Sometimes, when you see a film at home on Blu-ray, you can see hints where the quality of the picture just leaps out at you and you really notice how beautiful it looks, but then sometimes it’s not the best transfer and it has sub-par quality. You will not find any of that in The Avengers. The picture here is stunning and if you’re watching it on a huge television, it’ll be just like watching it in the theater. The thing that I’ve always told people is the best selling point for Blu-rays to me is the sound quality. Even if you claim that you ‘can’t tell a difference’ in DVDs and Blu-rays, the sound design and sound quality in the film is where you should be able to notice it.
If you’re a fellow Whedonite, then you know what a joy his commentaries are. Whether it’s for “Buffy,” “Angel,” “Firefly,” Serenity, “Dollhouse” or The Cabin in the Woods, he makes them both informative, funny, and deeply personal and he does the same thing with The Avengers. It’s got all of the really cool tidbits that you want to hear in a commentary – funny stories about shooting, informative info about the creative process, and production notes that film students will love. He also points out different lines in the film that reference things cut from the final film.
Marvel Studios has made it a point to include short films on the Blu-rays of their films and they’re often a fun little tidbit for the fans that bridge the films together a little better. Item 47 that is included on The Avengers Blu-ray is easily the best one they’ve done, and I think that can be attributed to its length seeing as it’s three times longer than the other One-Shots. With a longer run time, the short film doesn’t have to rush to show us everything that it wants to – we get a clear understanding of both the S.H.I.E.L.D. perspective of the events and the robbers’ point of view. The other two Marvel One-Shots play more for laughs than entertainment and this one has both.
Very seldom does a movie come out on home video with deleted scenes that are ‘must watch’ material. These sequences were cut from the film for a reason and it’s normally obvious why they’re gone. The same can be said for the deleted scenes in The Avengers, but they’re so good you really wish they were in the film. “Captain America: Man out of Time” is heart breaking, funny, and wonderful, but it had to be taken from the movie because that kind of scene is best saved for the Cap sequel. The sequence of Hawkeye and Loki strategizing also shows off a great deal of character development for Hawkeye even if he isn’t himself. If you normally skip deleted scenes on a film, check these out as they’re well worth your time, plus Stan Lee’s alternate cameo is better than the one actually in the movie. The Avengers Blu-ray also sees the very first gag reel from any of the Marvel Studios films and it will have you in stitches.
Whenever we post stories about special features on upcoming Blu-rays, I always see some variation of this in the comments: “Well, looks like DVD owners are getting shafted, AGAIN.” Which might be true, but if you really care about the quality of the film you’re watching and getting those special features, then you need Blu-ray, especially for The Avengers. The two features included (“Visual Journey” and “Assembling the Team”) are both great insights into the production of the film and also the road leading up to the movie. Fans of the film, the comics, and the creative teams will want to watch these because they touch on nearly everything in a short amount of time.
So if you’re reading this and you’re still a champion for DVD, stop it. This is the reason for you to upgrade. If you get the plain DVD of this film, you only get Whedon’s commentary and the “Assembling the Team” featurette, no deleted scenes, no extended scenes, you can’t access the “second screen” feature, the “Visual Journey” feature is gone, and you don’t get the gag reel or Item 47. You need this Blu-ray, stop putting it off and make the leap into the HD goodness Marvel Studios has to offer, you will thank me later.
Marvel’s The Avengers will be available on Blu-ray and DVD on September 25th.