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November 27, 2010

Iron Man 2 (Single-Disc Edition) [Blu-ray]

Iron Man 2 (Single-Disc Edition) [Blu-ray]

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Robert Downey Jr. returns as billionaire Tony Stark in this thrilling sequel to the worldwide blockbuster. Now that his superhero secret has been revealed, Tony’s life is more intense than ever. Everyone wants in on the Iron Man technology, whether for power or profit…but for Ivan Vanko (“Whiplash”), it’s revenge! Tony must once again suit up and face his most dangerous enemy yet, but not without a few new allies of his own. Co-starring Mickey Rourke, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson and Samuel L. Jackson, Iron Man 2 is a “total blast!”* *“A TOTAL BLAST!” – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

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After the high-flying adventures of the first Iron Man picture, the billionaire arms manufacturer and irrepressible bon vivant Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) finds himself nursing a hangover. But not like any hangover he’s had before: this one is toxic, a potentially deadly condition resulting from heavy metals (or something) bleeding out of the hardware he’s installed in the middle of his chest. This is the problem Stark needs to solve in Iron Man 2, not to mention the threat from resentful Russian science whiz Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke), whose father helped create the Iron Man technology. There’s an even bigger problem for the film: the need to set up a future Marvel Comics movie universe in which a variety of veteran characters will join forces, a requirement that slows down whatever through-line the movie can generate (although fanboys will have a good time digging the clues laid out here). Actually, the main plot is no great shakes: another Iron Man suit is deployed (Don Cheadle, replacing Terrence Howard from the first film, gets to climb inside), Stark continues to bicker with assistant Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), and a weaselly business rival (Sam Rockwell) tries to out-do the Iron Man suit with an army of Vanko-designed drones. Mickey Rourke is a letdown, burdened by a wobbly Russian accent and looking skeptical about the genre foolishness around him, and Scarlett Johansson has to wait until the final couple of reels to unleash some butt-kickin’ skills as the future Black Widow. That climax is sufficiently lively, and the initial half-hour, including Stark’s smirky appearance before a Senate committee and a wacky showdown at the Monaco Grand Prix, provides a strong, swift opening. But the lull between these high points is crying for more action and more Downey improv. –Robert Horton

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All Reviews

A SOLID SEQUEL, HEAVY ON STARK AND LIGHT ON IRON! “While Iron Man 2 may not be perfect, it is a very solid and fun sequel. Improvements include better action sequences and some great characters added to the franchise. Unfortunately there is a lot going on here and even though it isn’t hard to follow, there isn’t enough time to give each sub plot the proper screen time it deserves. Oddly enough for a super hero film, I think they could have edited some of the talky scenes down and added a little more Iron Man action.
A good example of this is when we meet Natasha Romanova she isn’t given much to do and I found myself wondering if she was going to be The Black Widow on screen. She is only in one action sequence(a great one with one of the funniest moments in the film)late in the movie and she and Nick Fury are really only there to set up The Avengers movie. I’m not saying it should be edited out, but there is only so much ground you can cover in two hours. Whiplash is played with gusto by Mickey Rourke, but he doesn’t have much screen time either and that seems to be the problem with this film, no one but Tony Stark gets enough screen time.

After the first encounter with Whiplash in Monaco on the race track, we don’t really get a good dose of Iron man until the final battle, which means there is over an hour of time where there isn’t that much action. Considering what I had read about this being an action packed film, I found it to be very talky. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing because the characters are well developed and the actors are all really good here.

The final battle is very good with some very cool Iron Man destruction and some nifty moves, but it’s surprising and anti-climatic when Whiplash is defeated very quickly. In the first film, I thought the final battle was too long and in this one, it just seems to end too abruptly. I’m not bashing this film in any way as it is a very fun film that I will most certainly own the DVD/Blu Ray when it is released, but I think the story may have been a little too ambitious for one film.

Overall I give Iron Man 2 a solid B(4 stars)and I think Favreau did a very good job all things considered. Of course if you are seeing this in a theater, then stick around until the end of the credits role for a little teaser scene about another Marvel Hero who will be hitting theaters next year.

