favors real-world colors and dirty, dingy ironworks, foregoing the shine and sheen of other superhero outings for a leaner, meaner but no less striking hero's quest. Primaries surge and relent perfectly at Black and Toll's whim, skintones are nothing short of lifelike, shadows are satisfying and natural, and delineation is revealing. Detail, meanwhile, is a sight to behold in and of itself. Rather than a garishly crisp, digital sharpness, IM3 flaunts a more absorbing, filmic clarity, free of significant grain but altogether convincing and cinematic. (There are instances of exceedingly minimal noise when lighting is subdued, but none of it proves problematic.) Edges are clean and refined, textures are wonderfully resolved, and the entire image boasts a consistency other presentations would kill for. Add to that an absence of significant macroblocking, banding, aliasing, ringing and other irritations and you have a high caliber transfer and encode.
Iron Man 3 Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Not to be outdone, Disney's DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 surround track is the lossless equivalent of a fleet of flying, weaponized armors. The LFE channel goes big and bold, without ever pushing too hard, losing control, or letting up the gas. Explosions, repulsor blasts, thrusters, tearing metal, crumpling steel, clanking suits of destruction, Extremis-powered punches... all backed by incredible power and tremendous presence. All the while, the rear speakers provide constant, ever-reliable backup, with laser-guided directionality, whiplash cross-channel pans, and a fiendishly immersive soundfield. Dialogue and dynamics are capital-P perfect as well, with grounded, crystal clear, masterfully prioritized voices and effects, well-balanced action sequences, and carefully infused music. Not a single criticism sullied my notes. By my estimation, Iron Man 3 is armed with a faultless AV presentation that easily stands as one of Disney's best of the year.
Iron Man 3 Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The same crowd who declared The Avengers' arguably slim supplemental package to be an offense against Marvel moviedom will also be disappointed with Iron Man 3's supplemental payload, which is admittedly lacking in the production documentary category. However, the only major disappointment here is the near-certainty that Marvel is holding back content for the inevitable release of the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase Two box set (that Marvel Studios president Kevin Fiege has already confirmed is in development). Otherwise, IM3 boasts a solid selection of special features, including a short film, an audio commentary, a pair of featurettes, deleted scenes and more.
Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy Combo Pack Contents (Subject to Change): The initial combo pack release features a slipcover (with the original pressing), a BD-50 disc, a standard DVD copy of the film, and a downloadable digital copy. Please note: the Iron Man 3 digital copy is iTunes compatible.
Iron Man 3 Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
You gotta hand it to Robert Downey Jr. The man owns the Marvel Cinematic Universe at this point, and it's hard to imagine it without him. Still, Tony Stark will live on with or without the snarktastic funnyman, and if Iron Man 3 is any indication, there's plenty of room for more films, more stories, more villains, more iron-heroics and more Avengers-free missions to come. It's Disney's Blu-ray release, though, that steals the show here, with a perfect AV presentation born from a terrific transfer and a powerhouse DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 surround track. Yeah, yeah. Some extra supplemental punch would have added even more value to the package. But with an audio commentary (one of the best I've heard in some time), Disney Second Screen experience, Marvel One-Shot short, two featurettes, sixteen-minutes of deleted and extended scenes, and more, it's difficult to feign too much disappointment. Iron Man 3 comes highly recommended.
Iron Man 3: Other Editions
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• Iron Man 3 Giveaway & Interview: Robert Downey Jr., Don Cheadle a... - September 23, 2013
Blu-ray.com and Walt Disney Home Entertainment are offering two members an opportunity to win a copy of Iron Man 3, which arrives on 2D and 3D Blu-ray on September 24th. Along with the contest, we have an interview with co-screenwriter Drew Pearce and actors Robert ...
• This Week on Blu-ray: September 24-October 1 - September 21, 2013
For the week of September 24th, Disney and Marvel Studios are bringing their blockbuster Iron Man 3 to Blu-ray. Other titles include the first season of NBC's Hannibal, a restored Halloween Blu-ray, Scream Factory's Psycho II, South Park: The Complete Sixteenth ...
• Iron Man 3 Blu-ray - June 28, 2013
Walt Disney Home Entertainment has officially announced and detailed its upcoming 2D and 3D Blu-ray releases of director Shane Black's mega-blockbuster Iron Man 3 (2013), starring Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, and Don Cheadle. The two releases will be available ...
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