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Marvel’s The Avengers (A J!-Ent Blu-Ray Disc Review)

October 8, 2012 by  



“Marvel’s The Avengers” is the biggest movie of 2012 and it doesn’t disappoint.  With an all-star cast and an amazing director, this non-stop thrill-ride lives up to the expectations of a summer blockbuster and provides so much more.  The film is filled with action, comedy, amazing special effects and redefines the term, “comic book movie”.  This film is not only for fans of the comics, but has something for everyone and you can now relive the excitement in the theater at home with this Blu-ray release.  This Blu-ray release is absolutely recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2012 Marvel Entertainment, LLC and its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.

TITLE: Marvel’s The Avengers

FILM RELEASE: 2012

DURATION: 143 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 1:78:1 Widescreen Presentation, English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, SUBTITLES: English SDH, French, and Spanish

COMPANY: Marvel Studios, Paramount Pictures

RATED: PG-13 (For Intense Sequences of Sci-Fi Violence and Action Throughout, and a Mild Drug Reference)

Release Date: September 25, 2012

Directed by Joss Whedon

Written by Joss Whedon, Zak Penn

Produced by Kevin Feige

Executive Producers: Victoria Alonso, Louis D’Esposito, Jon Favreau, Alan Fine, Jeremy Latcham, Stan Lee, Patricia Whitcher

Series Producer: Alex Ward

Music by Alan Silvestri

Cinematography by Seamus McGarvey

Edited by Jeffrey Ford, Lisa Lassek

Casting by Sarah Finn, Randi Hiller

Production Design by James Chinlund

Art Direction by Benjamin Edelberg, Jann K. Engel, Gregory S. Hooper, William O’ Hunter, Randy Moore

Supervising Art Director: Richard L. Johnson

Set Decoration by Victor J. Zolfo

Costume Design by Alexandra Byrne

Starring:

Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man

Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America

Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/The Hulk

Chris Hemsworth as Thor

Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow

Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton/Hawkeye

Tom Hiddleston as Loki

Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson

Cobie Smoulders as Agent Maria Hill

Stellan Skarsgård as Selvig

Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury

Marvel Studios presents “Marvel’s The Avengers”—the team up of a lifetime, featuring iconic Marvel Super Heroes Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow. When an unexpected enemy emerges that threatens global safety and security, Nick Fury, Director of the international peacekeeping agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D., finds himself in need of a team to pull the world back from the brink of disaster. Spanning the globe, a daring recruitment effort begins.

Starring Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner and Tom Hiddleston, with Stellan Skarsgard and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, and directed by Joss Whedon, “Marvel’s The Avengers” is based on the ever-popular Marvel comic book series The Avengers, first published in 1963 and a comics institution ever since.

“Marvel’s The Avengers” is presented by Marvel Studios in association with Paramount Pictures. The film was produced by Marvel Studios’ President Kevin Feige and executive produced by Alan Fine, Jon Favreau, Stan Lee, Louis D’Esposito, Patricia Whitcher, Victoria Alonso and Jeremy Latcham. The story was by Zak Penn and Joss Whedon and the screenplay was by Joss Whedon.

Distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, the film smashed the industry record for the biggest domestic opening of all time with $207.4M, crossed the $1 billion global box office threshold in 19 days, and currently stands as the #3 global and domestic release of all time.

So, remember in May, 2008 and “Iron Man” came out in theaters?  It totally changed what a “comic book movie” should be.  “Iron Man” was not only the best comic book film to date at the time, but audiences of all ages, who had no idea about the comics, enjoyed the movie.  Soon after, “The Incredible Hulk” followed and it as a big summer hit.  At the very end of “Iron Man”, we see the appearance of Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, and he brings up “The Avengers Initiative”.  Now, anyone who knows anything about the “Avengers Initiative”, had something to possibly look forward to, and probably never thought would come true.  In “The Incredible Hulk”, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), or Iron Man, makes a cameo and once again mentions the “Avengers Initiative”.  What the “Avengers Initiative” possibly entailed in the terms of future movies, was not just another “Iron Man” sequel, but a series of movies with various Marvel superheroes and eventually, hopefully an epic movie with all of those superheroes in one movie.

Two years later, “Iron Man 2” came out and was another smash hit.  At the end of that movie, there was another tie-in with the next movie, “Thor”, which came out in 2011.  Finally, a few months later, “Captain America: The First Avenger” came out in theaters.  Not only were these all very successful comic book films, but they all became huge summer blockbusters that anyone could enjoy, and the success of these films actually was going to make “The Avengers” come true.  This would mean that they were bringing all of these characters, who all had their own movies, together into one giant movie.  Each movie had headlining characters, which also meant that they all had very big actors.  To bring all of these people into one movie just sounds like too much could go wrong.  However, if they were able to pull it off, it could be one of the most amazing movies of all time.

