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Iron Man 2

01/06/2011. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts

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

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Iron Man 2: 2-Disc Special Edition. Region 2 DVD: pub: Paramount/Marvel PHE1347. 2 DVDs 119 minute film with extras. Price: about GBP 9.00 (UK) if you know where to look)) stars: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Mickey Rourke and Samuel L. Jackson

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As my budget is somewhat limited, I tend to wait until DVDs drop in price before going after them, especially with Special Editions with extras which also tend to come out later. A side benefit of that is if another director’s cut is released, then I can also avoid paying out twice. I might not be caught in the mad rush to be one of the first to see a film on DVD but I also don’t think anyone can claim to be the first to watch anything these days. Interestingly, director Jon Favreau points out in the film audio commentary that with Internet download streaming that DVDs are likely to turn into the curios for the fans than the general viewer. Whether that will be true or not, only time will tell. It will also make a big hole in the secondary market for DVDs and CDs if it all goes digital.

‘Iron Man 2’ is six months after the first film where at the end, Tony Stark (actor Robert Downey Jr.) has revealed to the world that he’s Iron Man. Since getting out of the munitions business and getting involved in sorting out various crisis around the world, his alter-ego’s popularity has soared. Behind the scenes though, the polonium which is preventing the shrapnel from reaching his heart is slowly poisoning him and his alternative power sources aren’t lasting very long. He’s also been making different versions of his Iron Man armour as he improves it and invariably has a suitcase version with him at all times. He also has to face a Senate enquiry into letting the State have access to his armour designs. Stark points out that attempts by other countries are still way behind him and even the now top US arms manufacturer, Justin Hammer (actor Sam Rockwell), doesn’t have the know-how and refuses.

Also, during the past six months, Russian Ivan Vanko (actor Mickey Rourke) after his father’s death discovers that Howard Stark, Tony’s father, had worked with him, discovers the plans for a new power source that he develops for his own devices which he later uses as Whiplash to attack Stark at the Monte Carlo Grand Prix. As Iron Man, Stark defeats him but Vanko is recruited from prison by Hammer and Jim Rhodes (actor Don Cheadle) is ordered by the military to steal one of Stark’s battle-suits for study and ultimately the basis for his military armour.

Into this mix, Pepper Potts (actress Gwyneth Paltrow) has been elevated to being CEO of Stark Industries and a certain but not named Black Widow (actress Scarlett Johansson) has been undercover keeping an eye on things for SHIELD’s Nick Fury (actor Samuel L. Jackson).

The battle at the end has Iron Man and War Machine facing off against android versions of the latter’s armour manipulated by Whiplash before he enters the fray himself. It’s still a shame that no one has figured out a way to include dialogue in such battles yet.

Don’t press the stop button when the credits roll as there is a related scene to the ‘Thor’ movie right at the end.

I do go along with the plaudits that have been given for ‘Iron Man 2’ as it is certainly a jet-boosted roller of a ride film and certainly a progression from the first film without losing anything in the mix. Jon Favreau’s audio commentary points out how much of a group effort this all was and signifies the importance of the six minute end credits to acknowledge all those people involved.

I was a little surprised by just how sparse the extras on the second DVD actually were. That doesn’t mean what they had wasn’t of high quality. The audio commentary by director Jon Favreau over the reasons for the reason some of the deleted scenes were removed made sense in as much as keeping a particular tone for the picture and an even more pertinent point the studio heads want things cut for a particular time length regardless of expense. As some of these scenes didn’t have full computer graphics, it was interesting seeing what the armoured cast usually wore before they were coated in CGI effects. Considering there was also a high-level of practical (that is done for ‘real’) costumes and effects, I doubt if even the most sharp-eyed viewer can spot the joins.

The other two featurettes pay more attention to how the special effects were done plus the regulatory AC/DC video of ‘Thrill To Kill’ in case you don’t have it on the CD release.

GF Willmetts

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