IAR Blu-ray Preview: 'Iron Man 3'

Monday, 23 September 2013 09:57 Written by  Jordan DeSaulnier
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IAR Blu-ray Preview: 'Iron Man 3'

When Tony Stark watches a movie in his workshop or upstairs in his palatial Malibu mansion, you can bet your ass he doesn't settle for 720p.

No, Iron Man most assuredly laser-pops some popcorn and settles down with Pepper Potts to enjoy a movie in the 1080p high definition splendor afforded by Blu-ray.  He'll be firing up his arc-reactor-powered home entertainment system this week, because Iron Man 3 arrives on two-disc Blu-ray Combo Pack and three-disc 3D Blu-ray this Tuesday, September 24th.

Five years ago, Marvel Studios kicked off its unprecedented run of crossover franchises with Iron Man, which took a character perceived as second-tier and turned him into a blockbuster figure, revitalizing the perception of a leading man with plenty of P.R. baggage in the process.  By now, Robert Downey Jr. is the resident rockstar of the cinematic Marvel universe, and Iron Man 3 proves that he still has many a trick up his armored sleeve.

The new sequel bears the inimitable imprimatur of Shane Black, who redefined modern action as the screenwriter behind Lethal Weapon and gave Downey Jr. a showcase as the writer-director of the unstoppably funny Kiss Kiss, Bang BangIron Man 3, Black's sophomore directorial feature, is by far the biggest movie of 2013 so far, having grossed more than $1.2 billion worldwide.

One of the biggest surprises of Iron Man 3 is just how completely it is identifiably a Shane Black movie, consistently and gleefully pulling the rug out from beneath the audience.  That said, the sequel still provides the requisite derring do, including a showstopping aerial rescue and an action finale that finds forty-odd Iron Man armors tussling with explosive super-soldiers.

Tony Stark is dealing with the fallout from his nuclear victory against alien invaders in The Avengers.  To cope with the trauma, Stark has become consumed with augmenting his armored technology, even at the expense of his personal life with Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow) and Rhodey (Don Cheadle).  While contend with a suave scientist (Guy Pearce) who has eyes for his ladyfriend, Tony must also face The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley), a mysterious terrorist figurehead, and deal with the emergence of Extremis, a dangerous technology created by an old associate (Rebecca Hall).  Adventure and many a perfectly-timed quip ensue.

The inaugural movie of Marvel's Phase 2 arrives on Blu-ray in 2D and 3D versions this Tuesday.

Iron Man 3 is presented in 2D on a two-disc Blu-ray Combo Pack that also includes a DVD and digital copy, so that audiences can conveniently enjoy the film on a variety of platforms, from laptops to tablets to smartphones.  The 3D version of Iron Man 3 comes on a three-disc set that boasts a 3D Blu-ray disc, the standard Blu-ray disc, a DVD, digital copy, and a music treat.

Blu-ray is the sharpest way to see this summer spectacle.  The splashy 2.40:1 visuals are presented in a high definition MPEG 4 AVC transfer that could very well become the new reference when you want to flex your TV's muscles.  The 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack, meanwhile, is a pitch-perfect presentation of the sequel's soundscape, from the slick mechanized whirr of the Mark 42 armor to the bass rumble of exploding Extremis recruits.

No matter which Blu-ray edition of Iron Man 3 you purchase, you're going to have a whole bunch of special features that enrich the film and add to the fun.  On both Blu-ray and DVD, you'll find "Deconstructing the Scene: Attack on Air Force One," an eight-minute featurette detailing the complex creation of the action sequence, which utilized real skydiving.  Both formats also include a two-minute exclusive look at Thor: The Dark World, which hits theaters in November.

On Blu-ray, you'll get a battery of extra features not available anywhere else.  Chief among these is a commentary track by Shane Black and co-writer Drew Pearce.  It's informative, fun, and insightful, with both men providing a lot of insight and even addressing some of the film's more divisive elements.   Thanks to the JARVIS: A Second Screen Experience app, viewers can also enjoy a new level of interactivity while watching Iron Man 3.

"Iron Man 3 Unmasked" is an eleven-minute featurette delving into the making of the movie.  The Blu-ray also boasts more than sixteen minutes of deleted and extended scenes, as well as a five-minute gag reel that is ridiculously fun.

Finally, there's Agent Carter, the latest Marvel One Shot short film, this one following Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter in her new secret agent gig following the events of Captain America: The First Avenger.  Just how good is this fifteen-minute slice of comic book adventure?  So good that Marvel is reportedly developing Agent Carter as a potential television series.

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