Alright, if you are reading this you probably already know that this movie is awesome, or have been told by every single person that you randomly run across in the subway or library or supermarket that it is indeed a fantastic superhero movie, until you are exhausted and can barely utter your typical response: "I'm sure. I can't wait for it to come out on DVD so I can see it." Well, wait no longer, fans and soon-to-be fans. The magic day is here and Iron Man can finally be yours to own, metallic suit not included.
So there's this billionaire playboy genius, Tony Stark, and he makes weapons, but only sells them to the good guys... or so he thinks. Then things go wrong and he gets kidnapped and -- oh, the hell with it, no one needs the plot of this one. Robert Downey Jr. + Metal Body Armor + Explosions + Gadgets + Hot Girls = Awesome.
The Ultimate 2-Disc Special Edition (which is what us mere mortals, who haven't yet had a rich relative die so we can afford Blu-ray, can get) is packed with extras. According to the circular in my local paper this weekend, there's a really cool collector's edition that comes in an Iron Man mask head available exclusively at Target. It looks pretty awesome. Anyway, the one that we got is so jam-packed with stuff, that any Iron Man junkies, be they fans that just like the movie, or true geeks that adored the comic book too, will be overloaded. There's truly something for everyone. Since it boasts four-plus hours of extras, it really should.
The first disc holds the movie, sans commentary, which was a bit of a letdown, but given that disc two has every possible thing they could have talked about in the commentary and was actually filmed during the making-of process, it's sort of OK. Sort of. And also the obligatory deleted/extended scenes. Normally I shrug these off, but there were some really cool ones in here, including an entire party scene in Dubai where Tony throws a party (and invites some ladies to have a foursome) as part of a diversionary tactic. Oh, and there's more on the airplane with the stripping stewardesses. Oh, and for the sickos, there's a longer version of Obadiah's demise. Also on Disc 1 is a commercial for the kid-friendly version of Iron Man which is coming soon from NickToons. Doesn't quite jive with the tone of this very adult movie... but it's there.
Disc 2 is packed. As mentioned before, there's the making-of process, here billed as "I am Iron Man: the Journey Begins." There's a Jon Favreau (pre-weight loss for the film) getting everything set up, talking about Marvel's first foray into film as a studio, casting the unlikely Robert Downey Jr.... just lots, and everything is lengthy and well thought-out and insanely detail-oriented with few stones unturned. My favorite was Peter Billingsley (executive producer, Christmas Story star, Favreau right-hand man) shaving his head, with Jeff Bridges watching, for his role in the film. Honestly, I didn't even recognize him on-screen. He looked so dramatically different. Quite the transformation.
Then there's "Wired: The Visual Effects of Iron Man." Which, as expected, goes at length into how they made the film look how it looks, with a blend of real action sequences and CGI. There's segments on each of the three companies tasked with different aspects of bringing this film to life, and looks at how the suit got made to look so damn badass, and how those neat sliding computer graphics came to be. This was a little too detailed for this casual fan who just wanted to see how stuff blew up, but for you fanatics out there, have at it.
Next up "The Invincible Iron Man," a history of the character in painstaking detail. Featuring such comic icons as Stan Lee, John Romita Jr. and Warren Ellis, among many others, talking about how Iron Man was created, why he had such an impact and why they gave him a drinking problem. It's interesting, but there's a lot of it. But again, if comics are your thing, then this is a dream.
I was personally in heaven when I landed on the Robert Downey Jr. Screen Test extra. Hands down my favorite part, because you could see that 1) Downey Jr. wasn't a diva about coming in to audition for a role, and 2) that he was born to play Tony Stark. From the very beginning, he just really nailed his takes with such intensity, even without fancy costumes or special effects. Just him in an empty room, and it was utterly compelling.
But wait... there's more! "The Actor's Process" is scenes from rehearsal, where again you can see how Downey Jr., and the rest of the cast, prepped for their scenes under the guidance of director Favreau.
Lastly, there are galleries of posters, stills, and concept art -- the concept art being really enjoyable to check out, as it gives a different perspective on the evolution of the metal suits and even things like Stark's house.
Phew. You'll definitely get your money's worth with this DVD set. Probably more so if you buy the Blu-Ray, which has even more extras. The only thing that's really missing, even though it may have been a bit redundant, is a commentary. I find Favreau utterly fascinating, and I could listen to Downey Jr. for days -- pairing the two of them together to talk about the film, now that would have been amazing. Heck, I'd have been happy to listen to Jeff Bridges, Peter Billingsley and Terrance Howard watch the film, since they all seemed really into making it. Other than that. I've got no complaints, and that's pretty rare.