by HELEN GEIB
Iron Man demonstrates the importance of casting. Robert Downey, Jr. plays Tony Stark and Stark’s alter ego Iron Man, and he makes the movie. That’s not to say that the rest of the movie isn’t well made, because it is. But it is all about Stark (and Stark putting on a public persona and Stark operating covertly as Iron Man). The character dominates the movie. It would have been a very different film with any other actor in the role and I can’t imagine it would have been anywhere near as entertaining. Downey is that good.
The film tells the Iron Man origin story: how genius scientist and wealthy arms manufacturer Tony Stark had a moral awakening when he was kidnapped by a terrorist organization, returning home to create a suit of full body armor equipped with cutting edge weaponry and rocket technology. More fundamentally, it is the story of Stark’s transformation from a playboy who moves through life with a devil may care attitude to a man willing to put his life on the line to combat injustice. It is a dramatic story, but far from a grim one. Stark fully retains his sardonic sense of humor post-transformation, and the film picks up on that aspect of his personality in many lighthearted moments that leaven the drama and the action.
Iron Man is being released in a single disc version and a two disc special edition. Extras on the special edition include deleted and extended scenes, a making-of documentary, feature on the crime fighter’s origins, feature on the special effects, Downey’s screen test, and production stills. The single disc edition includes only the deleted and extended scenes. There is a $5 price difference between the two versions, making the two disc edition a good buy for comic book fans and anyone who likes to watch DVD extras.
Other new releases this week: Bigger Stronger Faster, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies, Taxi to the Dark Side