A frank review by an Iron Man Fanboy “I’ve loved Iron Man ever since my first Tales of Suspense comic, so I might not be the most unbiased person to write a review. Still, I’m going to try and be as honest as I possibly can. In some ways, Iron Man 2 improves on the original. For instance, the brawl between Iron Man and War Machine was perfect, and RDJr was even better this time around. However, there were some weak moments. For example, Pepper Potts is almost absent from the movie, and is shrill and unpleasant during her brief appearances. Whiplash has never been a particularly compelling villain, and the movie doesn’t do much to make him any more exciting. Also, they really need to STOP with the “Iron Man fights someone who has the same technology” plots. It’s already boring. Plus, I couldn’t help but wonder where a drunken hobo managed to get the equipment to build an Arc Reactor. Stark did it in the first movie because he had several billion dollars worth of his own weaponry to cannibalize. How does a homeless Russian manage it? Furthermore, the character of Justin Hammer was silly and played for laughs, which was the wrong move. It had a real “Jim Carrey in Batman Forever” vibe to it.
Others have mentioned the unnecessary plot lines, and they’re right. We could have done entirely without the “Paladium Poisoning” and the “Under House Arrest by SHIELD” plots, since neither of them really went anywhere, and felt like padding in a movie that didn’t need any. I didn’t mind the Black Widow showing up, but eventually it felt like we were tripping over minor characters. Also, they’re not fooling anyone with the whole “The Avengers don’t want Tony Stark” subplot. None of us believe for a moment that they’d do an Avengers movie without the only Avenger that’s proven to be a box-office success.

Still, it was a good movie. Perhaps not a GREAT movie like the first one, but at least it wasn’t a franchise-killing fiasco like Spiderman 3 or Batman and Robin. Honestly, if none of us had ever seen the original Iron Man, we’d all be talking about how this movie was one of the best Comic Book movies ever. But as it is, it’s over-shadowed by it’s phenomenal predecessor.

A High Tech, Lesser Value Superhero Sequel “At the end of 2008, I made two bold assertions: (1) That “Iron Man” was one of the year’s best films; (2) that “Iron Man” was one of the greatest superhero films ever made. I still believe both to be true. Now we have “Iron Man 2.” While it is thoroughly entertaining, it’s also a bit conventional when compared to its predecessor, having less of a compelling story but more in the ways of action, special effects, gadgets, humor, and stunt work. It’s a comic book through and through. That’s fine by me – what it lacks in introspection it more than makes up for in sheer fun. We have plenty to cheer for, not the least of which is our hero, billionaire industrialist Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.), who when we last left him had shut down the weapon’s division of his company to focus on more humanitarian uses for technology. The result was a high tech metal suit equipped with rocket boosters and missile launchers.
It’s now six months after Stark revealed himself as Iron Man at a press conference. Despite the demands of a United States Senate committee, he refuses to share his technology with the American military, believing that world peace can be maintained only if it’s privatized. At this meeting, he humiliates Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell), the CEO of a rival company who has unsuccessfully tried to outdo Stark’s technology with his own prototype machines; in an effort to get ahead, Hammer appeals to Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke), a Russian physicist who publically revealed his grudge against Stark by attacking him as he was car racing in Monaco. For as yet unknown reasons, Vanko has constructed an arc reactor very similar to the one implanted in Stark’s chest. He has improved the design by attaching whips that surge with bolts of electrical energy.

Stark, meanwhile, is realizing that his chest implant, originally constructed as a way to keep him alive, contains an element that’s slowly poisoning him. He doesn’t handle it well. He acts out. He drinks in excess. He hastily appoints his former personal assistant, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), as the new CEO of his company. If he’s to survive, he must replace the core of the implant with an entirely new element, one he has tried but failed to create on his own. Out of the blue comes special agent Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), who suggests that Stark look to his father’s research for guidance.

