154 of 180 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A frank review by an Iron Man Fanboy
I've loved Iron Man ever since my first Tales of Suspense comic, so I might not be the most unbiased person to write a review. Still, I'm going to try and be as honest as I possibly can. In some ways, Iron Man 2 improves on the original. For instance, the brawl between Iron Man and War Machine was perfect, and RDJr was even better this time around. However, there were...
Published on September 27, 2010 by Amazon Customer
74 of 101 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars When your most exciting moment in an IRONMAN movie is Scarlett Johansson beating up cops, there is a major problem.
WOW! What happened here!? After such a surprise smash of an original, how could this sequel come off so . . . well, boring?
I admit, at first I found the slower pace refreshing. After all, isn't that the direction every other sequel takes? Bigger, louder, faster, less plot? So when the film opened with about twenty or thirty minutes of talk revolving around...
Published on May 15, 2010 by Steve Forsyth
Most Helpful First | Newest First
154 of 180 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A frank review by an Iron Man Fanboy,
I've loved Iron Man ever since my first Tales of Suspense comic, so I might not be the most unbiased person to write a review. Still, I'm going to try and be as honest as I possibly can. In some ways, Iron Man 2 improves on the original. For instance, the brawl between Iron Man and War Machine was perfect, and RDJr was even better this time around. However, there were some weak moments. For example, Pepper Potts is almost absent from the movie, and is shrill and unpleasant during her brief appearances. Whiplash has never been a particularly compelling villain, and the movie doesn't do much to make him any more exciting. Also, they really need to STOP with the "Iron Man fights someone who has the same technology" plots. It's already boring. Plus, I couldn't help but wonder where a drunken hobo managed to get the equipment to build an Arc Reactor. Stark did it in the first movie because he had several billion dollars worth of his own weaponry to cannibalize. How does a homeless Russian manage it? Furthermore, the character of Justin Hammer was silly and played for laughs, which was the wrong move. It had a real "Jim Carrey in Batman Forever" vibe to it.
Others have mentioned the unnecessary plot lines, and they're right. We could have done entirely without the "Paladium Poisoning" and the "Under House Arrest by SHIELD" plots, since neither of them really went anywhere, and felt like padding in a movie that didn't need any. I didn't mind the Black Widow showing up, but eventually it felt like we were tripping over minor characters. Also, they're not fooling anyone with the whole "The Avengers don't want Tony Stark" subplot. None of us believe for a moment that they'd do an Avengers movie without the only Avenger that's proven to be a box-office success.
Still, it was a good movie. Perhaps not a GREAT movie like the first one, but at least it wasn't a franchise-killing fiasco like Spiderman 3 or Batman and Robin. Honestly, if none of us had ever seen the original Iron Man, we'd all be talking about how this movie was one of the best Comic Book movies ever. But as it is, it's over-shadowed by it's phenomenal predecessor.
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thanks for nothing, Amazon,
Love the movie, but if you are going to advertise something as containing a digital copy you shouldn't sell ones where the codes are expired. You can do better than this, Amazon.com.
82 of 107 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A SOLID SEQUEL, HEAVY ON STARK AND LIGHT ON IRON!,
While Iron Man 2 may not be perfect, it is a very solid and fun sequel. Improvements include better action sequences and some great characters added to the franchise. Unfortunately there is a lot going on here and even though it isn't hard to follow, there isn't enough time to give each sub plot the proper screen time it deserves. Oddly enough for a super hero film, I think they could have edited some of the talky scenes down and added a little more Iron Man action.
A good example of this is when we meet Natasha Romanova she isn't given much to do and I found myself wondering if she was going to be The Black Widow on screen. She is only in one action sequence(a great one with one of the funniest moments in the film)late in the movie and she and Nick Fury are really only there to set up The Avengers movie. I'm not saying it should be edited out, but there is only so much ground you can cover in two hours. Whiplash is played with gusto by Mickey Rourke, but he doesn't have much screen time either and that seems to be the problem with this film, no one but Tony Stark gets enough screen time.
