'Avengers' DVD Review: The 'Star Wars' of a new generation
The Avengers is here! Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, Hawkeye, Hulk, Black Widow, Nick Fury and Agent Coulson are all here for one of the year's biggest home video releases, and Disney is rolling out the red carpet for this most excellent slice of superhero entertainment.
Considering that The Avengers is easily one of the single biggest releases of the year, it should come as no surprise that the film hits home video with several different versions. There's a four-disc combo pack featuring a Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Copy, a two-disc Blu-ray/DVD combo pack (in DVD or Blu-ray packaging) and a standard DVD.
An expansive six-film 10-disc box set collecting each and every Marvel Phase One film is also planned, but got delayed until the spring. Be sure to check back for more news regarding that release.
So, how does The Avengers fare on Blu-ray? Pretty great, with just a few minor gripes. For one, the packaging. The lenticular slipcover is slick, but the way the discs are housed in the case is less than stellar. The DVDs are stacked on top of each other, as are the Blu-rays. While the scratch resistant coating on Blu-rays will protect those discs, the DVDs are sure to endure a few scratches because of this packaging design. If you're concerned about the discs getting scratched, you might want to pick up a spare case for the extra discs.
The Blu-rays themselves are quite terrific, however. The film is presented in 1.78:1, encoded in 1080p/AVC (MVC for the Blu-ray 3D version). The 2D Blu-ray is rich with depth and detail, with inky blacks and bright, vivid colors. If the HD cinematography has one drawback, though, it's that under the Blu-ray microscope, some of the costumes look a little plastic-like. Still, once the action kicks into high gear, this disc delivers absolute, demo-worthy perfection.
The Blu-ray 3D presentation also impresses. While the film itself was shot in 2D, it was designed with the visual intention of converting the film to 3D – and the conversion is a stunning success! While not every scene works in 3D, director Joss Whedon and cinematographer Seamus McGarvey do a terrific job composing shots with 3D in mind. The end results are a stunning 3D Blu-ray riddled with striking visuals and plenty of depth to the image. And while the somewhat plastic-looking costumes are quite noticeable in 2D, they're a bit softer on the eyes in 3D, thanks to the slightly darker image. If you've got the equipment to view this one in the third-dimension, do so. It's quite a fantastic experience.
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