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Marvel's The Avengers (2012)

NOTE: The UK Blu-Ray does not contain this commentary track.

Commentaries on this disc:

Commentary 1: Director Joss Whedon Rating:9.0/10 (4 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by Pegship on February 8th, 2014:Find all reviews by Pegship
Whedon is, as usual, witty, enlightening, self-deprecating, insightful, and just plain entertaining in a "let's talk about this movie with my friends" way.
Reviewed by reidca on April 12th, 2015:Find all reviews by reidca
Whedon admits that the Hawkeye character was left in the dust as "he had too many characters to deal with". He gives some honest truths about 3D conversion versus native 3D talking about loosing hours over a single shot. Because of the star power of the cast he was afraid to give them direction. The previous movies are both a gift (the quality of talent) and a hindrance (sticking to story continuity). Admitted they went with the Bill Bixby version of Banner. He uses the word specificity a lot. Writes to soundtracks (such as Hart's War and Star Trek). His idea for the Harry Dean Stanton scene was that Banner had fallen into a Coen brothers movie. Considers the first Terminator movie and The Abyss important inspirations and seminal. Several times Joss threw lines to Downey Jr (such as Shakespeare in the park and the Shawarma) and he ran with it and built on it. The central park scene was done with no sound as there was a huge mob around them.
In other words, this is a typically excellent and funny Joss Whedon commentary. 8/10
Reviewed by reidca on September 29th, 2015:Find all reviews by reidca
This is actually a commentary for Age Of Ultron which doesn't seem to be on here. A typically solid Joss commentary that covers all bases but just gives you enough to realize what a challenging film this must have been both mentally and physically. He talk covers the gamut from production logistics (working with the Cultural Minister in Seoul for example) to editorial changes (he often refers to the DVD deleted scenes) to technical choices (the visual style is completely different to the first film). Although there are no real Eureka moments to really explain what happened on this contentious production, the following three quotes really sum up this commentary for me:
"this film was a series of compromises and failures" directly followed by "I'm talking to my shrink about it" :). And "Chris Towsend oversaw 97 effects houses".
Reviewed by TylerMirage on February 18th, 2016:Find all reviews by TylerMirage
Definitely an informative commentary.

I'm usually hesitant to listen to commentaries when it's just a single filmmaker (more opportunity for dead air), but Joss manages to fill the vast majority of the movie with amusing annecdotes, tidbits of information and a surprising (and almost off-putting) amount of self-deprication. I recall him going on for over a minute while he rambles on about an analogy of the crumbling SHIELD facility and how making a film is similar in that regard ("the ground crumbles beneath you and you're barely able to keep ahead of it") and how he was fumbling to keep up with it. It was funny at first, but the longer he went on, the more awkward it was to listen to because he kept undermining himself in an attempt to be funny.

The other turn-off about this commentary is just how much of it is Joss saying "This is cool", "that's cool", "that was so cool", "that was fun". (Spoiler Alert: It's a lot.)

FUN FACTS:

-He believes that post-conversion 3D can look better than true 3D. He spent 3.5 hours of a 12 hour day shooting the end-tag of "Thor" because he was dealing with this massive, cumbersome 3D camera, so he basically said to himself "never again".

-The inclusion of Pepper was Robert Downey Jr.'s idea.

-He originally wanted a second villain in the movie because he didn't feel Loki could carry the movie at first.

-The battle between Iron Man and Thor was a Marvel Studios decision from the start. Kind of a "You WILL do this in the movie!"-command.

-Admits that he's not proud of the "Phantom Menace"-esque ending with the Chitauri, but it was necessary to deal with them in such a way.
Reviewed by grimjack on April 11th, 2024:Find all reviews by grimjack
It is weird how at times it feels like Whedon is seeing the film for the first time, he is so giddy describing what he is watching. I do like how he admits how ridiculous some minor plot points seem to be, but they are there because they are funny, or necessary for brevity and hope no one asks him to explain.

Not as informative as I would have thought, but he does talk about various ways the studio made him have certain scenes or not include some characters, and film things they hoped to be important in later Marvel films. (He says he came up with Thanos being the big bad, which surprises me.) He spends a lot of time giving credit for actors who came up with good ad-libs, who made casting choices, and script ideas.
I gave it 10 out of 10, but really a 9.5.
Reviewed by grimjack on April 11th, 2024:Find all reviews by grimjack
This is for Avengers 2 - The Age of Ultron. (I am including all four Avengers movies here because at least people can read them misplaced here, rather than be in the Add New Title pile that may never be updated.)

Right away you can tell from his tone that he was not as happy with how his sequel turned out. But he liked the challenge of making a very different film with the same actors.

Tony Stark is the villain of the film. Not necessarily on purpose, but in many places the good guys, the bad guys, and he himself understands him to be a bad guy.

He found it interesting, and was glad, but not sure it is a good thing, that movies like this attract big stars to be day players in brief roles.

Script-wise, he mentions that the twins were not going to be in the film originally, as he thought there were too many characters, but wanted Ultron to have someone to talk to.

Like his Avengers commentary, he points out whenever someone like James Spader came up with an adlib that he felt was perfect.
I gave it 9 out of 10.
Reviewed by grimjack on April 11th, 2024:Find all reviews by grimjack
Avengers Infinity War - Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

Listened to commentary hoping to hear them settle various theories and meanings and motivations. They do, but all their answers really disappointed me. Why was Thanos able to defeat Hulk? Why did Hulk never come out for the rest of the film? Why was Thanos only now finally going for all the stones at the same time? All their answers were not as good as the online fan theories.

A couple of good tidbits about directions the film almost went in. And it was interesting to hear how their first draft was done before Thor 3 came out, and they rewrote the beginning and Thors journey because of it.

While directors, the commentary seldom talks about directing but is mostly about the writing. The plot, the story, and how they were building this film after 18 previous films entirely made by different writer/directors for different characters, and sometimes with different tones.

They talk about ways they tried to trick our expectations, and also take advantage of them since they knew this was a very complex film with a lot of characters, so they made the main story simple, a basic heist film for Thanos, and worked the characters into that structure.
They made sure every scene served at least two functions, or they rewrote and merged other things. And how several different characters had a moment where one good character might be forced to kill another in order to save the universe.
I gave it 10 out of 10.
Reviewed by grimjack on April 11th, 2024:Find all reviews by grimjack
Avengers End Game - Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

You could tell these guys have a hard time separating thinking about this film and the last film. They point out several times how a scene in this one was meant to be in the first one but they realized worked better in this one. And scenes that were dropped due to length that thought would be moved into this film which also did not have time here.

A couple of comments about how they structured it to be each hero was in their own film and would get pulled into the larger one, but it did not quite work out that way, as a bunch of characters worked better together at the start. They enjoyed getting to use characters in the past from other films that they did not work on.

It is interesting to hear them talk about which acting moments they thought were the best for each actor. And regrets some of them were not given more chances to show it.

The scenes talking about how time travel would work, and which points made the most sense to go back in time, were a mirror of the writers working together trying to figure it out. Including some real conversations with actual quantum scientists.

An interesting thing is they said when Robert Redford was done with his one scene, he said he was officially retiring as an actor.

They mention lots of different scenes that they even filmed, that went in different directions, which surprises me considering how expensive each second of the film must have been.

They feel that even with a record setting 6,000 special effects shots, not one pulls you out by feeling fake. (I am not sure I agree with this 100%)

They loved talking about which moments during their test screenings got the most reactions. I get the feeling they were never quite sure of how big of a hit they had here, and the commentary is recorded before the movie was released wide.
I gave it 10 out of 10.