Thankfully, Marvel Studios, Joss Whedon, and the amazing all-star cast made the impossible happen.  “Marvel’s The Avengers” not only became the biggest movie of 2012, but one of the biggest movies of all time.

Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Thor’s half brother, comes to Earth with plans to take it over and make it his own.  Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), director of S.H.I.E.L.D, quickly acts and starts taking the necessary steps to stop this from happening.  He has his agents, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) to retrieve Bruce Banner/The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.).  Nick Fury himself summons Steve Rogers/Captain America (Steve Rogers), who is still trying to deal with the fact that he has been asleep for 70 years and has woken up in a world he doesn’t know anymore.  Thor (Chris Hemsworth), joins the group, uninvited, because he wants put a stop to his brother.  What all this does is not create the most unstoppable superhero team of all time, but instead the most dysfunctional team ever.  Before they can even stop Loki, they need get over conflicting egos, anger, distrust, and other issues with each other.  If they can’t, Loki and his army will take over the Earth.  With Joss Whedon writing and directing this all-star cast, “Marvel’s The Avengers” is a non-stop thrill ride from start to finish.

VIDEO:

“Marvel’s The Avengers” is presented in 1080 p High Definition (1:78:1 aspect ratio).  This film is beautiful: both due to the cinematography and the special effects.  Seamus McGarvey did a phenomenal job as the cinematographer.  Every shot in the movie, with or without special effects, were beautiful to look at and fit with the current emotions being felt in every part of the movie.  The first half of the movie is dark, but the details are still all there.  The second half of the movie is pretty bright and filled with tons of explosions and once again, no details lost.

The special effects in this movie are flawless.  Even in HD, everything looks ridiculously real.  Some of the most memorable parts are when the helicarrier first appears and then disappears into the sky and of course, the very long battle scene at the end of the movie.  Joss Whedon mentions this as well in his commentary, but it is almost scary what can be done with special effects nowadays.  This movie was absolutely gorgeous in the theaters and the Blu-ray release for home doesn’t disappoint!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Marvel’s The Avengers” is presented in English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, with other options including English 2.0 Descriptive Video Service Dolby Digital, French 7.1 DTS-HD HR, and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital.  This movie is filled with non-stop action well as non-stop dialogue.  And you can hear all of it perfectly in the Blu-ray.  Lossless audio is absolutely immersive and amazing use of all channels.

Despite all of the fighting and explosions throughout the movie, you could still hear all of the dialogue and the original music by Alan Silvestri brought out the atmosphere throughout the film.  Nothing ever seemed too loud or too soft: it was just right (I appreciate when I don’t have to adjust the volume from my TV because the dialogue was so quiet and then all of the sudden there’s a ridiculously loud explosion and I have to turn the TV down).  This film sounded epic on the big screen and I’m very satisfied with the experience I get watching it at home as well.

Subtitles are in English, English SDH, French and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES

“Marvel’s The Avengers” comes with the following special features:

  • The Avengers Initiative: A Marvel Second Screen Experience – (2:22:54) Access the S.H.I.E.L.D. data base to immerse yourself in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, dive into the Avengers Comic Book History, and much, much more in this exclusive experience for your iPad, iPhone, or laptop.
  • Commentary by Director Joss Whedon – (2:22:54) Audio commentary with Director Joss Whedon.
  • Marvel One-Shot: Item 47 – (11:20) Original short film about something that happened after the events of “The Avengers”.
  • Gag Reel – (04:05) Marvel’s first ever gag reel.
  • Deleted & Extended Scenes – (14:59) See deleted and extended scenes from the movie including an alternate opening and ending to the movie with Maria Hill.
  • A Visual Journey (Featurette) – (6:28) Discover amazing sets, groundbreaking visual effects, and stunning cinematography of this phenomenal film.
  • Assembling the Ultimate Team – (8:08) The all-star cast shares the excitement of teaming up to bring these characters to life, and Director Joss Whedon discusses what each of them brought to their role.
  • “Live to Rise” Soundgarden Music Video – (4:49) Music video for the Soundgarden song, “Live to Rise”.
  • Sneak Peeks – (7:21) Sneak peeks at other Marvel Studios, Disney, and ABC releases.

