Review: Marvel’s The Avengers 4-disc 3D Blu-rayPosted 11:19 pm on Thursday, September 27th, 2012 by Mark Pacis
Well everyone, the moment we have been waiting for is here! Marvel’s The Avengers has finally arrived on Blu-ray and DVD for our home viewing pleasure. In typical Disney fashion, Disney has released multiple versions of the Blu-ray for you to choose from. The 4-disc Blu-ray set including Blu-ray 3D, the 2 disc Blu-ray and DVD set (one being sold in a Blu-ray case and the other a DVD case), and the old school regular DVD set. Since I personally own a 3DTV I am here to talk to you guys about the 3D release. So in terms of the great Tony Stark: I’m bringing the party to you! On with the show!
I must admit out of the 7 times I’ve seen the Avengers in theaters 2 of them were in 3D. I watched it in IMAX 3D and regular 35mm 3D and both times I wasn’t impressed with the 3D. I’m a fan of 3D, I really am, but I really dislike post-conversion 3D in films. It just seems so rushed and you pay for a premium price for an experience that isn’t really at all a 3D experience. Even though the Avengers was post-converted into 3D the Blu-ray 3D is quite top notch. This doesn’t surprise me though; Disney knows how to utilize their 3D when transferring their movies onto Blu-ray. Marvel’s The Avengers is no exception. Unlike the 3D found in theaters, the characters pop from the screen and you get a great depth of field from the background. Any of you who have The Lion King 3D or Beauty and the Beast 3D know what I’m talking about. Not all of the 3D is great though, as some scenes seem flatter than the others. Also, I noticed during the Helicarrier scenes that S.H.I.E.L.D. personnel walking in the background are flat. Small discrepancies aside, the 3D are a major upgrade from what was presented in theaters. If you were on the fence about getting either the regular Blu-ray or the 3D Blu-ray I would get the 3D Blu-ray, In fact, I would recommend any 3D Blu-rays that Disney pushes out. Post-conversion or not they are always top notch.
The video is presented in 1.78:1 1080p and let me tell you that the video is very impressive. There are many instances where a special effects filled movie would show the blatant evidence that the special effect is composited onto the live action. This is not one of those instances. It is a testament to the hard work that Industrial Light and Magic, WETA Workshop, and the other effects shops that helped the special effects in the Avengers as seamless and flawless as it could be. The video is nice and crisp as a Blu-ray should be. You can clearly see every scuff and scrape on Captain America’s shield and Iron Man’s armor, the engravings on Mjolnir, and every stubble and gray hair on the Hulk. The colors are vibrant and bright, as everything seems to just pop on screen. The only reason why I’m giving this an A- instead of A+ is that sometimes the blacks get crushed during the darker scenes, so some details in the shadows tend to get lost in the black. Needless to say this is all dependent on the settings you have on your TV. If your TV hasn’t been manually calibrated it might not look as good on screen as it did on mine.
Marvel’s The Avengers Blu-ray is presented in 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and oh my god what a mix it is. The key elements of a successful surround sound mix are a good atmospheric environment (where you can hear every subtle nuance in the scene’s environment), sound transition from the front channels to back channels/left to right channels, and lastly a hearty boom from the subwoofer. This sound mix has all of them. This is very evident in the final battle, as the surround sound makes it seem as if you’re in the battle. When the Hulk yells and growls in reverberated within the room, when explosions happen a hearty boom can be heard in the subwoofers. We also cannot talk about the audio without talking about Alan Silvestri’s score. The score helps compliment the scenes and never really overpowers the dialogue or sound effects on screen. Everything seems to just mesh well together. Bravo audio mixer on a job well done.
Marvel One Shot: Item 47
I was on the fence about Item 47 from the start. Call me sentimental, but I’ve liked Marvel’s One-Shot shorts because of Clark Gregg’s character Agent Coulson. Now that he isn’t part of Item 47 it just didn’t feel the same to have a one shot without him. When the poster was released to the public I became intrigued. The poster had such a dark tone to it that I thought, “Okay maybe this might be pretty good.” Well I was wrong. Item 47 just didn’t hit it with me for some reason. Yes, I did like the inclusion of Agent Sitwell and the introduction to Agent Blake, but I just never got how regular people like you and me can figure out alien technology. I guess overall the reason why Item didn’t hit it with me was because it felt like an incomplete story. It seemed as if we were thrown into the middle of a story instead of a complete story. We never really got hinted at how or why Benny was able to figure out the technology. Was he a professor, a scientist, an engineer, a mechanic? It might be a little nitpicky but I expected more coming out of Item 47 considering how much advertising Marvel pushed out. We’ll see if anything comes out of Item 47 when the S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show or the next Marvel One-Shot comes out.