New to the cast is Don Cheadle, who replaces Terrence Howard as Stark’s dedicated but weary friend Lt. Colonel James Rhodes. Also new is Scarlett Johansson as Stark’s newly hired personal assistant Natalie Rushman, who says she’s from the company’s legal department.

Watching this movie, I was quite dazzled by the sights and sounds, and I found the plot engaging in a suspension-of-disbelief kind of way. I did not, however, find it persuasive, as I did the first film, which I felt put a refreshing and thought-provoking spin on the traditional comic book adversary; Stark might have physically battled with the power-hungry Obadiah Stane, but his real enemies were war and injustice, both of which he took part in by selling weapons of mass destruction. This time around, it’s much more by the book – a superhero pitted against a madman out for revenge, a fight to the finish that includes a lot of things blowing up, a showcase of digital wizardry and highly choreographed stunts. There are a number of films that can give you pretty much the same thing.

That being said, there’s no denying the quality of the performances, especially Downey, whose cocky take on Stark makes the film fun but not jokey. Rockwell is quite good, playing Hammer is if he were Stark’s slightly goofier evil twin – comedy relief with a hint of something darker, you might say. Credit also to Rourke, who truly does convey the anger, resentment, and pain his character feels in every one of his scenes. He isn’t given all that much screen time, but when he’s on, he’s on, resonating with a deep, calm, frighteningly low voice and an imposing build.

If there is an “Iron Man 3,” and I have no doubt that there will be, I can only hope it doesn’t follow its predecessor’s lead and decline in quality. The original “Iron Man” was a superb film, redefining the superhero genre for both old and new generations of moviegoers. “Iron Man 2” is a great looking and wonderfully performed sequel, although its approach to the story is routine, more so than I had preferred it to be. Still, you’ve got to hand it to director Jon Favreau and writer Justin Theroux – they sure know how to entertain an audience. There’s an early scene in which Stark, dressed as Iron Man, jumps off a plane, flies through the sky, and lands unharmed in the middle of one of his own lavishly high tech expos in New York City. Throngs of people cheer him on. I suspect the audiences for this movie will do the same when it’s over.

No rust on this “Iron” “I will admit that I was a tad worried about Iron Man 2, because, well let’s face it, the first movie was so fantastic that it was almost untouchable. I mean, with the first movie, you had the extraordinary talents of Downey, Howard, Paltrow, Bridges and plenty more anchoring what was an incredible must-see summer slam of a movie. However, seeing the trailers for the second movie made me think “Uh oh, Spider Man 3 all over again.” Sequels, especially superhero ones, seem to think that since they bring tons of random crap and characters into the frame, that they are always better, and as excited as I was for this movie, I felt it was going to be another one of those movies. So upon going into the theater, I kept those worries in mind.
Well, I can now officially say that those worries didn’t prevent me from loving the movie.

Remember when Michael Bay tried to accomplish something epic with Transformers 2 with all these new characters and stuff? Well, Jon Faverau has managed to accomplish what Michael Bay never did- make a near-perfect sequel that manages to be just as great as the first. Now like the first, there’s not a ton of action, but those scenes where action is absent, Faverau manages to make the most out of them. Complete with great action, laughs and characters, Iron Man 2 is the first big summer movie, and a must see on the big screen for sure, especially if you see it in digital!

***SPOILERS***
Iron Man 2 picks up half a year from when the first movie left off. The Stark Expo has just begun in Flushing, New York, and is to last all year. Tony, in a televised hearing, privatizes world peace. Life seems to be great, except for the fact that the reactor keeping him alive is killing him. This doesn’t stop him from being Iron Man though- he continues to go on as Iron Man for the moment. He even considers replacing Pepper Potts with Natalie Rushman, appointing Potts a CEO to Stark Industries. However, in Russia, Ivan Vanko, the son of physicist Anton Vanko, having just lost his father and jealous of Stark’s success, creates his own arc reactor, and becomes Whiplash, a badass villain with two electrified whips that can split anything in half with enough force.

