|Site locale: United States||
Best Blu-ray Deals
Best Blu-ray Deals, See All the Deals »
Top deals |
Billionaire industrialist and genius inventor Tony Stark is kidnapped and forced to build a devastating weapon. Instead, using his intelligence and ingenuity, he builds a high-tech suit of armor and escapes captivity. When he uncovers a nefarious plot with global implications, he dons his powerful armor and vows to protect the world as Iron Man.
For more about Iron Man and the Iron Man Blu-ray release, see the Iron Man Blu-ray Review published by Greg Maltz on September 11, 2008 where this Blu-ray release scored 5.0 out of 5.
Starring: Robert Downey, Jr., Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges, Gwyneth Paltrow, Leslie Bibb, Shaun Toub
Director: Jon Favreau
» See full cast & crew
Iron Man Blu-ray Review
Paramount sends a strong message to film fans, Marvel maniacs and rival studios alike with a high-quality 2-BD set that's a nearly perfect package.
Reviewed by Greg Maltz, September 11, 2008
His footsteps shake the floorboards and rattle the windows. His metallic gleam bursts from the screen. A comic book hero is brought to life--or at least to Blu-ray disc, which is the next best thing. The good news for home theater aficionados is that Iron Man is not just a good on Blu-ray. It's great. The instant disc one loads and the menu first comes up, it's easy to see that Paramount's two-BD set exudes quality. The animated figure and menu navigation are impressively designed and gorgeously rendered in 1080p. But the real fun starts when the film is underway and the impact of the video and audio definition becomes fully apparent. It will plant a smile on the face of even the hardest-to-please home theater elitist. We're talking a near-reference level title here. One that is destined to be shown off to friends and family, office buddies and neighbors. A BD that will no doubt become demo material for countless HDTVs and Blu-ray players in electronics store showrooms everywhere. Paramount did it right. And Iron Man is a fine film--an instant classic (and I don't use the term loosely). Even the bonus material defies criticism. All there is to do is sit back and enjoy.
The story centers around Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.), an engineering genius turned celebrity who inherited the chief executive position at his father's weapons company, Stark Industries. The Marvel comics story of Stark is brought into modern times as the film begins in Afghanistan, where Tony travels to pitch Stark Industries' most advanced missile system to military brass. While en route back to the air base across the rugged Afghan terrain, Tony's convoy is attacked by Talibanesque insurgents armed with Stark weapons. The terrorists, led by the fearsome Raza (Faran Tahir) and bearded Abu Bakaar (Sayed Badreya), quickly kill the U.S. troops protecting Tony and then take him hostage. But not before critically injuring him in an explosion that sends tiny shards of shrapnel into his chest. Tony is revived by another kidnapped engineer, Yinsen (Shaun Toub), who rigs a device to magnetically shield Tony's heart from the deadly bits of shrapnel. Holed up in a cave in the mountains of Afghanistan, with his chest hooked up to a car battery and the terrorists demanding that he build them the missile he had developed for the U.S. military, Tony instead plans his escape with Yinsen. They attempt to build an armored suit fitted with flame throwers and other weapons. But Raza realizes the hostages are not working on a missile and he confronts them, giving them one more day to finish the project. This action all takes place in the first few minutes of the film.
To avoid spoilers, I will not go into details on the rest of the plot. But Tony does come out of the experience in Afghanistan with a new outlook on Stark Industries, after seeing weapons he developed to protect America being used by the enemy against him and U.S. troops. Tony's drive to take Stark Industries in a new direction puts him at odds with Stark second-in- command Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges) and military liaison Colonel James "Rhodey" Rhodes (Terrence Howard). With no one to trust but his faithful assistant Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), Tony retreats to his state-of-the-art, lavishly outfitted workbench in the basement of his Malibu mansion. There he methodically perfects the design he started in Afghanistan--a weapon that is more personal, more intelligent, more rugged, powerful and reliable than any he has previously designed. One that will never fall into the wrong hands. Or will it?
