Iron Man / Ultimate 2-Disc Edition : 5 of 5
Since I enjoyed the Iron Man movie so much in the theater, I’ve had my eyes on the DVD for quite a while, so I was glad to stumble upon an inexpensive used copy of the essential two-disc version recently! Watching the film again was a total blast, but of course when it comes to DVDs I’m mostly excited about the bonus material, and this set includes one of the best discs of extra material I’ve seen in a while (I wish that all of my favorite movies had coverage as extensive as this!). First up is a two-hour documentary called I Am Iron Man that covers the making of the movie almost from start to finish. I learned so much from this feature – I didn’t really know that the movie was entirely financed by Marvel, which let them include actual comic book writers and editors in the process (which is why the film is so great!). I had no idea they actually built physical Iron Man suits (I assumed it was all CG), some of which had 450 parts! It was fun watching director Jon Favreau in special effects meetings and sound mixing sessions, making comments about small details that easily created days of extra work for the various artists. I was also kind of shocked when I realized that Peter Billingsley (who I watch every year as Ralphie in A Christmas Story) played one of the scientists! The next bonus feature is an excellent 45-minute look at the history of Iron Man in the comics, including tons of interviews with Stan Lee and famous writers and artists (I really want to check out some of the amazing Iron Man graphic novels now!). Finally, there’s also an additional 30-minute documentary just covering special effects, which shows great stuff like ILM’s initial test footage, as well as some discussion about the cool heads-up display interface seen in the movie. There are a few interesting deleted scenes (some of which definitely didn't belong in the film!), but I was a little surprised that the movie doesn’t include a commentary track (with all the goodies on the bonus disc I have no room to complain!). This is a fantastic presentation of one of the best superhero movies ever, and I’m glad I finally added it to my collection!