The year's best comic book blockbuster makes it's HD debut. What could possibly go wrong?
Take six Marvel superheroes. Add fan-favourite writer/director Joss Whedon. And what do you get? Only the best Summer blockbuster in years.
Born out of the seeds sown in Iron Man 1 and 2, The Incredible Hulk, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger, Avengers Assemble is an unashamedly breathless piece of cinematic spectacle. With the character backstories taken care of in their solo outings, Whedon's film hits the ground running and rarely stops for breath as its serves up a menace that only the combined forces of 'Earth's Mightiest Heroes' can defeat. Roll on the inevitable sequel!
Picture: Avengers Assemble's 'flat' AVC 1.78:1 1080p imagery is about as good as the format gets. Packed with minute detail and awash with primary colours, it looks absolutely fantastic and – coupled with the total lack of digital imperfections – is prime demo room material.
More surprising though is the accompanying MVC 1.78:1 1080p 3D encode. Considering the lacklustre the 3D got in cinemas, this Blu-ray release surprises with its convincing dimensionality, better-than-expected delineation and general stability. It may not be the best example of 3D Blu-ray you can buy, but still an enjoyable and accomplished experience.
Picture rating: 5/5
Audio: Now this is what home cinema was made for. If any of your friends have ever questioned the need for a multichannel sound system, simply sit them down and let them experience Avengers Assemble's DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack for themselves. Powerful, dynamic, controlled, expansive and incredibly precise, every single scene is accompanied by the most excitingly involving and enveloping acoustic effects imaginable. Simply brilliant.
Audio rating: 5/5
Extras: While there's no denying that Avengers Assemble looks and sounds absolutely spectacular on Blu-ray, Disney UK has really dropped the ball in several other aspects of this hi-def release.
The only features on offer are the 11-min Item 47 short film, a gag reel, eight deleted/extended scenes and a 6-min behind-the-scenes featurette entitled A Visual Journey. Which means that the commentary by Joss Whedon, 8-min Assembling the Ultimate Team featurette, Soundgarden music video and The Avengers Initiative second screen experience that round out the extras on the US release are completely absent.
Add to the above the fact that Disney 'inadvertently' mastered the UK release using a censored version of the film prepared for release in another country, and it's not all that hard to see why so many of the film's fans have been left feeling so angry.
Extras rating: 1.5/5
We say: Avengers Assemble looks and sounds superb in hi-def, but this set isn't without some obvious problems
Walt Disney Home Entertainment, All-region BD, £28 Approx, On sale now
HCC VERDICT: 3.5/5
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