After the first encounter with Whiplash in Monaco on the race track, we don't really get a good dose of Iron man until the final battle, which means there is over an hour of time where there isn't that much action. Considering what I had read about this being an action packed film, I found it to be very talky. This isn't necessarily a bad thing because the characters are well developed and the actors are all really good here.
The final battle is very good with some very cool Iron Man destruction and some nifty moves, but it's surprising and anti-climatic when Whiplash is defeated very quickly. In the first film, I thought the final battle was too long and in this one, it just seems to end too abruptly. I'm not bashing this film in any way as it is a very fun film that I will most certainly own the DVD/Blu Ray when it is released, but I think the story may have been a little too ambitious for one film.
Overall I give Iron Man 2 a solid B(4 stars)and I think Favreau did a very good job all things considered. Of course if you are seeing this in a theater, then stick around until the end of the credits role for a little teaser scene about another Marvel Hero who will be hitting theaters next year.
41 of 53 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A High Tech, Lesser Value Superhero Sequel,
At the end of 2008, I made two bold assertions: (1) That "Iron Man" was one of the year's best films; (2) that "Iron Man" was one of the greatest superhero films ever made. I still believe both to be true. Now we have "Iron Man 2." While it is thoroughly entertaining, it's also a bit conventional when compared to its predecessor, having less of a compelling story but more in the ways of action, special effects, gadgets, humor, and stunt work. It's a comic book through and through. That's fine by me - what it lacks in introspection it more than makes up for in sheer fun. We have plenty to cheer for, not the least of which is our hero, billionaire industrialist Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.), who when we last left him had shut down the weapon's division of his company to focus on more humanitarian uses for technology. The result was a high tech metal suit equipped with rocket boosters and missile launchers.
It's now six months after Stark revealed himself as Iron Man at a press conference. Despite the demands of a United States Senate committee, he refuses to share his technology with the American military, believing that world peace can be maintained only if it's privatized. At this meeting, he humiliates Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell), the CEO of a rival company who has unsuccessfully tried to outdo Stark's technology with his own prototype machines; in an effort to get ahead, Hammer appeals to Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke), a Russian physicist who publically revealed his grudge against Stark by attacking him as he was car racing in Monaco. For as yet unknown reasons, Vanko has constructed an arc reactor very similar to the one implanted in Stark's chest. He has improved the design by attaching whips that surge with bolts of electrical energy.
Stark, meanwhile, is realizing that his chest implant, originally constructed as a way to keep him alive, contains an element that's slowly poisoning him. He doesn't handle it well. He acts out. He drinks in excess. He hastily appoints his former personal assistant, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), as the new CEO of his company. If he's to survive, he must replace the core of the implant with an entirely new element, one he has tried but failed to create on his own. Out of the blue comes special agent Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), who suggests that Stark look to his father's research for guidance.
New to the cast is Don Cheadle, who replaces Terrence Howard as Stark's dedicated but weary friend Lt. Colonel James Rhodes. Also new is Scarlett Johansson as Stark's newly hired personal assistant Natalie Rushman, who says she's from the company's legal department.
Watching this movie, I was quite dazzled by the sights and sounds, and I found the plot engaging in a suspension-of-disbelief kind of way. I did not, however, find it persuasive, as I did the first film, which I felt put a refreshing and thought-provoking spin on the traditional comic book adversary; Stark might have physically battled with the power-hungry Obadiah Stane, but his real enemies were war and injustice, both of which he took part in by selling weapons of mass destruction. This time around, it's much more by the book - a superhero pitted against a madman out for revenge, a fight to the finish that includes a lot of things blowing up, a showcase of digital wizardry and highly choreographed stunts. There are a number of films that can give you pretty much the same thing.
That being said, there's no denying the quality of the performances, especially Downey, whose cocky take on Stark makes the film fun but not jokey. Rockwell is quite good, playing Hammer is if he were Stark's slightly goofier evil twin - comedy relief with a hint of something darker, you might say. Credit also to Rourke, who truly does convey the anger, resentment, and pain his character feels in every one of his scenes. He isn't given all that much screen time, but when he's on, he's on, resonating with a deep, calm, frighteningly low voice and an imposing build.
