Robert Downey Jr raises some hi-def heavy metal hell in this superhero stunner
Iron Man might not be the best known of Marvel’s superheroes, but his cinematic debt is possibly the company’s most important movie to date. The first feature Marvel has self-financed, Iron Man represents the first film in a flood of titles that will create a cohesive on-screen universe of Marvel superheroes that is planned to culminate with 2011’s The Avengers.
And the great news is that Iron Man is a real corker. Robert Downey Jr. is excellent as the billionaire playboy industrialist turned superhero, and the special effects are sensational (the shift from prosthetic Iron Man suit to CG is seamless). The only slight downside is that, as with all origin films, the story isn’t the most original. But nonetheless Iron Man is one of our favourite films of the year.
Picture: While not quite reference quality, you can’t get away from the fact that Iron Man’s 2.40:1 AVC transfer is very, very good indeed. The problem is primarily a stylistic choice to, with the first half of the movie opting for a deliberately grittier desaturated look, while the second half is much more colourful and glossy. So while you’ll probably only use the second half of the film as demo material, there’s still plenty to admire about this impressive piece of encoding.
Picture rating: 5/5
Audio: Action movie fans looking for a new demo favourite should rush to recharge their batteries with this disc's magnificent 5.1 Dolby TrueHD mix. Featuring a firestorm of seamless directional effects, digital dynamics that can shake teeth loose and that sense of immersion you only really get with an A-list movie title, Shellhead delivers on every front. Audio highlights are many. When the first Iron Man suit makes an appearance, bullets ricochet around the backstage and the LFE footfalls are deliciously convincing; when Tony Stark tests his thrusters the sonic swell that results is breathtaking. Heavy metal? You better believe it.
Audio rating: 5/5
Extras: Despite being spread across two Blu-ray discs, Iron Man doesn’t offer quite as much as we were expecting. On the first disc you’ll find a 49min doc about the character’s comic book origins, deleted/extended scenes and an interactive 3D gallery giving you a closer look at the armour.
The centrepiece of the second disc is the excellent 110min seven-part Making of… documentary I Am Iron Man. Joining it are a 27min special effects doc…, rehearsal footage, a stills gallery and three trailers. And all of the video content is presented in HD. There’s also a BD-Live film quiz to take and share with friends.
Extras rating: 3/5
We say: One of the best comic book adaptations in years and a must-have Blu-ray release.
Paramount Home Entertainment, All-region BD, £30 Approx, On sale now
HCC VERDICT: 4/5
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