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Jon Favreau
Robert Downey Jr., Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges
Writing Credits:
Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby, Art Marcum, Matt Holloway

After being held captive in an Afghan cave, billionaire engineer Tony Stark creates a unique weaponized suit of armor to fight evil.

Box Office:
$140 million.
Opening Weekend
$98,618,668 on 4105 screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG-13

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English Dolby Atmos
English Descriptive Audio
Spanish Dolby Plus 7.1
French Dolby Plus 7.1
Italian Dolby Plus 7.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 125 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 8/13/2019

Disc One:
• “The Invincible Iron Man” Documentary
• Deleted/Extended Scenes
• “Hall of Armor” Interactive Gallery


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Sony UBP-X700 4K Ultra HD Dolby Vision Blu-ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Iron Man [4K UHD] (2008)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 8, 2020)

With a huge budget and a prime early May release date, it came as no surprise that 2008’s Iron Man did well. However, few expected it to soar as high as it did. The film dominated at the box office and ended up with a US gross of $315 million, a number strong enough to allow it to end up as the second-biggest flick of 2008 behind The Dark Knight.

That meant its take surpassed another high-profile Paramount release, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and it even allowed the previously self-destructive Robert Downey, Jr., to become an “A”-list star.

12 years later, we also recognize Iron Man as the start of the massively successful Marvel Cinematic Universe. Back then, though, it was just a popular action flick – who knew what a behemoth the MCU would become?

Downey plays Tony Stark, a wealthy industrialist who specializes in military hardware. On a trip to Afghanistan to sell a new weapon called the “Jericho”, Stark’s convoy comes under attack and he ends up in enemy hands. He also suffers severe heart damage due to shrapnel and needs to improvise to stay alive.

Another prisoner named Yinsen (Shaun Toub) assists in these efforts and also helps when the terrorists command Stark to build the Jericho for them. While he pretends to do so, Stark and Yinsen actually construct a large metal suit. Stark wears this weapon-laden outfit to escape and take down much of the terrorist camp.

Led by Stark’s friend and military liaison Colonel James “Rhodey” Rhodes (Terrence Howard), the US military finally finds Stark and what’s left of his suit and they rescue him. When he returns to the States, Stark declares that he’ll dismantle his weapons unit, a statement that both stuns mentor/long-time partner Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges) and sends Stark Industries stock into a tizzy.

Thus begins Stark’s quest to reinvent himself as a superhero called “Iron Man”. The flick follows his path and related concerns.

As regular readers will know, I’m a sucker for superhero movies. I grew up as a major comic book fan.

Heck, as a teen, I even finagled some interviews with Marvel artists in New York. While I don’t follow comics like I did back in my youth, I maintain a soft spot for the material, and I continue to dig movies based on those characters.

Though I never counted Iron Man as one of my all-time faves, I liked that series and I looked forward to the film. Given the movie’s consistently positive reviews, I went into it with pretty high expectations and thought this could be one of the great superhero films.

It’s not. It’s good, to be sure, and it comes with many strengths. Iron Man provides one of the best casts ever assembled for a superhero flick – to that point, at least.

In addition to Downey, we find fellow Oscar nominee Howard along with actual Oscar-winners Jeff Bridges and Gwyneth Paltrow. Strong supporting casts certainly aren’t unheard of, of course.

For instance, Dark Knight featured Morgan Freeman, Heath Ledger, Gary Oldman and Michael Caine, among others. Circa 2020, Knight can claim five Oscar winners. Still, the actors of Iron Man provide real depth, and all of the performers do well for themselves.

In particular, Downey excels. The drunken, glib, woman-chasing Stark isn’t exactly a stretch for him, and the part almost seems autobiographical at times. Nonetheless, Downey doesn’t just go on cruise control, and he needs to tap deeper when the character changes paths as the movie progresses. Downey does well with Stark’s superficial nature but he also gives the role heart and soul.

Iron Man comes with excellent production values, some good action pieces, and enough humor to give it its own personality. And yet… I like the movie, but I just don’t love it.

As I watch, I continually wait for it to crank into that higher gear achieved by classics like Dark Knight and Spider-Man. It just doesn’t happen.

As I mentioned, there’s a lot to like about Iron Man, but it simply fails to dazzle. Director Jon Favreau came from a comedy background, and that remains his strength.

He infuses the film with some funny moments, and they seem less self-conscious than usual. Normally action flicks integrate laughs in an awkward manner, but Favreau fits the gags into Iron Man with ease.

The director feels a bit less at home with the action scenes, and perhaps that’s why Iron Man seems a bit light in that regard. Actually, the movie includes more slam-bang material than I recalled from my theatrical screening, but those scenes don’t become as significant as I would expect from a flick of this sort. After all, we go to superhero movies for big battle/action scenes, so they go noticed when they fail to materialize.

The absence of a real villain also hurts. No, Iron Man doesn’t need a personality as dynamic as the Joker or the Green Goblin to soar, but it suffers from a void in that domain.

While Iron Man has foes, the film includes no dominant antagonist, and that makes it less focused than usual. It’s certainly not a fatal flaw, but it creates less dramatic tension than I’d like.

