Iron Man appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a good but not great presentation.
Sharpness looked solid. Wide shots could be a smidgen soft at times, but those instances remained rare, so the majority of the flick was accurate and distinctive.
I saw no signs of jaggies or moiré effects, and no edge haloes appeared. Source flaws also failed to become a factor in this clean presentation.
In terms of colors, the flick went with a moderately stylized set of tones. Hues tended to favor either cool blues or subdued ambers. Within those parameters, the tones looked positive.
Blacks were dark and firm, but shadows could be a bit dense at times. Though most of the low-light shots seemed positive, a few were a little too opaque. This was especially true during interiors that involved Vanko, as those could be a bit murky. I still liked the image enough for a “B”, but it wasn’t a killer presentation.
I was more excited by the movie’s aggressive DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack. Despite the movie’s relative lack of action sequences, the audio used the five speakers to create a solid sense of environment, and when it needed to come to life, it did so in excellent fashion.
The set pieces boasted intense material in all the channels, and those elements meshed together well. Everything kicked into higher gear to give us a bold, dynamic soundscape.
Audio quality worked well. Speech was distinctive and natural, without roughness or other issues.
Music seemed bright and peppy, while effects were a highlight. Those elements provided solid clarity and accuracy, with tight low-end and no distortion. The audio added a lot to the experience.
On this two-disc release, we open with an audio commentary from director Jon Favreau. He delivers a running, screen-specific look at story/character subjects, stunts/action, effects, editing and deleted scenes, music and some other topics.
On the positive side, Favreau provides an active, engaging presence who shows a fun personality, and we learn a decent amount about the film’s creation. On the negative side, however, he often does little more than just narrate the movie. We get enough useful material to make this a worthwhile listen, but it still comes with some blah moments.
Under SHIELD Data Vault, we get an interactive supplement. You can view this as a “pop-up” mode that accompanies the movie or check out the features in a separate domain. Because I hate to find interruptions during a film, I selected the latter and found a mix of components.
15 “2D Scans” offer material that would show up on top of movie scenes. These give us brief close-ups of tech items and/or additional details about various concepts. These add some interesting factoids and views.
“Personnel Dossiers” give us biographical data about 21 characters, while “Howard Stark’s Lock Box” lets us take a close look at the items left behind by Tony’s pop. Finally, we locate five “Case Files” with added info about “Project: Iron Man”, “Project: New Mexico”, “Avengers Initiative”, “Super Soldier Initiative” and “Missing: Bruce Banner”. The interface for the “Data Vault” can be clunky, but it offers a nice array of materials.
Disc One finishes with Previsualization and Animatics. This presents a mix of storyboards and animatics as a running feature over the movie. I’m not wild about that method – like I said, I don’t like elements that interfere with the film – but it’s still a potentially fun option.
As we head to Disc Two, the main attraction comes from Ultimate Iron Man, a one-hour, 27-minute, eight-second documentary. It features Favreau, executive producer Louis D’Esposito, producer Kevin Feige, writer Justin Theroux, co-producers Victoria Alonso and Jeremy Latcham, film character designer Ryan Meinerding, director of photography Matthew Libatique, ILM animation supervisor Mark Chu, model shop supervisor David Merritt, physical suit effects supervisor Shane Patrick Mahan, costume designed Mary Zophres, fight coordinator Jonathan Eusebio, stunt doubles Clay Donahue Fontenot and Heidi Moneymaker, stunt coordinator Thomas Robinson Harper, DOD Project Liaison Captain Bryon McGarry, 95th Air Base Wing Commander Colonel Jerry Gandy, property master Russell Bobbitt, stunt rigger Aaron Walters, Director of Historic Grand Prix James King, 2nd unit 1st AD Michael Moore, 2nd unit director Janek Sirrs, special effect supervisor Daniel Sudick, special effects foreman Joel Mitchell, composer John Debney, musician Tom Morello, creator Stan Lee, comic writer Joe Michael Straczynski, filmmaker Kenneth Branagh, Thor co-producer Craig Kyle, and actors Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Garry Shandling, Clark Gregg and Mickey Rourke.
“Ultimate” examines the Iron Man suit and other costumes, story/characters, cast and performances, pre-visualization and photography, various effects, stunts and action, editing, and music.
Like most MCU-related programs, a sense of “bigger/better” hyperbole pervades “Ultimate”. Still, with nearly an hour and a half at its disposal, the show still manages a lot of useful details. Throw in good footage from the production and this becomes a largely satisfying piece.
Note that like Iron Man 2 itself, “Ultimate” comes with a post-credits sequence. Logically, it addresses the movie’s tag scene. It’s not informative, though.
Six featurettes fill a total of 30 minutes, 31 seconds. We find “Creating Stark Expo” (6:44), “Practical Meets Digital” (8:37), “Illustrated Origin: Nick Fury” (6:07),“Illustrated Origin: Black Widow” (3:06), “Illustrated Origin: War Machine” (3:52), and “Working with DJ AM” (2:02).
Across these, we hear from Favreau, Latcham, Feige, Theroux, D’Esposito, Zophres, Moore, Mahan, Alonso, Cheadle, Downey, Merritt, Libatique, Chu, Paltrow, Johansson, production designer Michael Riva, set decorator Lauri Gaffin, ILM visual effects producer Wayne Billheimer, ILM viewpaint supervisor Ron Woodall, ILM digital production supervisor Doug Smythe, ILM associate animation supervisor Rick O’Connor, ILM art director Aaron McBride, model supervisor Bruce Holcomb, Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Joe Quesada, Marvel executive editor Ralph Macchio, Marvel CEO/publisher Dan Buckley, musician DJ AM, and actor Samuel L. Jackson.
We learn about various elements related to the Stark Expo scenes, visual and practical effects, various characters, and the late DJ AM’s involvement. The different clips offer a mix of useful tidbits.
Eight Deleted Scenes span a total of 16 minutes, 50 seconds. The “Alternate Opening” entertains, and some of the others do as well.
That said, the clips tend to feel like padding. They get into a little exposition and some minor character expansions, but nothing essential. I do like that “Opening”, though, and I’m glad to see the rest.
We can view the deleted scenes with or without commentary from Favreau. He tells us about the sequences and why they didn’t make the film. Favreau delivers a bunch of good notes.
11 Concept Art Galleries appear as well. We find “Hammer Drones” (23 stills), “Feebles” (16), “Russia” (4), “Mark IV” (10), “Sets” (2). “Stark Expo 2010” (18). “Stark Mansion” (9). “Mark V” (3), “War Machine” (13), “Whiplash Exo-Skeleton” (3) and “Whiplash Mark II” (26).
Overall, we get a lot of good images here. The interface can feel clunky, though, mainly because the sections include relatively few stills, so we spend a lot of time back and forth with the menu.
In addition to three trailers, we find a music video for “Shoot to Thrill” from AC/DC. It mixes movie clips with band footage to create a wholly forgettable video.
While I wasn’t a huge fan of the first flick, at least I enjoyed it. Unfortunately, Iron Man 2 provides a wholly lackluster sequel, as it bogs down in too many meandering plot points and makes the audience wait too long for its action. The Blu-ray presents good picture and excellent audio along with a nice collection of bonus materials. Though not a bad movie, Iron Man 2 remains the worst of the franchise.
To rate this film, visit the original review of IRON MAN 2