Matt thinks IRON MAN on Blu-Ray is Golden!

Wow, yesterday morning was a little like Christmas for me. I get sent an awful lot of stuff through the post on a weekly basis to promote but rarely whatever I open ever gives me the gleeful feeling of excitement that I barely take off the wrapper before placing the disc STRAIGHT into my player. I opened up the envelope and had this guy staring back at me, 30 seconds later I was in my chair pressing play on this baby... What an amazing cover, no studio has handled a comic book movie as well as this one in the history of cinema. Marvel, in remarkably their first solo outing created a giant of a picture here with IRON MAN, that was marketed with perfection, it was cast right with exactly the best director behind the job. Every facet of detail was perfect and this new Blu-Ray transfer of one of the year's best films is the high quality you would expect such a great movie to receive. This is without doubt, the best film I have seen in Blu-Ray. The colours are sharp, the reds, the blues all feel clean and crisp but never over-the-top. I once heard someone say that HD would work to either showcase a great production behind a film or it would show them up, well I gotta say for IRON MAN, it's clear that Favreau and his team have done a miraculous job. The sound... wow, the when that Jericho goes off, if you have the right surround system setup you sure feel it. What blew me away watching the movie for a second time and for the first time in glorious 1080p is just seeing how assured director Jon Favreau's direction is. Between this movie and ELF, he seems to have grown ten years as a film-maker. The brassness of the opening scene, the way he shoots Robert Downey Jr. (who gives the best performance of his career here), the way he manages to juggle the expectations of a summer blockbuster tentpole with the presence of Academy Award recognised actors at the top of their game, playing faithful versions of comic book characters but always making them feel real and lived. For the first time in his career, Robert Downey Jr. feels like a movie star. This is the role you believe he has been waiting for his whole career, he branches out of semi-popularity but too often stuck in critical obscurity and instead jumps out off the screen as an icon of modern day cinema. It's been amazing to see the way his career has gone post this role... landing another screen icon in SHERLOCK HOLMES, being chased for roles in a Hugh Heffner biopic and finding his name in the press on a weekly basis during the Summer... but for the right reasons this time. When TROPIC THUNDER opened and there he was playing a black actor, did anyone get the star vibe from him? I never got that with ZODIAC, with KISS KISS BANG BANG with THE SINGING DETECTIVE. We all knew he was capable of it but his performance as Tony Stark has pushed him into the top pantheon of cinema. Gwyneth Paltrow's Pepper Potts is quite unlike any role she has ever had in her career, she brings a great depth and sadness to a character that could have easily been the cliched love interest. Instead, she has terrific chemistry with Downey Jr and has a fully formed character that you feel her pain too, more so than Katie Holmes' version of Rachel Dawes. Jeff Bridges as Obadiah Stane works amazingly well, a great villain for the 21st century and I think this movie will play well with the teenagers who don't know he is the villain before going into it. Re-reading my original theatrical review from May 1st, I can tell I loved the film but was disappointed with the third act. Maybe I was being a little harsh, I still say there are moments between the Jeff Bridges and RobertDowney Jr's suit/cgi battle that could have been handled differently, at times it felt like the clunky conclusion to a Saturday morning cartoon but overall it works just fine. On second viewing, I actually think this is a tighter film than BATMAN BEGINS, there's a barely a wasted scene here. In fact, given the choice, I think IRON MAN may be superior to Christopher Nolan's film. It certainly does a better job of feeling like a Summer tentpole but at the same time standing on it's own two feet. Better put, it meets the requirements of audience expectation on every level, I think at times BATMAN BEGINS felt too much like an Independent approach (something I approved no less) which may have turned some off. It really feels like Marvel are starting again from this point. Many would argue that the SPIDER-MAN, X-MEN and FANTASTIC FOUR franchises have ran their course and if that's indeed the case we shouldn't worry so much because there is a ton of characters yet untapped at the studio that if they find the same perfect creative team, it should keep Marvel on our screens well through the next decade. Of course as we've mentioned what makes IRON MAN so exciting is what we can look forward too. There's a hint here of the 12 Rings, the introduction of Stark's arch nemesis Mandarin, more than a subtle hint towards Terrence Howard becoming War Machine and of course the future characters of THOR, CAPTAIN AMERICA and dare we hope, ANT-MAN on our screens for an individual origin film before teaming for THE AVENGERS. What an opportunity Marvel has here. If they chose Jon Favreau because he knows and understands the playboy lifestyle, are Marvel onto a winner by picking Kenneth Branagh to direct THOR, a character often known for his Shakespearean morality? Let's God damn hope so! IRON MAN ON Blu-Ray is available in the U.K. from Amazon on October 27th but if you can't wait for then...




Matt Holmes is the co-founder of What Culture, formerly known as Obsessed With Film. He has been blogging about pop culture and entertainment since 2006 and has written over 10,000 articles.