Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Avengers: Endgame Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Sean Ferguson
The grave course of events set in motion by Thanos that wiped out half the universe and fractured the Avengers ranks compels the remaining Avengers to take one final stand in Marvel Studios’ grand conclusion to twenty-two films, Avengers: Endgame, which will rewrite the Marvel Cinematic Universe as we know it. When it’s all over, nothing will be the same.

Film (5 out of 5 stars)
Marvel has stuck the landing. The journey took eleven years and twenty-two films to reach this point, but they actually pulled it off. It was impressive how they assembled the solo origin movies that were perfectly cast and even more impressive when they actually tied the Marvel Cinematic Universe with the first Avengers movie, which at the time seemed unheard of. Now, with Avengers: Endgame, the total culmination of all of this effort is here and is bigger than anything anyone (other than perhaps Stan Lee and Kevin Feige) could have ever imagined. Not only do all of these different characters and their histories not get lost in the shuffle, but the overall arc of the story is better because of them. 

With Avengers: Infinity War leaving our heroes and the world in general in real bad shape when Thanos successfully defeated them to wipe out half of the universe's population with a snap from his Infinity Gauntlet, there were a lot of questions that needed to be answered with this film. Now reduced to basically the original band of the Avengers: Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr., Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hensworth), Black Widow (Scarlett Johannson), Hawkeye (Jereremy Renner),  and the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), they question how can they actually avenge something that they couldn't overcome when they were at full strength. 

As more allies known and unknown come to their aid, a plan does begin to form on how they can rescue those that were lost and defeat Thanos once and for all. To do that though, will require a plan that I won't get into because I will not spoil this movie and that plan will be expected and audacious at the same time. It will also provide a very fun way to look at the first three phases of the MCU and see things from a different angle and offer some great fan service and closure too. I've been recommending to people that they rewatch the Avengers films, as well as the Captain America films Winter Soldier and Civil War along with Infinity War to fully appreciate what directors Joe and Anthony Russo and writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely are attempting here. Not only do they perfectly juggle so many characters, but they also give them all their own moments to shine, a feat very hard to do with this many to include. 

End Game has a lot of fun twists and surprises to it as well as a lot of action and there are so many iconic scenes that fans will love that they're going to want to see it over and over again. There's a reason that so many people are going to laugh, cry, and cheer for these characters that we've loved for years. We genuinely care for these characters and that's in no small part due the incredible charisma of these actors who have done such a wonderful job bringing them to life. Part of the fun of this movie is how it plays off those expectations in both funny and emotional ways. The end of the film is fantastic and it's everything that I hoped it would be. Yes, this may be the end of the road for some of the Avengers as new ones have arrived to take their place, but what a way to go! My hat is off to Marvel and all involved on pulling off the perfect ending of the series in such an entertaining and emotional way. 
Video (5 out of 5 stars)
This 1080p transfer is reference quality for Blu-ray and I'm sure the 4K UHD is even better. The detail on display is sharp and clear and you notice every little texture on screen. The colors are vivid and the black levels are dark and solid. This is an excellent transfer for Blu-ray.
Audio (5 out of 5 stars)
Endgame's DTS-HD 7.1 soundtrack is equally awesome. I really love how immersive it is with all of the surround channels delivering an accurate sonic experience that swirls around you. This is a very atmospheric mix that captures the quiet moments and the loud ones well. The dialogue is clear to understand and Alan Silvestri's score is front and center and balanced well with the rest of the sound effects and dialogue. This mix is reference quality for Blu-ray!
Extras (4 out of 5 stars)
I liked these extras but I think there should have been more added and they all should have been more extensive, especially considering that this film is a conclusion of sorts and the biggest movie of all time. I'm willing to bet that there will be a deluxe edition released at some point, probably in a set that will have a lot better extras. 
  • Remembering Stan Lee – Filmmakers and cast honor the great Stan Lee in a fond look back at his MCU movie cameos.
  • Setting The Tone: Casting Robert Downey Jr. – Hear the tale of how Robert Downey Jr. was cast as Tony Stark in the original “Iron Man” — and launched the MCU. I really thought this extra would be better than it was considering the events from the movie. 
  • A Man Out of Time: Creating Captain America – Trace the evolution of Captain America with those who helped shape the look, feel and character of this compelling hero. Out of all of the character featurettes, this is by far the best one and should have been the example of how to do the other ones. 
  • Black Widow: Whatever It Takes – Follow Black Widow's journey both within and outside the Avengers, including the challenges she faced and overcame along the way. 
  • The Russo Brothers: Journey to Endgame – See how Anthony and Joe Russo met the challenge of helming two of the biggest films in cinematic history ... back-to-back!
  • The Women of the MCU – MCU women share what it was like to join forces for the first time in an epic battle scene — and be part of such a historic ensemble.
  • Bro Thor – His appearance has changed but his heroism remains! Go behind the scenes to see how Bro Thor was created.
  • Six Deleted Scenes – “Goji Berries,” “Bombs on Board,” “Suckiest Army in the Galaxy,” “You Used to Frickin’ Live Here,” “Tony and Howard” and “Avengers Take a Knee.”
  • Gag Reel – Laugh along with the cast in this epic collection of flubs, goofs and gaffes from set.
  • Visionary Intro - Intro by directors Joe and Anthony Russo.
  • Audio Commentary - Audio commentary by directors Anthony and Joe Russo, and writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. I really enjoyed this commentary and it's filled with a lot of inside knowledge of what could have been and why things ended as they did. There's never a dull moment with all of these guys talking and I highly recommend this to fans of the film. 
Digital Exclusive:
  • Steve and Peggy: One Last Dance – Explore Captain America and Peggy Carter’s bond, forged in moments from previous films that lead to a momentous choice in “Avengers: Endgame.”
Summary (5 out of 5 stars)
Avengers: Endgame perfectly caps the 22 Marvel films to date and really pays off that history for viewers that are familiar with the films. This is about the most perfect culmination of the series that could have been done and the cast and crew really knocked it out of the park. The Blu-ray is also fantastic with superb video and audio presentations and some good extras. I wish the extras were more comprehensive (especially the ones focused on the departing cast members), but this is still an incredible Blu-ray and I'm sure the 4K is even better. This should go without saying, but this is highly recommended!

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