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