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Blu-ray Review

DVD cover

Iron Man 3


Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall and Ben Kingsley
Distributor: Walt Disney Studios
RRP: £24.99
Certificate: 12
Release Date: 09 September 2013

Tony Stark always refers to himself as a man in a suit and men are fragile. Following on from the alien invasion and his near death experience Stark is unravelling. Unable to sleep he worries about his abilities to protect Pepper, even with Happy as the head of security. Spending his nights working on new models of his Iron Man suit, Stark in pulled into a fight with an international terrorist, The Mandarin, when Happy is injured in an explosion. Declaring the desire to revenge this act, Stark even broadcasts his home location unaware that The Mandarin will launch a helicopter attack...

Iron Man 3 (2013 - 2 hrs, 10 min, 32 sec) is a science fantasy film, based on the Marvel character, directed by Shane Black and co-written by Black and Drew Pearce.

What always made Iron Man great was that he was a flawed hero. Fans of the comic book will be aware of Stark's problems with alcohol, which is alluded to in the film. It’s this mixture of the new, with references to his comic book back story which makes the films so good for both audiences.

From the so-so dip that was Iron Man 2, Iron Man 3 returns the franchise back to its best, creating the most surprising entry into the run. Robert Downey Jr. thankfully returns in the title role. He is so much like the fictional character that I’m not sure that the franchise could succeed without him, he is Tony Stark.

The film follows the usual formula, a character based piece with three impressive set pieces to keep the fans of the suit happy, although the first of these, the destruction of the Stark mansion, doesn’t even happen until more than half an hour of the film has elapsed, a testament to the strength of the central characters.

Now it wouldn’t be an Iron Man film without a villain to fight and here we're in tricky territory. Presumably, most people will already know the big reveal, but if you don’t I have no intention of spoiling what is a wonderfully surprising about face. The only thing to say is that the film was lucky to get an actor with the calibre of Ben Kingsley, who is able to make The Mandarin believable, in all his guises.

Returning to the Iron Man family is Gwyneth Paltrow, who gets her own punt at action and Jon Favreau as Happy the Stark's ‘can do’ man. Sliming his way into the film is Guy Pearce as Aldrich Killian, the head of AIM, which is a big clue to fans of the Marvel universe and if you’re attentive to the television sets in the film, its inclusion will tell you a lot more of what is really happening. Spurned by Stark in the past, the rejection forces Killian to develop his own company and technologies. Completing the principle actors is Rebecca Hall as Maya Hansen, a scientist and old flame of Stark's and Don Cheadle as Colonel James Rhodes in his own Iron Patriot suit.

The film looks ravishing on Blu-ray and there is a nice Jarvis inspired interface for the menu screen.

There is a nice set of extras on the disc, starting with Marvel One-shot: Agent Carter (15 min, 29 sec) which is set after the events of Captain America, with Carter having taken a job with the secret service she suffers sexism and isolation until a mission presents itself, which allows her to come into her own. It might be short but is made with all the technical expertise lavished on the main feature. It’s worth watching and could probably have been expanded into its own feature.

Next up are the Featurettes:

Iron Man 3 Unmasked (10 min, 59 sec) is a behind the scenes look at the making of the film. Deconstructing the Scene: Attack on Airforce One (8 min, 43 sec) reveals the technical wizardry involved in creating this exciting sequence. Another little gem is the Exclusive Behind the Scenes Look - Thor the Dark World (1 min, 53 sec) it may be short but it contains shots from the film not seen in the trailers, with small contributions from the people involved in making it.

We return to the usual fare with the Deleted and Extended Scenes (16 min, 20 sec) ten in all with three that didn’t appear in the film, nothing which you would have missed from the finished feature, but worth watching nonetheless. The Gag Reel (5 min, 07 sec) has the cast fluffing lines and hamming it up. You get an interesting and insightful full length commentary with Shane Black and Drew Pearce.

You get a pretty good selection of audio options with English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English 2.0 audio descriptive, French 5.1 DTS-HD High Resolution, Russian and Flemish 5.1 Dolby digital, with English, French, Dutch, Russian and Arabic subtitles.

With its return to form, the film blends humour and action to create a movie which is miles better than the second film and possibly better than even the first in the series.


Charles Packer

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