Marvel's heavy metal hero proves he's Stark raving mad in this action-packed sequel
Iron Man 2 received a fair amount of flak when it hit cinemas earlier this year. But for the life of us, we’ve no idea why. The very definition of big-budget blockbuster moviemaking, this sequel takes everything that made the first such a smash, and ramps it all up to eleven while not forgetting to stimulate the brain as well as the eyes and ears. So, while the action and special effects are mind-blowing, it’s the character stuff that really makes it all work, with the narrative through-line about responsibility and consequences allowing Downey Jr to really stretch his legs and showcase an onscreen chemistry with his co-stars that’s sadly all-to-rare in Hollywood blockbusters.
Picture: When Iron Man exploded onto Blu-ray back in 2008 it quickly established itself as a benchmark title for the hi-def format. And while the sequel doesn’t feel quite as fresh as a piece of filmmaking, it’s easily lives up to its predecessor in terms of picture quality.
While there are a handful of slightly soft shots that hardcore tech-heads will undoubtedly bemoan, on the whole this is an immaculate AVC 2.40:1 1080p presentation full of staggering amounts of shadow detail in even the darkest scenes. And when the action hits broad daylight (such as the Monaco showdown with Whiplash in Chapter 6) it’ll knock your socks off like a blow from a repulsor ray with its vibrant palette, incredible clarity and superb black levels.
Picture rating: 5/5
Audio: If you’re looking for a soundtrack that’ll really show off your audio system, then they don’t come much better than Iron Man 2’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix. Right from the get-go this reveals itself to be an extremely aggressive mix that’s not afraid to surround you with spatial effects and room-shaking bass. Iron Man’s flight to the Stark Expo in Chapter 2, accompanied by fireworks exploding and AC/DC blasting away on the soundtrack, is the kind of thing that will have neighbours up in arms, while the racetrack confrontation with Whiplash in Chapter 6 will have them thinking that the apocalypse is here. And yet, despite the constant noise and bombast, what impresses the most is the clarity and precision of the sonics on offer – it’s all so controlled and pitch-perfect that it’s sure to become your defacto Blu-ray audio demo disc.
Audio rating: 5/5
Extras: Iron Man 2 certainly doesn’t short-change fans when it comes to supplementary goodies. Joining the film on Disc One are an enthusiastic audio commentary by director Jon Favreau, a SHIELD Date Vault that allows viewers to watch the film with on-screen character profiles, data files and tech specs, or visit The Vault itself (which holds the same info, plus a whole lot more about the inter-linked Marvel movies), and finally, a picture-in-picture Previsualization and Animatics mode.
A second Blu-ray disc houses the 87min four-part Ultimate Iron Man: Making Iron Man 2 documentary, six shorter featurettes (including a look at special effects and the comic book origins of Nick Fury, Black Widow and War Machine), eight deleted/extended scenes with optional commentary, 11 concept art galleries, three theatrical trailers, three additional Marvel trailers (two for the Iron Man 2 game, the other for Avengers Animated) and the AC/DC Shoot to Thrill video – all in hi-def.
The final disc is a DVD containing the film and a Digital Copy.
Extras rating: 4/5
We say: With its exceptional picture and sound quality, Iron Man 2 is easily one of the best Blu-rays we’ve seen all year.
Paramount, All-region BD/R1 DVD (US Import), £22 approx (www.movietyme.com), On sale now
HCC VERDICT: 4/5
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