The Avengers on iTunes
If you choose to purchase the iTunes version of The Avengers in HD (1080P) the first thing to note is that it is a 10GB file download, 8GB of movie (both the HD and SD versions are downloaded) and nearly 2GB of iTunes Extras, so make sure you account for the space needed.
Since this is an iTunes Purchase you can view it on all your iOS devices (iPad, iPhone, iPod,) and the Apple TV. The audio is in Dolby Digital 5.1 which is common and will meet the needs of most. For those looking for 7.1 to take advantage of their extensive home theater setup, it’s not currently available.
This download comes with several special features that you will find in the Blu-ray version, but the big omission is the director’s commentary. If the director’s commentary is a must for your movie watching pleasure then this version is not for you.
Included in the special features are a short film related to the movie, a couple of behind the scenes videos of the actors and locations, a gag real and deleted scenes. The deleted scenes I found interesting as they have an alternate intro and ending that gives the character Maria Hill more screen time as well as some cool “raw footage” of the viaduct fight scene.
Also in the special features was “The Avengers Initiative: A Marvel Second Screen Experience”. This is the feature I was most looking forward to checking out. This is a Free app you can download for your iPad or iPhone. It can be synched through the movie audio so that it shows pictures, trivia, and short behind the scene videos on a timeline that coincides with what is happening in the movie. Although I liked the behind the scenes looks in the short videos, overall I was underwhelmed by the experience. Maybe I expected too much.
If missing the directors commentary isn’t a deal breaker for you then purchasing Avengers through iTunes is a good choice especially if you have other apple products you typically enjoy watching your movies on.
Unfortunately there is NO directors commentary with this version of The Avengers on iTunes.
The Avengers on Vudu
The Avengers on Vudu is a great streaming experience. If your plan is to stream directly to your internet connected TV or through a streaming box (such as a Roku, Xbox 360, Blu-Ray player etc.), it couldn’t be any easier or faster. It streams in glorious 1080p with 7.1 surround sound. And it comes with some nice extras like the short film, Marvel One-Shot: Item 47, deleted scenes, and a few more. If you’re looking for more than streaming, however, the fun stops there.
However, if you want to download the movie, you might not be as satisfied as you were streaming it. Downloading to a PC or Mac will take you to a flashback of the olden day as it is limited to standard def. To add to that, you can only play it on Vudu’s software, Vudu to Go, which must be downloaded and installed to your PC first. Want to take it with you on your iPhone or iPad? There’s an app for that, but standard def only. Little green robots need not apply, Vudu leaves Android left out in the cold completely.
The Avengers Target Exclusive
Full disclosure: I loved seeing this movie in the theater. Many comic book super hero flicks have been disappointing and mediocre. Marvel’s The Avengers was one of those rare movies where it all worked: the characters, the relationships and the action. The build up from all of the individual hero movies was genius. Enough gushing . . . This release had a lot of buzz around it. There are nearly a dozen unique Collector or Exclusive releases. For our review we will consider Target’s exclusive 4-disc set.
To start the case is really cool. If you are into tangible, tactile experiences you will not be disappointed. All of the characters are embossed, bringing me back to a childhood experience of enjoying simple embellishments.
Now regarding the content: the box includes 4-disc plus the “Building A Cinematic Universe” 90 minute Target exclusive disc. Excluding the forthcoming 10-Disc Limited Edition, this is the most content you can find on any release. After ordering the set from Target’s website for $32.99 I saw that the price was dropped to $19.99 (refund please!). It appears that this exclusive quickly sold out, because it is no longer available on the website or in stores. Disc 1 is a 3D Blu-ray. Yay! disc 2, a 2D Blu-ray, Disc 3 a DVD, Disc 4 is a Digital Copy with Digital Music Download and Disc 5 is the 90 minute exclusive video.
One of the big draws for buying the disc is the Director’s commentary and 3D. I really appreciate hearing some of the thoughts behind the creative process. This is a huge draw over most downloadable options. Even though iTunes has started to add this feature, most digital downloads do not. iTunes continues to add features, such as, scene selection and director’s commentary, but I do not believe that a 3D option will be offered through the online store in the near future.
|Ways To Watch||3D Blu-ray, 2D Blu-ray, DVD, Digital Copy (iTunes or Windows)||Apple TV, iPad, iPhone, iPod or PC||PS3, Xbox 360, Roku, Smart Blu-ray players, Smart TV’s, iPad, iPhone|
|Max Resolution On TV||1080p||1080p||1080p|
|Digital Copy Max Resolution||853 x 478||1080p||Standard Definition for mobile devices|
|Audio||7.1 DTS-HD||5.1 Dolby Digital||7.1 Dolby Digital|
|Marvel One-Shot: Item 47||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|The Avengers Initiative: A Marvel Second Screen Experience||Yes||Yes||No|
|A Visual Journey||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Sound Garden Music Video||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Assembling the Ultimate Team||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Bonus Disc “Building a Cinematic Universe”||Yes||No||No|
All three options have dominant strengths. The Target disc-set has the most features, but like Vudu, mobile-ways-to-watch are lower quality. If you are looking for the best viewing experience across all devices iTunes can’t be beat, but who wants to be limited when they purchase movies? Of the three vendors we covered, VUDU is the best all around purchase. Its price and various viewing options make it a stand out.
Written by: Lawrence Stansberry, Robert Corrales and JR Sanchez