After a top-heavy, lumbering sequel to its original, tremendously entertaining first film, the third time proves to be the charm in Iron Man 3. Tony Stark returns with snark intact but a great many obstacles to overcome, and the film while a trifle overlong and meandering allows the superhero to show us the brains behind the suit that have made Iron Man one of the favorites of the Marvel dynasty.
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio: English 7.1 DTS-HDMA, Spanish 5.1 DD, Other
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Run Time: 2 Hrs. 10 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray, DVD, Digital Copykeep case with slipcover
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Release Date: 09/24/2013
A new villain in the form of terrorist The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) has begun targeting various sites around the United States, and naturally Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and his best friend Colonel James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) are called into action. But Stark, who has been constantly experimenting with new prototype Iron Man suits since defeating the aliens who invaded New York, has been having trouble both professionally with his electronics tinckering and personally with anxiety attacks that are preventing sleep and causing a lot of friction with girl friend Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow). When former love interest Dr. Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall) comes to Tony warning him of a former acquaintance Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) whom Tony had brushed off thirteen years earlier and who now may be in league with the Mandarin, it begins a chain reaction of circumstances where Pepper is kidnapped, Rhodes’ suit is confiscated, and Tony must flee after an attack on his home leaving him with an Iron Man suit practically useless and far from the help he needs to fight his enemies.
The Production Rating: 4/5
The best thing about the script by director Shane Black and co-writer Drew Pearce is that it puts Tony for a great portion of the movie relying purely on his wits and on his electronic genius to fashion equipment he can use in the field. Taking us back to the Tony we grew to love in the first film trapped alone and making things from available scrap in order to save himself, it’s the man himself who shows us what he’s made of. And Downey, freed from simply being a voiceover for a CGI replica of his alter ego, gets to act with his whole heart and soul turning in a performance that’s tremendously entertaining and gimmick-free, especially in scenes with pal Rhodes, a young Tennessee boy Harley (Ty Simpkins) whose pluck and determination become role models for the older man, and an adoring electronics geek Gary (Adam Pally), not to mention, of course, encounters with the film’s major antagonists which include not only the Mandarin and Killian but also Killian’s lethal right hand man Eric Savin (James Badge Dale), both of whom are equipped with Killian’s secret weapon, the Extremis. Black takes on this enormous project after quite a few years away from the big blockbuster spotlight, and though the storytelling gets a bit lethargic midway through and the climactic fight goes on a bit longer than it should and doesn’t end in any especially memorable way, all of the film’s action set pieces work beautifully including a spectacular midair rescue of victims of an Air Force One takeover.
The script brings Tony Stark/Iron Man pretty much full circle by the end of the film, and Robert Downey, Jr. certainly contributes mightily to the effectiveness of this epic journey through basically four films. He also looks more in shape this go-round and hasn’t lost a verbal step either able to fire off his rejoinders and quips effortlessly. Guy Pearce has retained the impressive physique he sported in Lockout and makes for a formidable, aggressive presence. Ditto for James Badge Dale who doesn’t get to say much but who physically interjects himself skillfully into scenes with the maximum of mayhem. Don Cheadle has been given more to do in this one as Rhodes, but Gwyneth Paltrow’s testy fussing makes for some tedious early scenes before coming into her own later in the movie. Ben Kingsley looks to be having a ball in the double-sided role of the Mandarin, but Jon Favreau in his new job as security chief Happy Hogan spends most of the movie in a coma (even though he’s freed from the director’s chair having helmed the first two franchise entries) and only gets to be the butt of a few jokes at the beginning and end of the film.
Air Force Once Rescue
The film has been framed at its theatrical aspect ratio of 2.40:1 and is presented in a 1080p transfer using the AVC codec. As with all of the Marvel-based superhero films, the sharpness is exemplary throughout with lots of detail to be seen, and color values are sublime with rich, robust color where appropriate and grayish, darker tones at other moments. Skin tones are believable throughout, and black levels are likewise superb. The film has been divided into 17 chapters.
Video Rating: 5/5 3D Rating: NA
The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 sound mix is exactly the kind of immersive, exhilarating experience one would expect from one of these comic superhero extravaganzas. Split effects ricochet around the soundfield during the action sequences, and Brian Tyler’s driving score likewise gets the full surround treatment. Though most of the well-recorded dialogue has been placed in the center channel, there are occasional moments of directionalized dialogue that are most effective.
Audio Rating: 5/5
Audio Commentary: director/writer Shane Black and co-writer Drew Pearce have an amiable time describing the production cracking jokes and bouncing quips off one another throughout the film’s lengthy running time.
Special Features Rating: 3/5
Iron Man 3 Unmasked (10:59, HD): an EPK featurette featuring producer Kevin Feige, director Shane Black, the film’s stunt coordinator, head stunt man, production designer Bill Brzeski, visual effects supervisor Dan Sudick, and stars Robert Downey, Jr., Guy Pearce, Gwyneth Paltrow, and James Badge Dale offering sound bites about the film’s production leading up to the premiere.
Deconstructing The Scene: Attack On Air Force One (8:43, HD): the film’s producers, the stunt coordinator, and visual effects supervisor discuss the film’s famous aerial sequence showing behind-the-scenes how it was filmed and composited together to make the final shots.
Behind-The-Scenes Look – Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World (1:53, HD): a brief behind-the-scenes snippet on the fall’s Thor sequel featuring brief sound bites from its stars and director.
Agent Carter (15:29, HD): a follow-up to Captain America showing how Agent Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) accomplishes a successful solo mission putting her at the head of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Deleted Scenes (16:20, HD): ten deleted and/or extended scenes and some outtakes which can be played separately or in montage.
Gag Reel (5:07, HD)
Promo Trailers (HD): Heroes United, Thor: The Dark World, ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and The Lone Ranger.
DVD/Digital Copy: included in the package
Iron Man 3 brings the franchise back in fine fashion as an exhilarating and entertaining superhero film. Reference video and audio along with a fair sampling of bonus features (though far fewer than one might expect with a film this popular) make this a recommended package.
Overall Rating: 4/5
Reviewed By: Matt Hough
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