If there is an "Iron Man 3," and I have no doubt that there will be, I can only hope it doesn't follow its predecessor's lead and decline in quality. The original "Iron Man" was a superb film, redefining the superhero genre for both old and new generations of moviegoers. "Iron Man 2" is a great looking and wonderfully performed sequel, although its approach to the story is routine, more so than I had preferred it to be. Still, you've got to hand it to director Jon Favreau and writer Justin Theroux - they sure know how to entertain an audience. There's an early scene in which Stark, dressed as Iron Man, jumps off a plane, flies through the sky, and lands unharmed in the middle of one of his own lavishly high tech expos in New York City. Throngs of people cheer him on. I suspect the audiences for this movie will do the same when it's over.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Sir, I'm gonna have to ask you to exit the doughnut?",
There's nothing like that first kiss, yeah, and so even though IRON MAN 2 comes out and unleashes its share of awesomeness, even though it is very much worth a look, the mystery is gone, the expectations met, we've, er, already copped that feel. IRON MAN 2, good as it is, doesn't drop on us like lightning in a bottle, and so it isn't quite as exhilarating. What it does give us is more of that good Robert Downey, Jr.
The guy has made the Invincible Iron Man into his own, and I can't see anyone else now as Tony Stark, and I'm betting you can't, either. Downey brings the same devilish, bigger-than-life charisma, that same brash "I'm Tony Stark! Who the eff are you?!" swagger. Tony Stark is brilliant and ego-centric, but he's got good intentions. His heart's in the right place, and so we forgive the rampant narcissism. Plus, he's a fun dude to be around.
IRON MAN 2 chronicles Tony's fall from grace and his redemption. Six months ago Tony Stark told the world that he was Iron Man. But has fame and success gone to his head? He's been more eccentric lately, indulging even more in hedonism lately, and he's conducting the Stark Expo like it's a rock concert (which is actually bloody cool). Certain parties are worried. Iron Man's arrival had gone a ways into ensuring global peace or at least global detente. But six months later, the American government - as embodied in the person of the slimy Senator Stern (Garry Shandling) - is itching to get its paws on the Iron Man tech and, so, Tony has to attend senate hearings. Stark, in his own inimitable manner, blows the hearings out of the water.
There's a fatal flaw in the schematics, a gremlin in the wires. Carefree on the outside, on the inside Tony is very concerned. The palladium element in the arc reactor in his chest is gradually poisoning him, and each use of the Iron Man armor accelerates the condition. But he keeps up the pretense, having informed no one of his impending death. Maybe you can't blame the guy for carrying on so.
I actually expected this movie to delve into Tony's alcoholism (from the classic story arc in the comics), but we only get a peek at the man's fondness for booze. We do get moments when we see the flamboyant playboy take a sippy, as well as one epic drunken binge at a party (while in armor, no less). This public eff-up sends Tony's credibility plummeting, and that slimy senator's smirk just got even smirkier.
Rival industrialist Justin Hammer isn't the Big Bad of the movie, but Sam Rockwell supplies him with a pronounced air of unctuousness, and you hate him. Hammer, fed up with languishing in Stark's shadow, hires a crazed and tattooed Russian physicist to craft his own arsenal of armored suits, and a Russian physicist played by the menacing Mickey Rourke probably would have no choice but to be crazed and tattooed. They don't call Rourke's character by his supervillain code name, but it's Whiplash (with a smidge of Crimson Dynamo thrown in). He nurses a serious grudge against Tony and Tony's father, Howard Stark, who had a falling out with Whiplash's own inventor father. But how does Rourke get away with chewing a toothpick all the time?