I really wanted to love Iron Man, just like I really wanted to love Superman Returns and X-Men. I think Iron Man outdoes those flicks, but it simply never coalesces into a truly great superhero movie. This is a consistently professional and enjoyable experience, though.

End credits footnote: stick around to the very finish for an intriguing coda.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio A-/ Bonus B

Iron Man appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. Expect a mix of highs and relative lows.

My main concerns stemmed from the fairly obvious use of digital noise reduction on display. Shot Super 35, the movie lacked signs of grain and could come across with that “shiny” look typical of noise reduced images.

If you boast high tolerance for DNR, you won’t mind, and the rest of the picture seemed pretty strong. Sharpness usually appeared well-defined and precise, though some interior and wide shots felt a little soft.

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, and the disc’s HDR added vivacity to the tones.

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.

I suspect a lot of this stemmed from photographic choices, though, and I didn’t think the shadows created problems. HDR improved contrast and whites as well. The DNR and mild softness turned this into a “B” transfer..

Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, I also felt pleased with the movie’s Dolby Atmos soundtrack, as the soundfield appeared broad and engaging throughout the movie. All the speakers got a strong workout as they displayed a lot of discrete audio.

This made for a convincing environment as we heard plenty of atmosphere and objects swirl actively and appropriately about us. Of course, the action scenes worked the best, but pretty much anything that featured Stark and his Iron Man suit brought out a good sense of place.

Sound quality also appeared solid. Dialogue was crisp and distinct. Speech showed no signs of edginess or any problems related to intelligibility.

Effects were always clear and dynamic, plus they displayed virtually no signs of distortion even when the volume level jumped fairly high.

Music sounded appropriately bright and accurate and portrayed the score appropriately. The mix featured some pretty solid bass at times as the entire affair seemed nicely deep. All in all, the soundtrack worked well for the material and didn’t disappoint me.

How did the 4K UHD compare to the movie’s Blu-ray release? Audio showed greater breadth and presence via the Atmos track, as it opened up the original 5.1 mix.

Visuals became a bit of a mixed bag due to that digital noise reduction, but the 4K came with generally stronger detail as well as more impressive colors, blacks and contrast. Despite the unfortunate use of DNR, I still preferred the visuals of the 4K.

No extras appear on the 4K UHD disc itself, but we get some components on the included Blu-ray copy, and we start with 11 Deleted/Extended Scenes. All together, these last a total of 23 minutes, 56 seconds.

They include “Convoy Ambush” (3:27), “Craps Table with Tony and Rhodey” (1:51), “Tony and Rhodey on Stark Jet and Military Ceremony” (4:21), “Rhodey and General Gabriel” (0:52), “Tony Comes Home” (1:31), “Tony Begins Mark II” (0:51), “Dubai Party” (3:32), “Pepper Discovers Tony as Iron Man” (0:51), “Obadiah Addresses Scientists” (1:54), “Rhodey Saves Iron Man on Freeway” (1:25) and “Rooftop Battle” (3:22).

Don’t expect any lost gold here. Most offer extensions to existing scenes, and those aren’t particularly valuable.

Even totally new sequences don’t have a ton to offer. For instance, “Dubai” just shows more of Stark’s womanizing and little else. I like “Freeway” since it pays off Rhodey’s efforts at the end of the film – he kind of vanishes otherwise – and “Rooftop” gives a bit more dimension to Obadiah, but overall, the scenes remain inessential.

For a look at the movie’s comic book origins, we head to the six-part The Invincible Iron Man. It fills 47 minutes, four seconds with notes from Marvel Comics executive editor Tom Brevoort, Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada, creator Stan Lee, writers Gerry Conway, Joe Casey, Dan Knauf, Charles Knauf and Warren Ellis, writer/artist Bob Layton, and artists Gene Colan, John Romita, Jr., Patrick Zircher and Adi Granov.

The piece examines the origins of Iron Man as well as aspects of the character, supporting roles and villains. We also learn about the series’ development, various story lines it pursued over the years, and challenges.

“Invincible” bears a strong resemblance to a similar piece for 2005’s Fantastic Four. My biggest complaint there remains my main gripe here: the show doesn’t cover the series’ history very well.

It tosses out some notes about the earlier years and skims over the majority of its life before it spends most of its time on recent depictions. I suppose that’s somewhat inevitable since modern artists/writers will be more accessible, but the emphasis on newer work leaves the program unbalanced. It’s still informative and interesting, but it doesn’t offer a great history of Iron Man.

Disc One finishes with the Hall of Armor. This interactive feature lets you get a closer look at the four different suits used in the film (“Mark I”, “Mark II”, “Mark III” and “Iron Monger”). It’s not the most fascinating thing I’ve seen, but it’s a decent way to take a better peek at the armor.

Although I’d like to refer to Iron Man as one of the great superhero movies, I can’t do that. It provides an enjoyable, well-produced effort with more strengths than weaknesses, but it just doesn’t hit the heights of the best comic book flicks. The 4K UHD offers excellent audio along with generally good visuals and some bonus features.

Though the image suffers from some flaws, this still becomes the most appealing rendition of the movie yet. Too bad it drops a lot of supplements from the prior releases.

To rate this film, visit the DVD review of IRON MAN

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