Josh Wilding Reviews: MARVEL'S THE AVENGERS Blu-ray (Film And Special Features)
Hit the jump for both my in-depth verdict of both Avengers Assemble (as it was renamed here in the UK) and the special features which are contained on this version of the home release. Does the film still hold up? Is Item 47 any good? Find out all of that and more right here!
With The Avengers (ugh, "Avengers Assemble" that is) Joss Whedon achieved what many considered to be an impossible feat. He brought together all of Marvel's larger than life superheroes into one film and actually made it work. There are no problems with the script, no issues with the direction and most certainly not a single fault to be found with the acting or special effects. There are several moments in Joss Whedon's screenplay which will have you laughing out loud, although that by no means takes anything away from the seriousness of the situation that the team finds themselves in. The banter between the heroes (primarily from Robert Downey Jr.) is hilarious, and while the film may not be crammed full of easter eggs, the numerous pop culture references are even more fun to keep an ear out for. The movie starts with a bang and maintains that momentum throughout, delivering set piece after set piece. Whedon touches upon just about all of the loose threads from the previous Marvel Studios films without making Avengers Assemble an impossibly complicated watch for anyone who hasn't seen them. He also adds some much needed back story for Black Widow and Hawkeye, while Maria Hill's position in the cinematic universe is deftly established for future movies. The way the team comes together, their interactions and every other single moment of Avengers Assemble flawlessly combine to create a near perfect piece of cinema.
The special effects are top notch, with not a single scene letting the film down. The Helicarrier (in which a surprisingly big portion of the film takes place) looks magnificent as does everything else. However, ILM just about guarantee countless award nominations next year with their work on the Hulk. The Green Goliath has never looked so convincing, and for the first time ever, we actually see an actors likeness fully realised in his face. The decision to get Mark Ruffalo to utilize motion capture was a wise one as the Hulk moves and acts in so convincing a manner, it's hard to even believe that special effects have become this good. In fact, it wouldn't be in the least but unjustified to call the Hulk in Avengers Assemble one of the best CGI creations in the history of modern cinema. Iron Man of course looks as amazing as we've come to expect. One scene sees Stark donning his armour in a way we’ve never seen before, and it easily surpasses Iron Man 2's still incredible briefcase armour scene. Of course, another CGI heavy component of the film is Loki's alien army (whose identity – after months of anticipation – is casually revealed in the first few minutes). Again, they are entirely convincing and no one could be blamed for assuming that they're actors made up in heavy prosthetics, rather than mo-cap creations. The giant, unnamed creatures which form their army also look astonishing and the epic battle in New York during the last twenty or thirty minutes feel like a true war movie. This isn't a brief battle by any means and is epic in every conceivable sense of the word. A single scene flies us through the city from Avenger to Avenger as they tackle the alien threat together. Breath-taking. Alan Silvestri's rousing score is perfectly suited to this epic action and used to great effect. It's powerful, moving and completely engrossing.
Avengers Assemble is just about flawless. If it has any faults, they're only minor and extremely petty. It would have been nice to hear a certain phrase, and it was a shame that Captain America's discovery was only briefly touched upon, but with the latter situation having already received a decent amount of time in the solo movie, it has absolutely no effect on the quality of the film. There are countless surprises on offer and so much we didn't know about. Of all the Marvel comic book movies, this feels like the most "comic booky" but still maintains the tone of those that have come before. Whether it's seeing the epic battles between team members, or even those of them that take on Loki (his final fight is particularly memorable) there's enough here to leave you with a grin on your face which you'll have a hard time getting rid of. Things do wrap up fairly quickly near the end, but in a way which not only leaves the door wide open for a sequel, but also puts each of the characters exactly where they need to be for when we meet them again in their upcoming solo sequels. Avengers Assemble has a powerful story full of powerhouse performances and everyone involved should be proud of what they have created. The picture and sound quality on the Blu-ray is top notch, although no better or worse that you will have come to expect from the format.
Clever, funny, emotional and downright amazing; Avengers Assemble is a spectacle which demands repeat viewings. Joss Whedon has created an epic masterpiece.
Unfortunately, the UK version of The Avengers on Blu-ray doesn't include Joss Whedon's "Director's Commentary". Disney said that there simply wasn't time to include it on this version, but considering that there's only one weeks difference to when it hits US stores, that's a VERY poor excuse. Those of you who do buy a copy which includes the commentary can probably add another star or two to the rating below. Regardless, there's only a single featurette ("A Visual Journey") and at six minutes long, it doesn't deliver the in-depth and revealing insight that fans were surely hoping for. With such an incredible film, it's shocking that there's so little content on offer. Most of the Marvel Studios releases have at least had at least 20 - 30 minutes worth, but all this release includes is a brief look at the creation of the Helicarrier which tells us nothing new.
In terms of deleted scenes, there's 15 minutes worth in total and they're all pretty good. "Man Out Of Time" is easily the best one, and while none of them would have added an awful lot to the film, they still make for a goof watch. The extended scene between Loki and Hawkeye is a surprising highlight. As for the gag reel, it sadly amount to little more than the actors pulling funny faces, but there are some genuine bloopers which make it a fun few minutes (if far from essential). None of Marvel's short films have been anything to rave about, but Item 47 is perhaps the most underwhelming. Clocking in at only 9 minutes, it doesn't amount to much, but is far from awful thanks to some decent performances. However, it still has a VERY amateurish sheen in terms of the direction and special effects, and one can only hope that the planned S.H.I.E.L.D. television series is handled a little better.
A massive disappointment, the UK Blu-ray release of The Avengers is lazily put together and features only a fraction of the content that fans want and deserve.
Marvel Studios presents in association with Paramount Pictures Marvel’s The Avengers--the super hero 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.
Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America
Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man
Chris Hemsworth as Thor
Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton/Hawkeye
Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Ramanoff/Black Widow
Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/Hulk
Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury
Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson
Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill
Tom Hiddleston as Loki
RELEASE DATE: September 17th, 2012 (UK) September 25th, 2012 (US)
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