Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Video review: "Iron Man 2"
"Iron Man 2" was still fun, but just didn't have the polish of the 2008 summer hit. With only two years between films, the sequel was bound to feel slapdash and hurried-up.
Robert Downey Jr. returns as Tony Stark, brilliant billionaire owner of a multi-national corporation. Having outed himself as the man behind the Iron Man mask, Stark has been living it up, forcing evildoers into hiding and giving the high hat to congressional committees to boot.
But things are worrisome behind the glitzy veneer: The gizmo in Stark's chest that powers the super-suit and keeps his damaged heart pumping is slowly poisoning him. And Ivan Vanko, son of an old business partner of Stark's daddy, wants revenge for perceived injustices. Vanko builds his own super-suit complete with freaky power-whips, which he uses to nearly kill Stark.
Other players emerge from the periphery.
Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) is still talking about putting a team of super-heroes together. He plants Scarlett Johansson as Stark's secretary, whose skills go beyond Excel spreadsheets. Right-hand woman Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) still yearns for Stark's affections, and old buddy James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) is raring to become his super-suited sidekick.
Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell) is some sort of Steve Jobs-meets-war profiteer competitor of Stark's who soon partners up with Vanko.
Watching "Iron Man 2" feels obligatory, like getting off a roller-coaster and climbing right back on again: Now that you know where the loops and drops are, it's not quite as thrilling.
The film is available in a two-disc DVD set, or a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack. Extras are good on DVD, moving to fabulous with the combo.
The DVD includes a digital copy -- all too rare these days; usually studios reserve that for the Blu-ray. There's a feature-length commentary by director Jon Favreau, four deleted scenes, two making-of featurettes, and a music video.
The Blu-ray combo has all that, and tons more.
The first disc includes the "S.H.I.E.L.D. Data Vault" -- an interactive pop-up feature with behind-the-scenes goodies. There's also previsualization and animatics of the special effects.
Disc two includes an extensive making-of documentary, four more deleted scenes, four more featurettes, and a gallery of concept art.
Movie: 2.5 stars out of four
Extras: 3.5 stars