IRON MAN 2 isn't magic like the first movie and that initial sense of novelty has worn off, but it's still terrific and the scale is bigger. Downey's presence drives the thing, and the fact that we don't mind that Tony Stark is onscreen more than Iron Man says something about the skills set Downey brings to the party. We still get that good banter between him and Gwyneth Paltrow. Don Cheadle takes over from Terrence Howard, and it's like he's always been on board as Rhodey. The f/x is flawless state of the art stuff; there's nothing like heavy metal clashing resoundingly. If you've at all seen the posters and the trailer, then you already know War Machine would make his debut, and he may not be as impressive as the ol' shellhead but, damn, he's got all those big mounted guns. And, for dessert, curvy Scarlett Johansson steps into the franchise as the smoking hot Black Widow and she demonstrates high levels of kickassery. And oh that sexy black leather....
I only wish Pepper Potts were given more stuff to do.
Jon Favreau features himself more as Happy Hogan, a chauffer in this incarnation, and I'm not mad at Favreau. What's the point of being director if you can't call your own number once in a while? Meanwhile, IRON MAN 2, in a scene here and there, gets us another step closer to that Avengers movie. Somewhere, executives from DC Comics must be gnashing their teeth, late to the game, lagging behind. The Green Lantern movie had better be something.
And, as become a habit with Marvel Studios flicks, stick around until after the closing credits, yeah? Nerd nirvana awaits.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good sequel but dvd lacks special features,
You would think that a 2 disc edition of a movie like Iron Man 2 would be loaded with special features. Maybe something like how they did Whiplash, behind the scenes, cast interviews, a little history on the characters Whiplash, WarMachine, Black Widow and Justin Hammer, etc. No they have the following:
-4 Deleted Scenes (2 extended, 1 alternate and 1 deleted scene)
-Behind the scenes on the Iron Man and WarMachine costumes mixed how they did some scenes involving them
-A little documentary on making the Stark Expo set
-The Shoot to Thrill by AC/DC music video
-The digital copy of the movie
These were all good but I would expect more especially if you pay the $22.99 or whatever you paid for the movie. They could have excluded the digital copy and crammed all the features into the 1 disc edition which only has commentary. Then also sell the movies in another edition with the digital copy.
Now for the movie. I dont care what people thought. I really enjoyed the movie. I have no idea what they mean by No story. I want reveal much so it wont spoil the movie. But you can clearly tell what the storyline is right off the bat.
It deals mostly with the "Demon in a Bottle" storyline which is considered the best Iron Man story ever. Iron Man deals with a new villian Whiplash (ok its a hybrid of Whiplash and Crymson Dynamo) played by Mickey Rourke. Other new characters include Natalie Rushman aka Black Widow (Scarlett Johanson) and Justin Hammer.
The movie does have an issue of introducing too many characters but that can be ignored. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) has a bigger role in this as he appears in a few scenes (mainly about talking about "The Avengers") as apposed to his after the credits scene in the first.
Like the first, there is an extra scene after the credits that sets up for Marvel's next big movie.
Set aside the lack of special features. Good movie to own
74 of 101 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars When your most exciting moment in an IRONMAN movie is Scarlett Johansson beating up cops, there is a major problem.,
WOW! What happened here!? After such a surprise smash of an original, how could this sequel come off so . . . well, boring?
I admit, at first I found the slower pace refreshing. After all, isn't that the direction every other sequel takes? Bigger, louder, faster, less plot? So when the film opened with about twenty or thirty minutes of talk revolving around Tony Stark's insistence he's got "peace privatized" while a senate subcommittee isn't so sure, I was actually interested. When we saw that Stark was being poisoned by the very tech that was keeping him alive (as Jarvis so conveniently spells out for us slow viewers), again, intriguing . . .
Here's the problem - this stuff is supposed to be the setup, NOT the ENTIRE MOVIE! Yes, at the 90 minute mark (literally, I checked my watch) when Stark was STILL dealing with these same issues, I was no longer pleased with the slow pace - I was BEGGING the movie to start doing something interesting! Minus the "race track" sequence (most of which you've already seen in the trailer) the first half of the film has zero Iron Man action (unless you count a drunken brawl between Stark and Rhodey - a glorified barfight).
