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Avengers: Endgame (Blu-ray Edition) Review

August 13, 2019 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
Avengers: Endgame, James Cameron
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Avengers: Endgame (Blu-ray Edition) Review  

The Avengers gave it their all in the battle against Thanos in Infinity War, and they were defeated. Now, it’s time to see what happens next. The Marvel Cinematic Universe reaches its apex with Avengers: Endgame. The Marvel Studios created what is quite possibly, quite arguably, the greatest comic book superhero cinematic event in the history of history. Now, fans will have the opportunity to relive the adventure on home video. Walt Disney Home Entertainment provided 411 with a review copy of the film’s Blu-ray release.

The Movie: In my original review, I was totally blown away by Endgame, and that still hasn’t really changed. Obviously, there are quite a few nitpicks I can take with the plot. Just for starters, in this whole saga to have a cataclysmic event where Thanos wipes out half of all life on Earth, that almost creates a post-apocalyptic situation on Earth. That’s sort of glossed over. The aftermath is glossed over as well.

And ultimately, there are a lot of nitpicks I have with the character arcs for some of the heroes, some of the creative choices, the depiction of Thanos, and some of the conclusions. But to see the majesty of a film that finally delivers on the grand, epic scope of some of the amazing stories I grew up reading, Endgame more than delivers. To have that moment, like a live-action splash-page of the heroes uniting and Cap finally un-ironically saying “Avengers Assemble” is something I’ve dreamed of seeing onscreen for years. Some of the earlier X-Men films were good films. Spider-Man 2 is still my favorite Spider-Man movie ever. I think The Dark Knight is a great Batman movie. But no film has truly pulled off bringing the comics to life quite like this.

The biggest drawback could be that this movie was so huge and epic, it’s hard to see how a future Avengers movie can top the experience. There’s almost a sense of where does the MCU go from here? There was a lot of finality for numerous characters here. A lot of books were closed. Sure, things and certain characters were left open, but it doesn’t seem like it can ever reach an apex this high again. At the same time, who would bet against Marvel at this point?

What the Russos deserve credit for here in a film with so many characters and subplots, the movie never feels too crowded or too stuffed. It’s definitely a film that earns its three-hour runtime. If any other team of filmmakers were handling a film with this many subplots or characters, I’d doubt if it can actually work. With Endgame, the Russos certainly earned a level of credibility in that regard.

In 2012, there was definitely a sense of The Avengers taking the gloves off and raising the stakes for what these films can achieve. Then with the tease of Thanos, there was a high level of excitement and anticipation. It was a bit of a long wait to get to that point, but it was a strong payoff. Now, the question remains, where does the MCU go from here?

Blu-Ray Info: The Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy multi-screen edition release for Avengers: Endgame is a two-disc release: one for the film; and another disc for all the extras. It’s packaged in a standard Blu-ray clamshell case with translucent blue plastic. There’s a slip cover for the Blu-ray case. Besides the Blu-ray discs, there’s also an insert with a download code for the digital HD version of the film.

Video Info: The standard Blu-ray version for Avengers: Endgame is presented in 1080p High Definition Widescreen with a 2.39:1 aspect ratio. Overall, I think the Blu-ray transfer looks very good. Everything looks clearly lit and pristine.

Audio Info: The original English language track is presented in 7.1 DTS-HDMA. There are also optional Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital language tracks with optional subtitles in English, Spanish, and French. There’s also a 2.0 descriptive audio track for the visually impaired. The sound mix and score all sound crisp and exceptional. Alan Silvestri’s music and theme for the MCU are great, so it’s fantastic he was brought back for the last two Avengers movie. No one really pulled off music or themes for the MCU as well as Silvestri did.

Special Features: The initial Blu-ray release is packed with two discs, so fans get a whole second disc of extras. Now, while there is a second disc, there’s not really a ton of material on there. Considering that Disney/Marvel did spring for a second disc, there could’ve been a bit more to justify packing it in. Here are the main special features:

Audio Commentary: The main extra on Disc 1 is the filmmaker audio commentary featuring directors Anthony and Joe Russo and writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. This is a fantastic commentary track and a great look at the creative process for the film with how the Russos wanted a story to remind the Avengers of who they are, and writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely coming up with a story where the heroes are actually able to kill off Thanos at the beginning and figuring out that that means.

One interesting reveal is that the transformation for Banner into Smart Hulk or Professor Hulk was originally going to happen in Infinity War. Instead, it happens offscreen, and we don’t see Professor Hulk until Endgame. Honestly, I think it’s a bit problematic that the audience never gets to experience Banner going through that transformation. However, I do understand why the filmmakers opted not to feature it in Infinity War, since they wanted to show the heroes showing a succession of losses.

