Iron Man 3 4K Blu-ray Review

You'll either love it, or you'll hate it.

by Casimir Harlow
SRP: £39.99

Iron Man 3 Film Review

The first linchpin franchise within the grander MCU gets divisive but arguably definitive treatment in Iron Man 3, courtesy of underappreciated writer/director Shane Black.

After the production of Iron Man 2 went off the rails, director Jon Favreau - who was initially tipped for a trilogy - was replaced by his sometime writing collaborator Shane Black (Lethal Weapon, Lethal Weapon 2, The Nice Guys, The Last Boy Scout, The Long Kiss Goodnight), making his blockbuster debut here. Working from Warren Ellis' great Extremis comic story (which was also used for elements of the first film), although still maintaining some Demon in a Bottle nods, the end result was - for good or bad - ultimately more Shane Black than anything else. Internal monologues. Christmas. Helicopter attacks. Shipping containers. Down-on-his-luck hero forced to get back-to-basics. Unlikely bantering partners. Torture sequence. And, above all else, a strikingly witty script driven by excellent repartee and sharp one-liners.

If you don't appreciate Shane Black's earlier features then none of this will mean anything; if you do, Iron Man 3 at least has some context, and if you're not too scarred by what he (or the Studios) did with the recent abomination that was The Predator, you may find that, under the surface, Iron Man 3 is the purest and most quintessentially Iron Man of all three films.

If you don't appreciate Shane Black's earlier features then none of this will mean anything; if you do, Iron Man 3 at least has some context

Downey Jr. and Black had already worked together - before the great Downey Jr. comeback - to great effect in the latter's directorial debut, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, and, despite Stark being such an already well-established character, the two manage to still bring some considerable depth to the role, handling heavyweight matters far better than in the preceding instalments. The hints of PTSD are injected organically into the narrative (unlike the drunken boxing in Iron Man 2) and his character arc is easily the most significant since the first entry, building on the fallout from Avengers paving the way for Ultron, Civil War, and the Infinity War/Endgame conclusion.

Sure, both Guy Pearce and Ben Kingsley disappoint in their own separate ways (the twist involving the latter was always going to frustrate fans, but the reveal of the former doesn't really fill the void) but the Extremis assassins have a suitably menacing T-1000 vibe to them. And, sure, the messy epic battle at the end goes OTT in a dictated-by-Marvel kind of way, but there's still plenty of excellent moments for Black and Downey Jr. to trade in, whether in the shocking mansion assault, or the stunning Air Force One setpiece, or in the smaller scenes like when he has to do some tech improv, battle wits with a child, or banter with Rhodey at the docks. It's a shame that so many didn't get on board with what Black did with Iron Man (the same reaction Waititi's superb Thor: Ragnarok received) as it is the polar opposite of the cookie-cutter Iron Man 2, and exemplifies what happens when a signature director actually gets free rein. Clearly, still a marmite movie for many, if you love it, you'll love it a lot.

Iron Man 3 4K Picture

Iron Man 3
Iron Man 3 comes to UK Ultra HD Blu-ray courtesy of Disney, marrying up to their identical US release. The first of the MCU films to be shot digitally, at resolutions closer to 4K, it is still ostensibly limited by a 2K Digital Intermediate, nevertheless yielding strong results on the format.

The disc presents a 3840 x 2160p resolution image utilising the film's original theatrical aspect ratio of widescreen 2.4:1. It uses 10-bit video depth, a Wide Colour Gamut (WCG) and High Dynamic Range (HDR), and is encoded using the HEVC (H.265) codec.

We reviewed the UK Ultra HD Blu-ray release of Iron Man 3 on an LG 55B7 Dolby Vision 4K Ultra HD OLED TV with an LG UP970 Dolby Vision 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player.

Despite the first two films garnering controversy through DNR application that simply isn't an issue here, Iron Man 3 is not without its own more questionable elements even if, by and large, it remains an excellent video presentation

Having just grown accustomed to the controversial but largely still impressive DNR work done to turn both Iron Man's 4K video and Iron Man 2's 4K video into more visually digitally-styled productions, Iron Man 3 unsurprisingly proves the least controversial as it was naturally shot digitally anyway, making the light DNR pass almost unnoticeable. It was also arguably the best looking of the non-Disney German 4K Iron Man releases, although the differences here - interestingly - are still quite startling.

Detail remains superbly rendered, lapping up intricacies on close-ups, facial damage and weathered visages; clothing textures and battle-damaged armour; and all of the intricate trappings of the myriad locales - the 4K video offers a nice uptick over its 1080p counterpart, and does so without any noteworthy quibbles about DNR application and lack of natural grain.

HDR and WCG, as usual, make all the difference, although this is where those who own the German 4K release of Iron Man 3 may find things a little frustrating. The German disc blew out the highlights, running extremely hot, and getting the colour timing frequently wrong (particularly in supposed night sequences), but it is also head and shoulders brighter, more vibrant and vivid than this, which arguably goes a smidge too far in the other direction, muting tones and dialling the colours back a little. Sure, it would be easy to assume this is Black's style - probably exactly as he intended - but a marriage between the two extremes may have been arguably slightly more preferable, even if Disney's is clearly the more professional. So, despite the first two films garnering controversy through DNR application that simply isn't an issue here, Iron Man 3 is not without its own more questionable elements even if, by and large, it remains an excellent video presentation.

Iron Man 3 4K Sound

Iron Man 3
Completing the trifecta, Iron Man 3 follows suit over the preceding films in the trilogy on their official 4K bows, earning itself a welcome 3D High Definition object-based immersive audio upgrade in the form of Dolby Atmos.

A superbly reference track

Iron Man 3 always had a stunning audio track, even without an immersive audio upgrade, easily hitting reference standards. Still, the Atmos provides a welcome difference here, rendering dialogue clearly and coherently, largely across the frontal array, whilst taking full advantage of that object-based magic when it comes to the effects - helicopters whipping across your ceiling, a salvo of rockets tearing through your walls, and the energy-based thrum of Extremis burning its way into your living room. The Air Force One setpiece still remains a tremendous action sequence, with blown-out doors sucking the air out of your room, and low altitude warnings ringing out in your ears. The finale too explodes with multi-channel excellence, and LFE input is pervasive throughout, which may well get you evicted.

An excellent score given similar, stunning treatment, rounds out a superbly reference track.

Iron Man 3 4K Extras

Iron Man 3
Again, nothing on the 4K, with the BD coming with the same Shane Black Commentary, Agent Carter Short Film, Featurettes, Deleted Scenes and Gag Reel

Iron Man 3 4K Verdict

9
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

Iron Man 3 4K Blu-ray Review

Iron Man 3

Clearly still a marmite movie for many, if you love it, you'll love it a lot

The Iron Man Trilogy was long overdue on the format - so long indeed that Germany jumped the gun with its non-Disney 4K set - but this set is well worth the wait, providing largely excellent video, stunning Atmos audio upgrades, and the old Blu-ray extras. It's a must-have for fans.

Highly Recommended

Scores

Movie

.
9

Picture Quality

.
.
8

Sound Quality

10

Extras

.
.
8

Overall

.
9
9
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

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