Itâs not the reason for most of us to go out and purchase the IRON MAN DVD, but it is certainly worth noting that a preview for the J. J. Abrams Star Trek flick is on it. The real reason to buy the DVD, or at least rent it, is the whiz-bang action, the sense of fun mixed seamlessly with a strong moral compass, and the performance by Robert Downey, Jr. Taking a comic book hero and making him as richly textured as Downey has done with bon-vivant-turned-super-hero Tony Stark is wonder to behold.
Set squarely in current events, this is an origin story, how the ci-mentioned Stark ventured to Iraq and saw the weapons his company manufactured used against his countrymen, not to mention himself. Mortally wounded, kidnapped, and then restored to health by means of a nifty gizmo, Stark essays a dual identity, partying in public while in private, helped by his crack assistant, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) and military liaison Col. James Rhodes (Terrence Howard), fighting the dark forces at home and abroad without spilling his martini. If only Paltrow didn’t look so maddendligly blase throughout, this would be the perfect super hero flick.
The DVD extras do not include a commentary track, but they do include the usual deleted/extended scenes. More action. More effects. More pithy one-liners. Itâs all good. The best sequence is one that didnât make the final cut in any sense. Itâs a party in Dubai where Tony indulges in a cover for his latest mission that might have sent the rating into the R category, and thatâs a shame, because the payoff line the next morning is terrific. The best features are the less typical ones. A rehearsal between Downey and Jeff Bridges as his mentor is entitled âThe Actorâs Processâ and has the two discussing motivation and visual impact with director/producer Jon Favreau and co-writer Hawk Ostby. Itâs interesting for getting at the clever thinking that so clearly underscores the film as a whole. More for fun, while making a puckish point, is a clip from ONN, the Onion News Network in which the anchor and an entertainment correspondent decry Paramountâs decision to turn the wildly successful IRON MAN trailer into a full-length feature.
The evolution of the Iron Man character in his transition from comic book to screen in covered nicely with âI Am Iron Manâ, which includes everything from production office space issues to the trick of turning the Iron Man suit from a drawing into a viable cinematic image.
The best thing on the extras, though, and worth more than one look, is the Downey screen test. He goes through his paces in several different scenes and with just him, no costuming, no set, no effects, it is possible to get to the essence of what makes him one of the best actors working today. Whether ironic, serious, or going for laughs, there is no actor more present, more emotionally invested in every millisecond of performing. And it is effortless.
Downey is the best special effect in IRON MAN, and itâs his performance that drives the film and the DVD 2-disc special edition. The more you watch him, the better he gets.