Much of the success of Iron Man is attributable to Robert Downey, Jr. and director Jon Favreau. At first I was skeptical of Downey in the lead role, but after seeing his performance I realize there are few actors who could have pulled it off as skillfully. The Tony Stark character has many complex qualities. He is intelligent, quirky, egocentric, stubborn, charming, funny and spoiled. Downey himself often comes off as haughty and obnoxious but--like many of his more successful performances--he uses his own characteristics to help fill the role. More importantly, Downey's comedic talents keep the film fun and fresh. The supporting cast, including Bridges and Paltrow, also turn in strong performances. The way Favreau captures the action is stronger still. Combat sequences have an intensity and realism that bring the story to life and pay off the plot. While not showing gruesome aspects of violence, Iron Man is a wall-smashing, body-crushing thrill ride. The special effects are top notch. Motion and flight are captured very well. Explosions and weapons technology are pure eye candy for gadget heads, your average comic book reader and even James Bond fans. From the surface of the Iron Man titanium-gold alloy suit to the CAD graphics that deliver wow factor throughout the film, Favreau has created a graphic treasure trove to support his rich narrative. Audiences were thrilled with the film's launch in May and they will be thrilled again with the Blu-ray release.
Iron Man Blu-ray, Video Quality
When I saw Iron Man at the local AMC, it appeared to have heavy grain in many scenes, such as the action taking place in Afghanistan, that lent a news-like realism to those sequences. But the 2.40:1, 1080p video on the Blu-ray is cleaner and clearer--nearly noise-free. What happened? Either the film was subject to digital noise reduction to produce the BD content, or it was sourced from video that was later post-produced to look grainy for the theatrical release. Either way, the picture on the Blu-ray appears highly defined and life-like, with a vibrance and resolution that escalate it to reference quality. I will not deduce points because Paramount opted to produce the Blu-ray differently than the theatrical release. I wish that was the case, as I have no aversion to film grain and want to see film as the director intended. But who can blame Paramount for pursuing a cleaner look after Warner received so much criticism for the grain in 300, for example. Whatever the reason for the difference between the theatrical and Blu-ray video, there is no question that only a rarified few BDs have better picture. Detail may be lacking a bit in some scenes, but it's mostly during motion, when the camera and/or the objects in the picture are moving.
Watch the scene near the beginning, when the reporter wakes up in Tony's Malibu mansion. From showing her in the living room, the camera pulls away about a half mile off the coast to show the estate high on a cliff above the Pacific Ocean. The camera then pans to the right. In all of this, the video appears vibrant, but a touch soft due to the camera motion. What is more notable is the warmth of the colors, with lifelike earth tones and good depth to the picture. Darker scenes are equally impressive, and often more detailed. Watch the cave scene when Tony first regains consciousness after his injuries. Black level is excellent and there is a good contrast balance. Skin looks especially lifelike, and fabrics show good detail. Amazingly, the picture looks clean without losing definition, depth and palpability. I often felt as though the screen was a window and I could simply step into the action in the film.
Iron Man Blu-ray, Audio Quality
With a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track, the audio performance of Iron Man features the most aggressive LFE content this reviewer has ever heard. I wouldn't call the audio "bass-heavy", because it maintained a good balance. It's just that an incredible amount of material is assigned to the subwoofer, which effectively shook the room. We're talking prodigious levels here. If you share a wall or your floor is someone's ceiling, you may seriously want to consider turning your subwoofer down. From each time Iron Man took a step, to blasts of munitions in the hills of Afghanistan, to jet engines achieving supersonic speed, the LFE content maintains an important partner to the action on the screen. So too are the other channels. The front left and right prove almost as important as the center in the mix, with the rears mainly being used for ambient noises. This created a wide soundstage that is not as immersive as other action films making more use of the surround channels.
