Blu-ray Review: Marvel’s The Avengers

Marvel's The Avengers Blu-ray boxSTUDIO: Paramount | DIRECTOR: Joss Whedon | CAST: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson
BLU-RAY & DVD RELEASE DATE: 9/25/2012 | PRICE: DVD $29.99, Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo$39.99, Four-Disc Blu-ray 3D Combo$49.99
BONUSES: short film, featurettes, deleted scenes, gag reel, commentary
SPECS: PG | 143 min. | Science-fiction | 1.78:1 aspect ratio | 7.1 DTS-HD audio | English, French, Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

Marvel's The AvengersSuperhero movies can be hits (X-Men) or misses (Green Lantern) — and Marvel’s The Avengers is a huge hit!

The first superhero film directed by Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon — in fact, only the second movie Whedon has directed, after SerenityThe Avengers has all the ingredients of a great addition to this genre: action, humor, character depth, action, one-liners, heart and, of course, action.

That’s not a great surprise, given that Whedon also wrote the movie, and his instincts about stories that entertain are spot on. The pacing is fast, but there are pauses in just the right moments when we want to slow down and care for the characters, to dwell on their flaws and tribulations as they try to save the world and us.

The acting is fine too, with all the actors — including Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man 2), Chris Evans (Captain America: The First Avenger), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Scarlett Johansson (The Island), Jeremy Renner (Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol), Tom Hiddleston (Midnight in Paris) and Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction) — bringing as much intensity to their reprising roles as they did over the years in each superhero’s own movie. Except the Hulk (Ed Norton was replaced for not being collaborative enough), but Mark Ruffalo (Shutter Island) brings a quiet innocence to Bruce Banner that works well.

The Avengers also has excellent visual effects, which all look great in the high-definition Blu-ray, and the explosions — of which there are plenty — sound brilliant in the 7.1 DTS-HD Paramount included. Nice touch.

If there’s any where that the Blu-ray falls down, it’s in the special features area. We weren’t blown away by the offerings. There’s a gag reel, which is funny; a few deleted scenes, which are interesting; two featurettes, which are fine but quick and Soundgarden’s music video for “Live to Rise.” There’s nothing in-depth about the film’s visual effects, which are plentiful and amazing. Perhaps Paramount is planning a bigger set with a new director’s cut down the road.

Writer/director Whedon also recorded a commentary track, and he keeps the talking going. Despite all the fun in the movie he made,Whedon explains that didn’t have fun making the film.

The best special feature on the Blu-ray is the short film “Marvel One-Shot: Item 47,” in which two teens use the weapon for their own fun.

There’s also personnel files, comic book origins and more on Second Screen, but that feature is only available on your computer or tablet while you watch the movie. Not the most convenient unless you enjoy looking at two screens at once.

Buy or Rent Marvel’s The Avengers
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About S. Clark

Sam Clark is the former Managing Editor/Online Editor of Video Business magazine. With 19 years experience in journalism, 12 in the home entertainment industry, Sam has been hooked on movies on since she saw E.T. then stared into the sky waiting to meet her own friendly alien. Thanks to her husband’s shared love of movies, Sam reviews Blu-ray discs in a true home theater, with a 118-inch screen, projector and cushy recliners with cup holders.