It's a big week for costumed crime fighters, with releases of Iron Man 3 in various formats, and a Blu-ray box of Christopher Nolan's Batman films: Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises.
Fan interest seems limitless. Iron Man 3 is the most popular film of the year, with more than $400 million in ticket sales, according to Box Office Mojo, and a total worldwide take of $1.2 billion. It is a piece of the larger Marvel comics-and- movies mythology that included the big-screen The Avengers and this week added a TV series, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., on ABC.
The Nolan films, meanwhile, were not only hits, they added to audience enthusiasm when Warner Bros. announced that the second Man of Steel film would have Superman and Batman together. (The first Man of Steel comes to DVD and Blu-ray on Nov. 12.)
Both releases are impressive creative achievements. The Dark Knight alone is one of the best films in recent years. Iron Man 3, although not in the same league, was a nice rebound in that series from the disjointed Iron Man 2. And it raises a lot of intriguing questions about identity — particularly who Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) fundamentally is, especially after the battles in The Avengers — much the way the Batman films do.
Of course, you might have seen and bought the Batman movies already. How then, does Warner Bros. Home Entertainment get you to buy The Dark Night Trilogy: Ultimate Collector's Edition? And would you want to shell out as much as $99.97 to get it?
The set includes the previously released two-disc sets of each movie along with the code for high-definition digital versions, and the previous extras. It then adds more special features: IMAX sequences from The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises, a conversation between Nolan and Richard Donner, the influential director of the Christopher Reeve Superman and much of Superman II, and a segment on "the creation and impact" of the three films.
The black-and-white-boxed package also has a letter to fans from Nolan, a booklet of photos from the films, a photo-albumlike case for the discs, excellent new portraits of the movies' villains from the Mondo art gallery and poster-design firm, and miniature reproductions of three vehicles: the Tumbler, Bat-Pod and Flying Bat.
Iron Man 3, meanwhile, has been released in several packages, including a set with the 3-D Blu-ray, standard Blu-ray, DVD and digital copy ($49.99); a Blu-ray/DVD/digital set ($44.99), a DVD/digital pack ($29.99) and an online digital download ($19.99). Extras vary, but the Blu-ray includes a featurette on the upcoming Marvel movie Thor: The Dark World and a much-discussed "Marvel One Shot" short, Agent Carter.
These DVDs were released this week:
Films: Unfinished Song; Room 237; In the House (winner, International Critics' Award at Toronto Film Festival, in French with English subtitles); Fill the Void; Redemption; Scenic Route; Anything Is Possible (starring piano prodigy Ethan Bortnick); Ashes; Barabbas; Blood of Redemption; Three Films by Roberto Rossellini Starring Ingrid Bergman (1950-54, multidisc set, The Criterion Collection); Dear Mom, Love Cher; V/H/S/2; Legend of Kung Fu Rabbit; She's Got It; The Lady Vanishes; The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts: Complete Collection.
TV series: Modern Family Season Four; Law & Order: Special Victims Unit — The 14th Year; Doctor Who: The Complete Seventh Series; Hannibal: Season One; Family Guy Volume 11, Season 12; 2 Broke Girls: The Complete Second Season; Hawaii Five-0: The Third Season; Foyle's War Set 7; Geronimo Stilton: Operation ShuFongFong; New Tricks Collection: Seasons 1-5 (British detective series); Gene Simmons' Family Jewels: The Final Season; War and Peace (U.S. debut of British miniseries that aired in Belgium and France in 2007).
THE WASHINGTON POST