‘Iron Man 2’ blasts his way on to USA Region free Blu-ray with a superb 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 transfer framed in the widescreen 2.35:1 aspect ratio. As you’d expect from a recent blockbuster, the source is absolutely pristine with no dirt, dust or scratches. Furthermore the image boasts amazing shadow detail, such as in the opening scenes where we are introduced to Mickey Rourke’s character Vanko. The dark and dank room has peeling paint and ‘distressed’ walls right into the corners.
Speaking of darkness, the blacks are deep and solid - particularly in the night time flying shots as Iron Man arrives at the Expo.
Throughout the entire movie, contrast is spot on while the image is pin sharp. Colours have a great accuracy such as in the dark metallic red of Iron Man’s suit and the day shots of the Monaco race. Skin tones are healthy in the Hollywood tan style that we all know and love, while the entire production screams big screen quality. Lovers of grain will generally have to look hard to find it, but there is an extremely fine sprinkling that might show up if you squint carefully. This transfer really cries out to be projected on a big screen as it looks so good, but it also looks impressive on a 50 inch plasma. We’ll be seeing this used as demo material for quite a while.
The audio on ‘Iron Man 2’ comes in a DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround mix that revitalises your enthusiasm for digital surround sound. From the very outset, the ambient effects impress within the confines of Ivan Vanko’s father’s room. You can almost hear the rising damp. Moving on to Iron Man leaping out of a plane before arriving at the Expo, our ears are assailed by the heavy rock track as he dodges the fireworks. The audience applause is all around us as he arrives on stage. Amid all the surround effects, the dialogue is still clear and intelligible. You really are placed right at the centre of the action. As Iron Man flies around, the bass extension adds to the threat of his thrusters. As Formula 1 cars are sliced in two and fly overhead- you are there, ducking and getting ready to run. There’s plenty here that will shake the foundations of the house, but I have seldom heard at track in recent years that gets it all so right.
A stonking good mix that will be appearing at a demo room near you soon.
There are two versions of ‘Iron Man 2’ out on American Region free Blu-ray – a three disc version and a Single disc. The version submitted for review was the single disc which has the following extras:
- Audio Commentary
Director Jon Favreau flies solo here and delivers an enthusiastic commentary that fans of the first movie as well as the latest entry should enjoy. He kicks off by providing the details of an unused alternative opening scene and continues to discuss the picture's structure, the building blocks of the story, the actors' participation in the movie, the locations, the film’s pacing, the humour content and much more. He does tend to tell you what’s happening on the screen from time to time, but he uses this as a basis to then move on to more interesting information.
- S.H.I.E.L.D. Data Vault (HD)
This feature allows viewers to explore S.H.I.E.L.D.'s data on the people, weapons, and technology surrounding Tony Stark. It’s possible to view the information in one of two modes. ‘Footage Scan Mode’ displays supporting data for several key scenes superimposed on top of the movie as it plays. ‘The Vault’ features the same material as ‘Footage Scan Mode’ but is accessible separately from the movie via a scrolling menu of scenes. ‘The Vault’ also contains a filing cabinet’s worth of additional data under headings such as Project: Iron Man, Project: New Mexico, Avengers Initiative, Super Soldier Initiative, and Missing: Bruce Banner. Each heading contains a wealth of selectable information that reveals character bios, secrets, field reports, and many other things to gladden the hearts of Marvel fans, the world over.
- Previsualization and Animatics (HD)
This is a pop-up secondary video window that features storyboards, animatics as well as live action test footage that plays over relevant scenes during the movie.
‘Iron Man 2’ thunders on to American Region Free Blu-ray with a truly stunning 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 transfer framed in the widescreen 2.35:1 aspect ratio. A pin sharp image with excellent contrast, deep blacks and rich colours is offered from a pristine recent source.
The DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround mix is just as impressive with wonderful surround steering, deep thuds from the subwoofer and clear speech throughout.
Extras on the single disc review version include a commentary from director Jon Favreau, a tonne of background data in the SHIELD Data Vault and more feature related material under the Previsualisation and Animatics section.
The movie itself is a hugely entertaining blockbuster sequel that is as good as if not better than the original ‘Iron Man’ with a great cast including Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Mickey Rourke, Sam Rockwell, Samuel L Jackson and Scarlett Johansson. Get it!
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- Audio Commentary