To say that The Avengers on Blu-Ray Hulk-smashes the little screen is both cliche and an understatement. Not an easy feat.
If it was possible to enjoy The Avengers even more than we did in theaters, then consider the Blu-ray experience the absolute best way to experience the film without a couple extra thousand dollars and access to state-of-the-art digital projection technology.
Not much has changed about our enjoyment of the film, other than the fact that the replay value is well worth the price of the Blu-ray all by itself. Even without the special features, the extra disk, and all the special swag that comes with the price of the Blu-ray, the film is endlessly re-watchable; especially to devout followers of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The non-stop Whedonesque humor, the title-to-credits action sequences, and even the biting drama makes The Avengers a joy to own. We’ve gotta admit, we would have paid full price just for the opportunity to replay the “Puny God” scene thirty times in varying stages of slow motion. It’s just a fun film to own.
For anyone worrying that the most visually stunning film of the year would be dulled down in the DVD/Blu-ray transfer, you can rest your soul easy and bury it with a few of your favorite orchids. The film is gorgeous, colorful, and even more crisp than we recall seeing it on the silver screen.
The sound, particularly the soundtrack, is all-consuming and even overwhelming at times. This isn’t a bad thing, particularly for fans that don’t mind waking up the neighbors with the roar of The Hulk or the screech of The Leviathan.
Of course, this is a Disney production so the sound of gunfire has been toned down considerably (what do you think this is, The Dark Knight?), but other than that, every noise has been beefed up to amplify the theatrical effect in a home-theater environment.
The Special Features
Have we even mentioned the title menu yet? It’s awesome. As this writer compiles this review, he has kept the main title sequence on loop in the background for inspiration and encouragement. Braaaa bra bra bra braaaaaa dumm dummm DUUMMMMM. What? Oh, sorry.
The Deleted Scenes: If you weren’t expecting the deleted scenes to completely redefine what The Avengers could have been, then maybe you aren’t quite ready to check out this list of deleted, extended, and alternative scenes.
You’ve probably already seen the alternate opening with Maria Hill and the Council. What you might not have known is that scene basically could have functioned as a brand new launching pad and narrative from which we view The Avengers. Also included is an alternative ending, featuring a voiceover from Maria Hill as The Avengers assemble in Central Park as well as a number of scenes that serve to explain a little more behind Loki’s motives and Bruce Banner’s sudden scooter-pearance.
Combined with a few extra scenes that detail Hill’s and Fury’s complicated relationship, the bulk of the deleted scenes are meant to serve a longer, more serious, and more pondersome cut of The Avengers; one that would have placed it more in the category that Iron Man found itself in as opposed to the fun and flighty Whedonesque film that we eventually got and fell in love with. The “Play All” experience is very satisfactory since it basically presents an alternative Avengers.
Commentary with Joss Whedon: Perhaps one of the most eagerly awaited features (sorry to our UK readers) is the track commentary by director Joss Whedon. Having his play by play, his wit, and his vision play side-by-side with the film adds a new layer of artistry.
Realizing exactly how many ideas were floating around in that brain of his while he was directing not only helps to fully realize the full extent of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it also gives us hope that he didn’t use up all of his best ideas and leave nothing for Avengers 2. We don’t want to spoil the best bits for you, but getting an insight from the mastermind of Marvel’s entire Phase 2 process proves to be a very revealing process.
Item 47: Like Thor and Captain America before it, The Avengers comes equipped with a Marvel One-Shot; this one called Item 47. Whereas the first to One-Shots chose to follow Agent Coulson and his hi-jinks, this one chooses instead to focus on two regular New Yorkers, one of which has figured out how to use a fancy Chitauri weapon.
It has an odd, kooky air to it, even though it features two protagonists that have taken on a life of armed robbery. Then the ending takes a turn that can be seen as a cop-out that doesn’t really make sense. We don’t want to ruin the ending of this one, but out of all the special features, this was easily our least favorite.
If anything, the short has given us an insight into what we might be able to expect from that S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show, but we can only hope that future ventures are a little more thought out.
The Gag Reel:It’s hysterical and even more fun to watch immediately after a viewing of the movie, but you already knew that.
Target’s Special ‘Building A Cinematic Universe’ featurette
We totally don’t work for Target, nor are we currently accepting money from them, so we can say this with absolute honesty and zero corporate involvement. Buy it from Target. Seriously. Wal-Mart is currently offering a promotion with a graphic novel or some bullshit. DON’T BE DRAWN IN BY THEIR LIES. Get your special Blu-ray/DVD combo pack from Target and you’ll be treated to an extensive documentary about the creation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
If you were looking for the end-all-be-all of special features, this is the one for you. There are about ten minutes worth of featurettes on the feature disc, but this full-on documentary (available only at Target) is so detailed that it takes almost twenty minutes before the featurette even gets to the part where Marvel studios makes Iron Man.
From the casting of Robert Downey Jr. all the way to the decision to hire Joss Whedon to direct Avengers, this full blown documentary explores it all. Just to give a sense of perspective, the Building A Cinematic Universe featurette has a scene selection option in the menu. If you want the full experience, we highly recommend the combo pack exclusively available at Target.
Buy it, and buy it from Target. The film is expertly transferred, endlessly rewatchable, and comes with hours of special features, deleted scenes, featurettes and additional commentary. The Avengers Blu-ray is now available in stores (especially from Target. We swear we’re not getting paid to say that).