By the time the woefully underused Mickey Rourke FINALLY unleashes his devious plot to assault Ironman with a batch of robots, the film has a mere 20 minutes left to go - and the ensuing climatic battle feels like what it is - a perfunctory, tacked on conclusion - seemingly included only because the filmmakers begrudgingly admit they are, in fact, making an action movie, and not a dramatic comedy. As such, the final showdown between Ironman and Whiplash takes up all of about two minutes, and then the movie sprints for its closing credits.
Also wasted as the lovely Scarlett Johansson, who has, as I suggested in my title, the films only truly enjoyable sequence as she does her Matrix-Infused-Latex-Dominatrix best in taking down a squad of security cops. When a redhead girl's stunt-double brings more excitement to your movie than the titular Iron-clad hero, there is a SERIOUS problem!
I think I understand what the problem is - the makers of the first film analyzed the reaction, saw that Robert Downey, Jr. got most of the praise for that film, and decided to build the sequel NOT around bigger and better action, but instead around twice as many opportunities for Downey to quip and mug and annoy other characters. In fact, not only do they give us double the Downey, but they also introduce a rival arms dealer (Sam Rockwell) to do the exact same act, only for evil instead of good.
All this means that if you enjoy Downey and Rockwell (who are both great at what they do) and don't mind a film built on their overindulgence, then you might like this sequel. But if you go in expecting a bigger, badder Iron Man, don't . . . this is one of the first sequels I've ever seen that delivers LESS action than its predecessor.
As others have suggested, at the end of the day, this film is essentially more a promotion for the supposedly upcoming AVENGERS movie - a film that is constantly being talked about and promised for some as yet unannounced future date. If the further proposed films that are supposed to lead up to AVENGERS are as dull as this one, that day may never come.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than the first?,
This review is from: Iron Man 2 (Single-Disc Edition) (DVD)
A director who always stars in his own movies? The last time we had this successful combo was Alfred Hitchcock. Lately, we have Jon Favreau and his Iron Man movies. Based on the Marvel Comics and starring his friend Robert Downey Junior, Iron Man 1 and 2 were box office successes and rated well with critics. This 2nd installation takes of where the first one ended, and employs the same comedy, sarcasm, action style, and main characters as the first one, though with different villians of course. And in this movie, the romance between Iron Man and his secretary / assistant leads to their first kiss. As usual, the special effects are great, the story is original, the plot keeps the audience on their toes, and we have the SHIELD organization lurking in the background. All told, a great movie.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Blu Ray Bundle review, NOT Iron Man 2 review.,
Just for clarification: I am reviewing the 3 disc combo, not necessarily the movie, although the movie was good.
I like that studios are making the bigger releases available in "3 disc" combos, and Iron Man 2 is no exception. Since BD tech is relatively new, not all of my friends or family have BD players yet, so being able to bring my DVD to their houses, while being able to enjoy the full 1080p at home, is a definite plus. The "Digital Copy" is not so thrilling (the reason for the loss of the 1 star). I have multiple BD's with digital copies, and I have not had a good experience with one yet, so I don't even bother anymore. I'll just continue to watch my movies the old fashioned way until they finally do away with it (the ridiculous DRM or discs all together - the more likely scenario). I now understand why movie pirating is becoming so proliferant; it's almost as if they would rather you downloaded an illegal copy then get to actually enjoy the one you paid for!
Things to consider when buying this 3-disc combo is that if you don't have a BD player yet, but plan to buy one and really want Iron Man 2 NOW, you can't go wrong. If you probably won't buy a BD player, I would get the DVD alone instead (if they offer it, that is). And if you already have a BD Player, and think the DVD is just a waste: maybe it is, but then again, maybe it isn't if you think about all of the people you know that don't have BD players and might want to borrow your movie, or have you come over to watch it with them. And you can play the DVD in pretty much 99% of all laptops; so the DVD is a bit more flexible than the BD.
There is also a lot of extra content packed into this deal, some 3+ hours of it. If you like all of this extra stuff, then that's just gravy on top of an already pretty sweet combo deal (assuming you enjoy gravy on your sweets).
