Iron Man 2 [Blu-Ray] Jon Favreau

Iron Man 2 [Blu-Ray] Jon Favreau
All eyes are on Tony Stark, both in the film and real life, for this follow-up to his underdog hit debut. Having announced to the world that he's Iron Man (and that B-List superheroes can be major cash cows), Stark is now an uber-celebrity, a kind of vigilante rock star. He makes fully suited public appearances and throws extravagant parties. Behind the glamour though, Tony is crumbling. The Arc Reactor that powers his suit and keeps the shrapnel out of his heart is slowly poisoning him. With Tony distracted searching for a solution, Stark Industries has fallen into disarray and the task of running things lands squarely on Pepper Potts (Gwenneth Paltrow). She and Stark have a playfully bickering relationship, electrically charged by the formidable talents and improvised barbs of Paltrow and Robert Downey Jr., who remains the perfect embodiment of the brilliant, charming, arrogant hero. There's a lot of plot to deal with in what is as much an episode of a larger story as standalone film. Russian engineer Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke) has built his own Arc Reactor, teaming up with arms developer Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell) in a bid to take down Stark, both physically and financially. Both actors swing for the bleachers, nailing the nuances of their characters like the consummate professionals they are. Meanwhile, there's the looming Avengers Initiative to deal with, which is where Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) come in. Oh, and there's James Rhodes' (Don Cheadle, improving on Terence Howard's interpretation) emergence as War Machine, torn between his loyalty to his friend and his military superiors, who desperately want the Iron Man tech for themselves. It's a great deal to digest, and the film occasionally suffers minor coherence issues as a result of plot-thread overload. But as a whole, Iron Man 2 is immensely fun, with seamless special effects, great action and most of all, a wicked sense of humour that takes full advantage of its stars' natural gifts. Loaded with features spread across two Blu-Ray discs, there's enough secretive hinting to keep fan-boys salivating until Thor drops. On the main feature disc, there's the "S.H.I.E.L.D. Data Vault"; it's a grouping of dossiers highlighting details pertaining to the greater Marvel universe via text, video and static images. There's an option to watch the film with this data popping when it occurs and the same approach is taken with previsualization animatics and storyboards, though it lacks an index for direct access. Feature commentary with Jon Favreau rounds out the first disc. An enormous "Making Of," with a very candid Favreau and writer Justin Theroux, covers the entire production process, and additional featurettes flesh out the history of Nick Fury, Black Widow and War Machine, with comments from the actors. Also included: a tribute to DJ AM, deleted scenes (highlighted by more Olivia Munn and an alternate opening), with optional joking insights from Favreau and a video for AC/DC's "Shoot to Thrill." These creators and performers obviously care deeply about the mythology they're building with Marvel and consistently deliver high standards to audiences. I eagerly await the next chapter. (Paramount)