EXTRAS:

“Marvel’s The Avengers” comes with various extras, depending on which version you purchase.  The 5-Feature Action Pack comes with a 3D slip cover, a 3D Blu-ray and standard Blu-ray of the feature film, the DVD of the feature film, a digital copy of the feature film, and a digital album copy of AVENGERS ASSEMBLE: Music From and Inspired by the Motion Picture.

“Marvel’s The Avengers” is a film that lived up to all the hype and all of the expectations this past summer.  If successful, it was not only going to be the biggest comic book movie of all time, bringing together characters from five other movies, but one of the biggest blockbusters of all time.  This film did everything that it was set to accomplish and probably did more than anyone could have imagined.

I’m sure that many people have already seen this movie, and they already know that they should probably buy this Blu-ray or DVD release, but to the ones who actually haven’t seen it yet: this movie is phenomenal.  It’s not just for comic book fans and nerds (or whatever else you may call us).  Just like “Iron Man” had done four years ago, this movie is enjoyable by audiences of all ages and comic book knowledge is not required whatsoever.  If you want to watch a fun movie filled with action, quick comedic dialogue, and absolutely stunning special effects, this movie has it all.

This movie is really an impossible dream come true in a way.  I don’t think most people would have ever thought that they’d be able to see this movie happen successfully because so much could have gone wrong.  This was indeed a first of its kind.  This was the first time that any studio had brought together so many huge characters from separate successful franchises into one epic movie.  With so many main characters in one movie, this movie could have easily gotten messy.  Too many things could have happened at once with so many characters or the characters’ screen times could have been terribly unbalanced.  “The Avengers” in the comics has a huge cast of superheroes on the team.  The movie itself has Iron Man, Captain America, The Hulk, Thor, Black Widow, and Hawkeye, along with Nick Fury, Agent Coulson and Maria Hill.  Just seeing that many main characters could make one’s head spin.  But somehow, Joss Whedon made it work.  He balanced out everyone’s roles quite equally and produced a great story that brought out the best in each of the characters.

This movie follows five Marvel Studios films and is a collaboration of the characters from those movies, so it should be watched after seeing those five.  This is like the big, completed puzzle of all the other movies.  However, Whedon managed to make this movie enjoyable even if you haven’t seen the previous films.  You don’t have to, but you’ll get more out of this film if you see the previous films.  This film really does have a bit of everything.  It’s beautiful to look at visually (the cinematography as well as the flawless special effects), fast, witty dialogue, non-stop action, comedy, and a movie that both comic book fans and the general public could fully enjoy.  The movie is almost 2 ½ hours long, but it never seemed too long or dragged out.  So much is going on, but it never seemed too chaotic, unless it was supposed to.  It’s so much fun and so much happens that it can easily be enjoyed for multiple viewings.

The cast is filled with brilliant actors, but two of the most fantastic performances came from Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark and Tom Hiddleston as Loki.  Robert Downey Jr. is a major reason this movie even happened.  If he didn’t bring Tony Stark to life in “Iron Man” and help make it such a successful film along with director, Jon Favreau, I honestly don’t think this movie would have ever happened.  Robert Downey Jr. probably has the most number of memorable lines in the movie.  Almost anytime he spoke, a memorable quote from the movie came out.  Of course, this also has to do with Joss Whedon’s writing style, but combined with Robert Downey Jr.’s skills, what came out was pure genius (I am slightly curious to know how much was actually adlibbing as well).  If you’ve seen any of Joss Whedon’s previous works, you know that he goes from being serious to funny very quickly, which was perfect for Tony Stark’s personality in general.  Whedon and Robert Downey Jr. made a wonderful pair and helped make this movie brilliant.  Tom Hiddleston as Loki was also amazing.  Loki in general is a wreck of emotions, and Hiddleston brought all those emotions out.  Just like Robert Downey Jr., Hiddleston brought a little extra to any of the witty lines Whedon had given him.  There is a part in the movie that Tony Stark and Loki share a scene together, and it made for one of the best parts of the whole film.

Of course, everyone else in the movie did an amazing job as well.  There was one notable change in the cast for this film from the previous films.  In “The Incredible Hulk”, Bruce Banner/The Hulk was played by Edward Norton and in “The Avengers” is played by Mark Ruffalo.  The Hulk has been adapted a handful of times, and I think that Mark Ruffalo played the best Hulk to date.  He was the only cast replacement in the movie, but you forget the fact that even happened because he does such a great job as Bruce Banner.  In “Captain America: The First Avenger”, Chris Evans plays the Captain America that was the super soldier and brilliant leader that helped fight against Hydra.  In “The Avengers”, we get to see another aspect of his character: the man who wakes up 70 years into the future and has no idea what’s going on anymore.  Steve Rogers is an endearing person and his personality shines through in this movie.  His scenes of with Tony Stark both provide humor and conflict within the team.  As Joss Whedon says himself, Chris Hemsworth is Thor.  He brings the Asgardian to life and it suits him well.  Despite being such a powerful character, Thor was used for some comic relief as well and Hemsworth handled both aspects of the character very well.