His first appearance is at a race in Monaco, and after a brief (and failed) attempt to kill Tony, he meets up with Justin Hammer, Stark’s rival, and they both collaborate to build a new technology that will hopefully overthrow Tony. However, with a stint at Tony’s house appointing James Rhodes as War Machine, and several other plots, Tony Stark, suffering through personal problems, doesn’t know if he really can be Iron Man and resolve all this.

Now the plot may not sound that great, but when you see it in the movie, you will be impressed with how complex it is. To not spoil too much, I left some stuff out, because the movie is that great. Aside from the plot, everything else is great. The acting here is fantastic! Robert Downey Jr. has his usual charm here, playing the lovable jerk that is Tony Stark. Replacing Terrence Howard is Don Cheadle, and he does it well! I can’t believe I am saying this but I actually preferred him to Howard. Howard was great but wooden in places, whereas Cheadle was great the whole way. And Scarlett Johannson… whoa. When is she NEVER eye candy? As for her performance- this movie proves she is not just another pretty face. Her fight scene is just… mind blowingly amazing! Mickey Rourke gives a a fantastic performance as well, and manages to shine as the villain,

Of course, halfway through, the movie takes a break from the action and focuses on some character development- I was worried about it at first hearing but as I was watching the movie, I realized that sometimes, in superhero movies, character development does more than whiz-bang action. Don’t worry guys, the scenes where action is absent are just as great as the scenes with action. But the action scenes are INCREDIBLE!!!! People are exaggerating the lack of action- the last 20 minutes alone has more action than the first, and is certainly more thrilling than the first too. The climax certainly is a thrill, and I gotta say I had a blast seeing it on the big screen.

So in short, Iron Man 2 is a success. I had tons of fun seeing it on the big screen. A great sequel and a great standalone movie, Iron Man 2 is a sequel that truly kicks ass. Whatever worries you may have, I recommend you cast them aside, because you’re in for a 2 hour fun ride. So if you wanna see a sequel that truly kicks ass, this movie is it!

Worthy Sequel consolidates film series “Having really enjoyed the first Iron Man film, I was really looking forward to seeing this follow-up. Knowing that Chaplin’s Robert Downey Junior was once again assigned to the lead role, I was reassured that this would not be another of those sequels that merely trades off the success of its predecessor (see Police Academy). The film didn’t disappoint. It was more of the same, both in quality and tone, which is what I wanted, and I suppose most other Iron Man fans wanted.
The story follows up from the original film, but is heavily influenced by Robocop and its sequels, with humour undercutting the drama in many places. It isn’t so comedic that the serious part is undermined, but there are quite a few broad comedy moments. The character of Tony Stark disturbs a little in places, his self-destructive nature in terms of his business, his environment, and his health are all darker features of the character that elsewhere exhibits great optimism and positivity. Downey Junior brings this complex character to life – so that when he is out partying, you can see in his eyes the darker undertones of his personality. Gwyneth Paltrow returns as Pepper Potts, although a reset switch appears to have been hit, and the closeness they achieved towards the end of the first film is forgotten about and she is just his assistant, rather than nearly his wife. The relationship follows pretty much the same path this film, although she has a rival in the form of a sexy spy Scarlett Johansson, and an all star cast is completed with appearances from a very dirty looking Mickey Rourke as a Russian physicist with a grudge against Tony and Samuel Jackson as a spy pretty similar to the role he played in the Matrix.

Don Cheadle is great as his friend, Rhodey, but he’s a recast from Terrence Howard in the first film. Don makes a very good job of this and by the end, you forget that he’s not the same actor, and Marvel Comics boss Stan Lee’s cameo as Larry King has to be seen to be believed! Gary Shandling puts in a semi-comic performance as a senator, who is there to needle Stark, and threaten to take away his Iron Man suit. Shandling is just right for the role, looking now rather like a grinning Jimmy Carter/Kennedy type politician.

Overall, the look of this on blu-ray is excellent, and you can see how well the sets and effects have been made, although it’s a shame that the extras are very pedestrian, and it feels like little effort has been made with these. Clearly they are holding something back for the two disc edition, but this feels a bit mean, and makes disc collectors like me want to wait for “ultimate edition”s before buying. This doesn’t detract from the film though, which is heartily recommended to anyone who liked the original film.