On disc 2, it’s overall a decent selection of extras. However, with a whole second disc, there could’ve been more. The behind-the-scenes featurettes can be viewed individually or as one, single feature. In total, the behind-the-scenes featurettes run around 46 minutes. So between that, the deleted scenes, and the gag reel, it seems like there could’ve been a bit more to justify a whole second disc of extras. It’s not bad extra material, but it would’ve been nice to see some more concept art, the other deleted scenes that have been revealed are out there, some more interviews, and more. There really should’ve been a spotlight on the marketing campaign and how a lot of the film was mainly hidden to leave the surprises intact, or how fake scenes were even shot to fool the audience. For example, the credits scene that was in Captain Marvel that didn’t play into Endgame.

Remembering Stan Lee: This is a seven-minute featurette looking back at Stan Lee’s remarkable cameos across the MCU. There’s some great interview footage with the late, great Stan Lee, reminiscing on how he now gets to appear alongside these great characters he helped create in giant blockbusters.

Setting the Tone: Casting Robert Downey Jr.: This is a five-minute featurette looking at the significance of Robert Downey Jr.’s casting as Tony Stark/Iron Man. Kevin Feige notes how Tony Stark’s journey set the tone for the whole MCU. The production crew speaks about how at the time casting Downey as the lead in a new comic book superhero blockbuster was seen as a big risk, but ultimately, the production thought not pulling the trigger on this idea would be an even bigger risk. Of course, this was a risk that paid off, and the rest is history.

A Man Out of Time: Creating Captain America: This is is a 12-minute featurette on Captain America being written as the backbone of the MCU, along with the importance of bringing on writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely who became the main writers for all three Captain America films, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. Feige does seem to play a bit fast and loose with history, calling Markus and McFeely the “sole writers” of The First Avenger. Before the film came out, Joss Whedon spoke openly about the writing work he did on that film. I know his work was uncredited, but Whedon’s contributions to this franchise can’t be overlooked either. I would’ve liked to hear a bit more from Chris Evans and the story of his casting on this, along with his initial trepidation to take the role. That said, the featurette does feature a nice look at concept artist Ryan Meinerding’s work on Captain America for the films. Meinerding’s work on these films is so crucial, he probably could’ve used his own whole featurette.

Black Widow: Whatever It Takes: This is a seven-minute featurette showcasing the journey of Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff through the MCU and Scarlett Johansson’s casting.

The Russo Brothers: Journey to Endgame: This is a five-minute featurette looking at the work for Anthony and Joe Russo on the MCU. They pretty much came out of nowhere and blew everyone away with The Winter Soldier. Kevin Feige speaks about how they sought to lock them in for the next two Avengers movies after seeing how they handled Civil War. The Russo brothers do deserve some props. Besides the great work they did on these films, they basically did them all back-to-back with virtually no rest.

The Women of the MCU: This one runs almost five minutes and showcases the top women heroes of the MCU.

Bro Tho: This is a very short one, under four minutes, on the transformation of Thor for Endgame into “Bro Thor” or “Fat Thor.” Chris Hemsworth wore a heavy and humid fat suit to pull off the look. Bro Thor was sort of a weird idea, but I think it definitely pays off for the film. I can see why Hemsworth would want to explore this route, and he definitely went all in with it.

Deleted Scenes: There’s a little more than four minutes worth of deleted scenes here. None of them are really interesting or earth-shattering. Based on interviews, the most interesting deleted scenes never make it onto the Blu-rays and are likely being saved for future home video releases. The filmmakers have on numerous occasions talked about filming scenes that didn’t make it into the films. For whatever reasons, those scenes didn’t make it into the Blu-ray here or for Infinity War. Most of what’s here are sort of extensions or snippets, but they are not missed in the theatrical cut.

For example, The “Avengers Take a Knee” was a strong cut. It’s just a bit too much to leave in the film. There’s an amusing gag where Rocket gets his head shaved by Stark. It’s a fun, little moment, but the film doesn’t lose anything really by cutting it out. “You Used to Frickin’ Live Here” is also a bit too much. The movie already underscores Thor’s depression and how lost he is after failing to defeat Thanos. This just goes way too over-the-top with it, showing him urinating in his palace and getting the Aether extraction device mixed in his pockets with junk and mini-liquor bottles. Once again, this was a wise cut. So, the scenes that were here were all fairly wise cuts to make.

Gag Reel: And finally, there’s a two-minute gag reel to round out the extras on disc two.

9.0
The final score: review Amazing
The 411
Avengers: Endgame delivers one of the most rousing superhero cinematic events in history. Fans can now enjoy the film on Blu-ray. There's a great audio commentary track by the directors and writers that's definitely worth a listen. There's a good amount of featurettes on the second disc, but it seems like there could've been a bit more since there's a whole second disc for bonus features. The bonus features on disc 2 probably wouldn't even go over an hour. So, that aspect is a bit disappointing and keeps me from rating this set higher. If you are still enjoying Blu-ray, this is definitely worth a look for MCU fans for a great home video presentation.
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