The audio engineering is overall excellent, with live action appearing wide and powerful while noises coming from plasma screens in Tony's home, for example, sounded narrow and constricted. It was an interesting mix--one that works very well with the film's style. I especially liked that it avoided gimmicks and ping-pong stereophonics, although the subwoofer content pushes the envelope. Fans of deep bass will certainly like it. The film's orchestral score appeared a bit squashed dynamically, but most will enjoy its warm sound. I could not pick out good definition in the massed strings or wind instruments but the score is only a small part of the soundtrack. Voices and effects sound detailed and resolve convincingly--often in a realistic manner. I would have preferred a PCM track, but I do tend to prefer TrueHD to DTS- HD Master Audio that sometimes have unnatural sounding treble. So I was pleased that Paramount did not stick me with the latter.
Iron Man Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Iron Man is the first Blu-ray I have reviewed where there was possibly as much effort made on the supplements as on the film itself. Normally I review Warner titles, which tend to repackage DVD bonuses and do not provide an HD upgrade. This two-BD set from Paramount leaves everything else I've reviewed in the dust, bonus-wise. Every bit of it is worth checking and, and fans of the film or comic book character will find it immensely rewarding. It's cool, informative, well organized and it looks great. The bonus features include:
Blu-ray Disc 1:
Friends & Foes
The Definitive Iron Man
Demon in a Bottle
Extremis and Beyond
Ultimate Iron Man
Blu-ray Disc 2:
The Suit that makes the Iron Man
The Walk of Destruction
Grounded In Reality
Beneath the Armor
It's All in the Details
A Good Story, Well Told
One "easter egg" has been found. From the main menu scroll down to BD-LIVE and press the Right arrow on the remote. A schematic of Iron Man's hand will appear. Now press Enter to see a humorous interview with Marvel's Stan Lee and Robert Downey, Jr. Both appear to be having a good time on the red carpet.
Iron Man Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Overall, Iron Man is the best two-disc package available on Blu-ray. The film is fun, the audio is mighty impressive and I can't in good conscience fault the video quality enough to deduct points. It may not be the most detailed picture I've ever seen, but I believe that could easily be accounted for by the camera work and CGI integration. Robert Downey, Jr. and the special effects give Iron Man a fresh, unique vibe that sets it apart from most action or superhero films. There are enough surprises and plot twists to keep any audience on their toes; enough humor to keep any audience chuckling; enough character development to satisfy the critics and Stark nerds; and enough effects and action to get the blood pumping. Iron Man gets my highest recommendation and Paramount--a studio that not long ago snubbed Blu-ray consumers--gets my thumbs up on a job very well done.
Iron Man: Other Editions
Iron Man Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Blu-ray Sales, Sep.27-Oct.3: Iron Man 2 Is Number 1 - October 7, 2010
Iron Man 2 was hands down the top-selling title on Blu-ray during the week ended October 3, outselling runner-up Get Him to the Greek by 14 to 1. According to Nielsen VideoScan, a record 52% of the total disc sales of Iron Man 2 came from the Blu-ray editions (not ...
• Iron Man Sells Half Million Units on Blu-ray - October 9, 2008
According to retailer reports, the Blu-ray version of 'Iron Man' sold 260,000 copies on its first day of sale - a record for the Blu-ray format - and has sold over 500,000 copies in its first week of sales, becoming the highest selling Blu-ray title of the year. ...
• Iron Man Destroys Blu-ray Retail Records - October 8, 2008
According to various retail sources, on average, 20% of all 'Iron Man' discs that were sold last week were on the Blu-ray format. For Internet-based stores, that percentage climbed to an astounding 50%. While final unit sales data has yet to be reported, it is ...
» Show more related news posts for Iron Man Blu-ray
Iron Man Blu-ray, Forum Discussions
» Show more forum discussions for Iron Man Blu-ray
Iron Man Blu-ray Screenshots
Back to Iron Man Blu-ray »
Trending Blu-ray Movies
Trending in Theaters
This web site is not affiliated with the Blu-ray Disc Association.
All trademarks are the property of the respective trademark owners.
© 2002-2013 Blu-ray.com. All rights reserved.