While this film is filled with fantastical characters that have super powers, you also have two main characters that don’t have any (or very little) super powers.  Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) hold their own along with the super-powered heroes just by being very conditioned and having very high skill sets.  Black Widow is one of the world’s greatest spies and Hawkeye is the world’s greatest marksman armed with a bow and arrow.  Also because they don’t have super powers, they did a lot of hand-to-hand combat as well as many of their own stunts.  Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow definitely held her own as the only female on the team.  I appreciate the fact that Whedon was able to figure out how to incorporate Hawkeye into the movie, considering he does not have his own movie, but is a big part of The Avengers and Jeremy Renner did a great job playing the role.

The supporting characters feature Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Cobie Smoulders as Agent Maria Hill, and the fan favorite, Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson.  Nick Fury shows up as a cameo in some of the other films, but he finally gets to shine in this film and Jackson definitely doesn’t disappoint.  Cobie Smoulders does a great job as the very serious Maria Hill.  In the deleted scenes, there is an alternate opening and ending with Maria Hill that I recommend watching because it adds so much to her character that ended up being taken out in the final cut.  Finally, there’s Agent Coulson.  Agent Coulson had become one of the favorite characters that showed up in the previous films.  His cool, calm demeanor and nonchalant lines of witty humor made him a very memorable character and that continues in this movie.

With so many characters and so much happening from beginning to end and not making it feel like one big mess, takes a lot of skill.  Joss Whedon was the perfect person to write and direct this film.  He knows the characters, he writes fantastic dialogue, and he made this all work.  This movie probably doesn’t have the most in-depth plot in the world but that’s okay because it didn’t need it.  Because this film was fun, from start to finish.  The plot that was in this movie was more than enough and it was executed well.  Joss Whedon provides commentary on the film on the Blu-ray and it’s definitely worth listening to.  Whedon is funny and very insightful, which makes for a great and entertaining commentary.

The special features included in this release were fun as well, but if there was one thing I may have been disappointed with in the Blu-ray release itself (and not the movie), was the amount of bonus features.  Not including the commentary, there are about 50 minutes of bonus features.  With a movie this big, I would have liked to see more featurettes than what was included.  There are two making-of featurettes, a handful of deleted and extended scenes, a five minute gag reel (which is pure gold), and a Marvel one-shot film.  I’m slightly disappointed in the amount of features, but the features that are on the disc are fantastic.  The featurettes are short, but insightful and fun, and the gag reel is awesome.  I don’t usually care too much for deleted/extended scenes because you can usually see why they were deleted to begin with, but the ones from this movie I found to be worth watching.  I found some scenes could have stayed in the movie perfectly fine if it weren’t for time constraints.  Like some other Marvel Cinematic Universe releases, this release also came with a “Marvel One-Shot” short film.  This one takes place after the events of the film.

For those looking for more special features, there are a couple of options.  Target is selling exclusive versions of the Blu-ray/DVD combo packs (both the 2 and 4 disc versions) with a bonus Blu-ray that has a 90+ minute documentary on the making of all six of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films so far.  Not all of the footage is new, but it was still fun to watch and very well put together.

Another option for some extra bonus materials, is a free app available for the iPhone/iPad called “Marvel’s The Avengers Second Screen Experience”.  In the months leading up to the Blu-ray release, you could download the app and see a couple of the S.H.I.E.L.D. files on the characters(though sadly most were locked until the release of the Blu-ray).  Once everything on the app worked, you could sync with the Blu-ray as it was playing and trivia, production art, cast bios, videos, and many other things would pop up on your phone while the movie played.  You have the choice of either network syncing, audio syncing, or you can explore all the content on your own with the movie playing or not.  It’s a free and entertaining app so I highly recommend it.

So, to wrap things up, if you enjoyed the movie in theaters, this is a must-buy.  The film on Blu-ray is absolutely gorgeous and the gag reel and Joss Whedon’s commentary add even more to the viewing experience.  To those who haven’t seen it yet, if you enjoy fun movies, you’ll love this movie.  This film has so much to offer for so many different audiences and I don’t think it’ll disappoint.  I absolutely recommend this release for anyone’s movie collection.

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