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Iron Man: Ultimate 2-Disc Edition

01/05/2009. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts

Buy Iron Man: Ultimate 2-Disc Edition in the USA - or Buy Iron Man: Ultimate 2-Disc Edition in the UK

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region 2 DVD: pub: Paramount Home Entertainment PHE 9807. 121 minute film with extras. Price: £ 9.99 (UK) if you know where to look. Stars: Robert Downey Jr, Jeff Bridges, Terrence Howard and Gwyneth Paltrow.

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The film of 'Iron Man' rocks. Sounds better than saying it clanks, doesn't it? It hits the bases of all that made ol'Shellhead worked over the years combined with what was needed to be done to make him practical in the real world. I doubt if Tony Stark could lug this armour around in an attaché case any more, well not without getting a hernia and looking suspicious.

Interestingly, in line with films based on other Marvel characters, the number of people who know who he really is by the end of the film grows astronomically. Whether this is a reaction to the effect that it's hard to keep a secret these days or that the people around the hero aren't stupid I'll leave you to ponder.

Munitions genius and playboy Tony Stark (actor Robert Downey Jr) is injured and kidnapped while in Afghanistan after a demonstration of the new Jericho bomb. Ordered to make a copy of Jericho weapon, Stark with the aid of another captive builds a power device to keep shrapnel from reaching his heart and an armoured suit to take out the bad guys and escape.

He also has his eyes opened that the weapons his company makes are used by the opposition as much as his own side and he decides things have to change. Stark finally gets a conscience. His business partner, Obadiah Stane (actor Jeff Bridges), sees this an effect of three months captivity and has his own plans. As Stark designs improved versions of the armour, Staine retrieves version one and gets his own team to build a new bigger version for himself. Ultimately, this ends up with a confrontation between Iron Man and Iron-Monger.

The film is a comfortable two hours and successfully puts everything in without strain. Considering there were three different effects companies involved in getting everything to match to the physical effects, it's a remarkable film that even the non-comicbook reader should be able to follow. You'll also believe a man in armour can fly as well as zap anything in his path with a repulsor ray although I hope he learns his lesson and keeps a spare of his chest power source.

Interestingly, there isn't an audio commentary to accompany the film but considering that there is over two hours of extras detailing the comicbook origin and the making of the film. A couple odd things out of it is an acknowledgement of the late Don Heck amongst Iron Man's creators in the end credits but nothing at all in the creation extra acknowledging what he introduced to the early 'Tales To Astonish'. The same could be said of writer David Michelinie although he's still alive.

It would have been interesting to see what he had to say more than about some of the present carnations of the character considering so much of the film was based on his 80s interpretation. Having said that, don't think this should put you off from the contents herein. Considering how difficult its becoming to locate a copy of the making of the film book, let alone at a reasonable price, this might well be the only way to see behind the scenes.

The early design process had the Iron-Monger armour called 'the Crimson Dynamo' a couple times suggests either they were having second thoughts as to what to call him or had other ideas at the time or for the next film.

With the DVD down to half-price now, it's within everyone's budget and if you haven't got around to seeing it yet, don't leave it too long. It's worth the effort.

GF Willmetts

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