Overall, for the great deal that I feel I got on this combo, it was well worth it and I have plenty of bonus material to keep me busy should I choose.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Iron Man 2 (3-disc Edition) (Blu-ray),
Movie - 4.5
In 2008, Iron Man took the box office by storm garnering high praise from fans and critics alike and grossing over $500 million worldwide. Personally, I was very surprised at how I liked it for its storytelling, witty humor, and blockbuster production values. It was thoughtful enough in establishing Tony Stark as a meaningful character, while at the same time providing loads of entertainment. With expectations set high, Iron Man 2 has a lot of anticipation going for it. And while it doesn't quite exceed its predecessor, I think it's just as good. The plot opens up 6 months after the end of the first film and puts Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) in the presence of a senate hearing where the government basically wants him to turn the Iron Man suit over at the "interest of national security." But being the egotistical, yet virtuous, man that he is, Stark defends his case with ease by nonchalantly proving it'd be safer under his own personal use. Seeing this from afar, Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke), is sickened by Stark's actions and false pretenses and vows to put him in his place. In the meantime, rival weapons contractor Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell) takes notice of Vanko's ambition and offers his resources in a joint effort to take down both Iron Man, as well as an ailing Tony Stark. Narrative wise, IM2 is a little less personable than the first as we were introduced to Stark, saw him realize his guilt, then become Iron Man in an effort of redemption. Here, after discovering that his palladium chest piece is slowly killing him, Stark must face his own mortality in and outside of the suit. But at the same time, being who he is (i.e. very kept to himself), he refuses confide in anyone. As a result, it alienates him and tarnishes his more likable portrayal from the first film. However, once he comes to terms with his father's legacy, he realizes his mistake and strives to become, not just Iron Man again, but the Iron Man worthy of his Avengers candidacy. The real diverging point in IM2, though, (and probably something that's greatly divided the fanbase) is the excess of comic book elements thrown in. The additions of Nick Fury, Black Widow, War Machine, Whiplash, Justin Hammer, and his robot army might feel a bit overwhelming with their newness. But I personally love the feeling of expansion it gives, especially considering the massive amount of crossovers, cameos, and references that will have to be made when Thor, Captain America, Iron Man 3, and The Avengers movies are done. But don't let that deter you. Despite all of the extra components, IM2 is still fun to watch with a snarkier script, more brisk pacing, better special effects, stellar action sequences, and a star-studded cast of actors. The next two years can't come soon enough.
Video - 5.0
Iron Man 2 presents itself with a much fuller image than the first movie. I absolutely love the filmic texture this one has in comparison. The slightly darker look may throw some people off, but I think it helps a great deal in CG effects integration, making for quite a pristine picture. To start off, colors possess an amazing amount of vibrancy. Red, gold, orange, yellow, occasional blues, and a little bit of green (in the Japanese garden) dominate the palette presenting some very cool shots, especially for action scenes. Blacks are deep and inky, while shadow delineation reveals an adequate amount of depth in all the tiny little lines and textures, nothing less from a Blu-ray with a newly minted transfer. Contrast helps to balance things out and doesn't waver a bit in terms of saturation levels or screen lighting. Facial features and flesh tones look excellent, particularly Scarlett Johansson with her pouty lips and pretty green eyes when we see her for the first time and she gets into the training ring. But getting back to the CG, I have to reiterate just how flawless it all looks and fits into the picture and overall scope of the plot. I thought IM1 looked good. But considering how much more action-packed IM2 is, it's amazing to even contemplate the amount of work that went into producing this special effects extravaganza. You can pretty much use any of the action sequences as demo material for the video or audio. But if I had to narrow it down to specific scenes, I'd say the fight in Monaco is definitely good for contrast (being the only daytime fight scene in the entire movie), the meeting with Nick Fury for black levels (not a racial thing, he just happens to be wearing a lot of black, which shows some good detail in his clothes), and the final battle at the Stark Expo/Japanese Garden for overall color (lots of greens, pinks, and charcoals, especially recommended). There's a little bit of banding in the digital backgrounds, but it's only a minor quibble in an otherwise reference video presentation. There are no signs EE, DNR, or a single artifact to sully, yet, another very fine transfer from the people at Paramount.