Better than the original; best dialogue in a superhero movie. “This was one of the funniest movies I have ever seen. I was chuckling in the theaters and even more so when I was watching the DVD. The dialogues are that funny and extremely well executed by 4 of the best actors today. The four main actors (Downey, Paltrow, Rourke, and Rockwell) are all amazing actors and the acting level of this film itself makes this film worth watching.
I am not sure if I have heard of better banter between two members of opposite sex since Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant made the now legendary “Bringing up Baby” (1938).

The brilliance of Robert Downey Jr is that he makes Tony Stark, without his special suit, more interesting than the Ironman. He has real flaws and tries his best to cope with life’s challenges and is not always successful. He also has definite weaknesses and is forced to rely on his friends. Make no mistake, Tony Stark is not universally admired nor even liked. His relationship with the Avengers are definite love/hate as his relationship with his Pepper Potts.

His relationship with Natalie Rushman (Black Widow) played by Scarlett Johansson, is probably funniest as he tries to deal with many facets of her chameleon qualities. “How do you do it?”, questions the astounded Tony Stark, “You’re a triple impostor! I’ve never seen anything like it! Is there anything real about you?”.

The action sequences are also great. The final fighting sequence, however, could have been little longer and elaborate as it ended too predictably.

I give strong kudos to the writers, the director, and the actors for executing a movie with such memorable dialogues and humor.

I wish the 3rd Ironman would be more like the 2nd than the original. The original Ironman was good, but not this good. Too bad Rourke character can’t come back for the 3rd role, but I wish the rest all come back and give us another lesson on how movie dialogues should be executed with such expert comedic timing.

This is What Blu-Ray’s About (+Easter Egg!) “While I would give 4 stars to the theatrical release of this picture, the blu-ray package deserves the best rating. It’s packed with necessary features, and it looks absolutely fantastic. This purchase rekindled my love for blu-ray, and I’m impressed with Paramount and Marvel’s efforts. In a world filled with useless special features, Iron Man 2 gives us what we really want, although I still want more.
The film has its problems, but its definately solid. Some of the logic is absent, the plotwork thin, but the actors sell it and its nearly nonstop fun. It dips a little bit in the middle, but all of its fanboy treats made me fall in love with the film. I praise this film for squeezing great bits out from the Marvel universe, while still holding back a lot of big guns. The film gave me a fun Iron Man vs. Villain story, while still introducing me to a few new cherished Marvel characters. The biggest impact from Iron Man 2 is the undeniable tension it gives in me stemming from my desire to travel through time to see Thor, Captain America, and Avengers. Iron Man 2 is a great film on its own, but what I love about it most, is that it promises a great future.

As I stated earlier, the blu-ray is worth your money. Thankfully only one commentary exists (I’m tired of seeing the movie 5 times to learn all the secrets). And its backed up by blocky behind-the-scenes featurettes. I praised the second transformers movie, however flawed it was, for having a great blu-ray release. Paramount knows how to give people what they want in their purchase. Universal needs to abandon the U-control and get on board with what Paramount and Sony are providing.

*******Easter Egg*****
Watch the end of “Building a Legacy” on disc 2. You will be awarded, after the credits, with a clip of Thor filming. It contains an interview with the comic writing genius Michael J. Straczynski, and his humbled love for the film. I literally raised my legs and started kicking like a little girl.

Good film, great blu-ray. The film itself gave me all that I wanted, however sloppy it may have delivered it, and the blu-ray just nailed it. The only thing I request in the next installment is that they give more logical reasoning for the plot. The element creation plot, was a little hard to swallow for a chem major, and I don’t think they’ll be able to sell it with jokes next time. However, theres so much to love about this film that I can’t help ignoring its problems.

CREDIT by iBluray

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 4, 2011 9:11 am

    pass it on

  2. January 8, 2011 10:12 pm

    cool

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