Superhero movies the last 2 years have been in abundance at the box office that would make any Marvel and even DC fan very happy. In 2008, we have had 3 box office smashes in ‘Iron Man’, ‘Incredible Hulk’, and ‘The Dark Knight’. On a lesser extent, yet another Marvel character is going to see theaters in December when ‘The Punisher: War Zones’ releases as a reboot of that franchise. ‘Iron Man’ made $318 million dollars in the domestic market with a $186 million dollar budget. With all the special effects, you would think that this film cost even more than the $186 million dollar budget.

The story of ‘Iron Man’ is a very fascinating one if you have followed the comic books. Director Jon Favreau does a really good job to bring Tony Stark and ‘Iron Man’ to life. During a routine weapons display, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and the military are in Afghanistan to demonstrate the new “Jericho” cluster missile built by Stark Enterprises. The demonstration goes really bad as Stark and the military get attacked leaving Stark getting seriously hurt as he blacks out. With the black out, we go back to 36 hours earlier where we meet a few more characters in the film during Stark’s Apogee Awards ceremony. We meet his deceased father’s partner, Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges) and Lt. Colonel James Rhodes (Terrance Howard) whom both have pivotal a role.

Then we fast forward back to the explosion in Afghanistan and Tony Stark has been captured by a group of terrorists. Stark meets Dr. Yinsen (Shaun Toub) who is also captured and is instructed that they must build a missile or else it is their lives. Instead of building the missile, Stark and Yinsen build a smaller version of the reactor that Stark’s father was working on before he died so he can build a metal armored suit to escape from the terrorists. They end up building the original
‘Iron Man’ suit from his debut in ‘Tales of Suspense’ looking like a metal bucket. Without spoiling anymore of the film and giving away the plot, things really get interesting from the point that Tony escapes from the terrorists. I do want to also mention that Pepper Potts (Gwenyth Paltrow) is in the film as Stark’s trusty personal assistant. I will say that the beginning of the film has to be one of the best introductions ever to a superhero film.

The script and acting is top notch in ‘Iron Man’ and I couldn’t complain about a single actor used here as everyone played their roles very well. When I first heard that Robert Downey Jr. was going to play Tony Stark, I was a little bit worried due to Downey’s past. Then the trailer came and I was surprised how much that he resembles Tony Stark in appearance and do I have to say anything about the alcohol (no pun intended). To Terrence Howard’s credit, he even went and spent time at a military base to get a better understanding of his role. For those that know the story about James Rhodes, Howard is penned to return for the sequel and it is going to be awesome, “Next Time Baby”.

Comic book fans, we even get a nice appearance from a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent (not who you are thinking either) that plays a small part, yet very important one at the end of the film. While I wasn’t a huge fan of the ending, this is an excellent superhero film all around. I can’t wait till 2010 when the sequel arrives in theaters.

Picture/Audio Quality

The print is presented in a 1080p/AVC encode with a 2.40:1 aspect ratio. The print looks very good and a bit of a mixed bag with certain scenes. I found the darker scenes at the beginning of the film to be a bit on the darker side. The blacks were fine, but it was way too dark in the cave scene. The rest of the film has vibrant colors, is very detailed, and has a pristine print with no apparent issues. The outside scenes look very good and are some of the best in the entire film. There were a few hints of grain in some scenes, but it was so faint, that you had to really look hard to tell.

The audio is presented in a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix and it is a very well balanced sound mix for ‘Iron Man’. There is a lot of action going on throughout the film and you get some really crisp and clean sound. From the firefights, explosions, to Stark crashing into walls with the suit makes it sound like you are in the center of all the action. The rears were working like a workhorse during the action sequences. The dialogue portions of the film is excellent and comes through very clear and well balanced to where I didn’t have to increase the volume once.

Special Features
•    Documentary: “The Invincible Iron Man”
•    Hail of Armor
•    Deleted Scenes
•    Extended Scenes
•    Documentary: “I Am Iron Man”
•    Theatrical Trailers
•    Still Gallery
•    Featurette: “Wired: The Visual Effects of Iron Man”
•    Rehearsal Footage
•    BDLive – Iron Man IQ

‘Iron Man’ is a good superhero with excellent acting by a superb cast. The sound and video quality is great albeit a few small issues with the video. Robert Downey Jr. is the perfect Tony Stark and I am already looking forward to the sequel for obvious reasons. I highly recommend purchasing ‘Iron Man’ as this is one of the better superhero films released in 2008.

List Price: $39.98, Sale Price: $25.95 – Order today from (Amazon and Save)