In May, Marvel launched straight into the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase 2 with ‘Iron Man 3‘, which saw Robert Downey, Jr. returning to the role of Tony Stark in his fourth outing. The movie was a huge commercial and critical success, and quickly became one of the highest grossing movies of all time. I loved the film, and you can read my full review here, so I couldn’t wait for it to finally arrive on blu-ray to watch it again. Marvel Studios and Walt Disney Pictures have put together a very good Blu-ray release that fans are going to be very happy to put on their shelf.
Six months have passed since the battle in Manhattan in ‘The Avengers’, and Tony Stark hasn’t been the same since the invasion. His whole world was turned upside down, and he quickly found himself no longer the most powerful man in his own world. The battle has left him emotionally scarred, so Stark has thrown himself into his work, building new Iron Man suit after another, just trying to make himself feel complete and whole again. But when a terrorist who has been leaving the world in a state of fear causes an event that hits Tony too close to home, Stark ends up on a personal vendetta against the man known as the Mandarin, that’ll change him forever, and Iron Man will never be the same.
The thing that makes the movie so interesting is that it’s taking time to explore Stark, and what exactly it means to be Iron Man. Is it the suit, or is it the man? It’s a very good character study, and something that came from such a great one-off line in ‘The Avengers’. When Captain America asked Stark, “Big man in a suit. Take that away, what are you?”, I don’t think many realized it was actually a set up for what the next film would be. Exploring Stark’s reliance on the suit, and stripping it away, honestly makes him that much more interesting and compelling. Shane Black, who came on to direct this third entry in the series, really gets what make the character tick, and the way he and Downey, Jr. put Stark through such a great emotional ringer made this feel like the most fulfilling film in the ‘Iron Man’ series yet.
Disney and Marvel Studios have put together a rather great disc, featuring a nice set of special features. The most interesting of the features is the new ‘Marvel One Shot: Agent Carter’, which is a fifteen minute short film that sees Haley Atwell returning to her role as Peggy Carter from ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’. The film finds Carter working her being held down by a chauvinistic boss, played by Bradley Whitford, who doesn’t see her as an agent because she’s a woman, and she’s only gotten to where she is because she was Captain America’s girlfriend. It’s a great short film, that actually sets up some great foundation for things we all know and love in the Marvel Universe, and features some great cameos from some of the fan favorite characters. It’s definitely the standout on the disc, and it’s now actually being looked at as the basis of a new ABC TV series.
The disc also features a fun audio commentary with director Shane Black and writer Drew Pearce. It’s a great listen, full of some fun anecdotes and stories, so it’s definitely deserving of your attention. There’s a deleted scenes section, which amounts to about fifteen minutes of alternate takes and a few scenes that were trimmed out, but overall it’s nothing really substantial, and you can see what it was cut out. There are two making of behind the scenes documentaries, one that focuses on the Air Force One sequence, and one that gives us about ten minutes behind the scenes of the film, which is really great to watch, but feels far too short. It definitely could have been longer.
‘Iron Man 3’ is the most personal film for Stark, and is only second to ‘The Avengers’ as being the best film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Disney has put together a spectacular blu-ray disc that features a solid set of special features, as well as a great transfer and audio mix. There’s a lot to love about this film, and fans of the ‘Iron Man’ series, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe as well, are definitely going to want to add this one to their collection, which is in stores now.
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