Audio - 5.0
Like the video, the audio portion of this film also outdoes its predecessor. The DTS-HD track here is instant go-to material and very representative of the advantages of lossless audio in general. From the very beginning of the movie, we get an enticing tease of what to expect in terms of directionality, separation, and LFEs as the opening credits introduce us to some ominous music, Ivan working on his own Arc Reactor, and some pounding bass effects. Aside from the obvious gunfire and weapons mayhem, the sound design for IM2 greatly utilizes all four surround speakers. Crowd noise and cheering make up a good deal of ambience during the more low-key dialogue sequences such as the intro of the Stark Expo (minus the flashy entrance) or Stark's hearing in front of the senate. There's some especially nice reverberation in Downey Jr.'s voice when he speaks on the microphones, and I'm very pleased at how much clarity and buoyancy came through. Dynamic and discrete effects from Jarvis and all the little workshop noises are on par with the previous film, though I might even be inclined to say it sounds better as a result of the balanced score. The score, by the way, is a big improvement. No disrespect to Ramin Djiwadi for his catchy riffs and rhythms from IM1, but John Debney did an outstanding job fusing both a traditional orchestral feel, as well as a contemporary rock one (thanks in big part to Tom Morello for his guitar work). But of course, the real highlight of this audio track is its riveting display of action. All sorts of weapons fire fill the soundscape in every which direction with the rears and sub getting a good portion of the home theater workout. Explosions, palladium-powered armaments and flight, landing suits of armor, and other large machinery showcase some of the finest LFEs I've heard in retrospect to screenplay and mood setting. Again, the obvious choices to use for reference are any of the action sequences mentioned above. But don't be afraid to test the Stark Expo or Senate Hearing scenes either. Fans of the film will be quite pleased with this awesome presentation.
Extras - 5.0
For those who really enjoy special features, this combo pack comes loaded with hours of excellent production and background information. To start, disc 1 comes with an audio commentary by director Jon Favreau, a S.H.I.E.L.D. Vault trivia database, and a P-i-P pre-viz track that can play along with the movie. The commentary makes for an extremely entertaining and informative listen. Favreau maintains a good pace with lots of useful tidbits about the filming itself, elements of the story, and the occasional anecdote. This is probably my favorite feature of all the extras, as it really changed my overall perspective of the plot and its character development, as well as reconfirming my notion that it was all a result of setting up future Avengers stuff. He never leaves a lot of dead space and sounds very enthused about the work he accomplished. The Vault is a cool novelty that can be accessed from the menu by itself or as a pop up video track during the film via Footage Scan Mode. During the film, it doesn't do much. But as a standalone feature it provides a lot of interesting trivia for this building Marvel Movie Universe. Meanwhile, the pre-viz video track is exactly what it sounds like and makes for maybe one decent sitting at most. On disc 2, we get the meat of the making-of features. Ultimate Iron Man spans almost an hour and a half and covers just about everything up through post-production. The making-of they had on IM1 was great, and I liked how consistent this felt in conjunction to this proposed trilogy. Rounding out the rest of the relevant extras is another 30 minutes of Featurettes. Here, they give some extra coverage on set design and a little bit of background info on Nick Fury, Black Widow, and War Machine. When I first heard they were going to include these, I was expecting much longer segments like the 49-minute exposition they had for Tony Stark on IM1's specials. Unfortunately, the segments for these three don't even amount to half of what they had for Stark. But despite my disappointment, I still dig the commentary enough that I won't deduct any points. It's a very recommended listen.
Overall - 5.0
Iron Man 2 may be something of a mixed bag for general audiences, as the greater scope of things might be a little too overwhelming. I, however, have no qualms with the direction this took and am actually quite excited to see how things will eventually tie together when all the Avengers canon is complete. But regardless of what people may think of the story, IM2 is still heartful enough and is even more witty, charming, and thoroughly action-packed as the first. With reference A/V specs and a pleasing set of extras led by one of the best commentaries I've heard in a while, Iron Man 2 comes highly recommended, and is a must-own for fans.
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Iron Man 2 (Single-Disc Edition) by Jon Favreau (DVD - 2010)