Joss Whedon Audio Commentary
Let me throw this out there, Joss Whedon is a really funny, sarcastic guy. The man is as humble as he can get and pokes fun at himself a lot. So I was looking forward to hearing the man speak about the Avengers. I got exactly what I wanted and more. Fair warning though, if you’re not used to or don’t like Whedon’s sense of self-deprecating humor well you may not like the commentary. I happen to like his sense of humor, but it might be oft putting for some. The one thing I was aware of with Joss Whedon is just how knowledgeable he is with movies in general. I knew he knows everything and anything regarding the Marvel universe, but I was just shocked at how eloquent he was when talking about his filmmaking process. I also loved the behind-the-scenes stories that Joss Whedon throws out there. I personally loved the story he told about how slippery the Helicarrier set was. I don’t want to ruin it but this story made me laugh the most. Another thing that you will hear Joss say all the time is his fascination of 3D. You’ll hear a couple of times where Joss would say something like “I shot this scene like this to get the best out of 3D. Overall, the commentary did its job. I laughed, I learned, I gained insight on one of my favorite movies of all-time.
Marvel Second Screen
Those who’ve been reading Marvel comics recently have probably heard of Marvel AR. A kind of guide or pop-up if you will, to help enhance your experience of the story. Following in the footsteps of Marvel AR, Marvel has released their second screen feature for the Avengers. You can either pick up the app on your iPhone or iPad (sorry Android users, no support there) or you can go to marvelsecondscreen.com and sync up that way. In my case you can TRY to connect to marvelsecondscreen.com. Since I don’t have an iPad and I feel as if the iPhone is too small to view all this information. When I tried to sync up using BD Live it did not work at all, using either Chrome or Firefox. So I was forced to use my iPhone instead.
With everything all set up I was ready to check out Marvel’s Second Screen. I was completely disappointed. First off, when you sync your Blu-ray player and your device you get a lovely little counter on the bottom right of your TV. This will help keep track if your device is in sync with your TV. This is a big distraction while you’re watching the movie. If you’ve ever watched a movie with subtitles on, whether it’s an English movie or what, your first reaction is to look at it. This is the same case. Secondly, there is heavy reading material that comes up while you’re watching your movie. This isn’t usually a problem except for the fact that while the movie is playing the content moves to the next item to keep in sync with the movie. So whatever you were reading will move on if you’re not fast enough. Which brings me to my next point, if you stop to read the movie doesn’t stop unless you manually pause it on your device. If you don’t pause the movie, then you will have to speed your way through the content in order to keep up. If you are okay with disrupting the flow of the movie a lot then you might like this. I don’t, I feel that a movie should play continuously without pausing it just to read certain tidbits and watch videos here and there. So not only was it a pain in the ass to sync up, but the whole experience was just a pain in the ass.
These are your standard behind-the-scenes featurettes. There are two featurettes on the Blu-ray, A Visual Journey and Assembling the Ultimate Team. A Visual Journey focuses on the visuals of the Avengers. The tone of the movie, locales, the Helicarrier, visual effects, and cinematography, they cover it all. Oh and special shout out to Director of Photography, Seamus McGarvey’s accent. The other featurette Assembling the Ultimate Team is by far my favorite featurette out of the two. Here we hear stories and quips about how the cast came together, and talking about how much fun it was working with each other. If you like watching featurettes, you’ll have fun watching these. Especially if you’re a fanboy like me!
Let me just put this out there, the inclusion of these deleted scenes would’ve changed the tone of the Avengers considerably. It would’ve been a totally completely different movie. With that said I think I enjoyed the original cut movie much more. The Maria Hill scenes to open and end the movie just dragged on and although they’re good scenes I just felt that the movie was better off with it on the cutting room floor. The scene I felt that should’ve stayed in was the Captain America a man out of time scene. I get why they cut it out of the movie, but it showed great acting by Chris Evans and you got a sense of just how lonely Cap feels years after being frozen in ice. There are rumors going around that they’re thinking of adding this particular scene in The Winter Soldier movie so it might not totally be lost after all. The rest of the scenes were just alright, just your typical footage seen on the cutting room floor. Footage that drags a scene on when it’s unnecessary and extended fight scenes, that’s all.
Those that haven’t seen the gag reel posted on this site, well you can go here to watch it. This right here is one of the few gag reels that are actually really funny. The greatest thing I’ve gotten from this though is that you can genuinely see that the cast got along so perfectly with each other. Joss Whedon has been known throughout his career to convert his cast into a family. This gag reel in a way solidifies all those stories. I would also like to give an award to the person who edited the gag reel together. The way its edited and the way the music and sound effects play throughout the gag reel makes it that much funnier. Kudos gag reel editor! Oh and… STOP FIGHTING!!!!
Self-proclaimed “Human IMDb” and comic book geek. Biggest Iron Man fan you’ll probably ever meet.