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Ultra HD : Recommended
Ranking:
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Release Date: February 13th, 2024 Movie Release Year: 2023

The Marvels - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

Overview -

Three of Marvel’s mightiest return for the latest MCU cinematic event The Marvels. The great chemistry between our three lady leads and fun action setpieces is hampered by some clunky editing and a rushed pace for an otherwise entertaining but middling MCU flick. On 4K UHD, the film scores a solid HDR10 transfer, an effective Atmos track, but offers up a slim if still informative assortment of extra features. Recommended

OVERALL:
Recommended
Rating Breakdown
STORY
VIDEO
AUDIO
SPECIAL FEATURES
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
4K Ultra HD Blu-ray + Blu-ray + Digital
Video Resolution/Codec:
2160p HEVC/H.265 - HDR10
Length:
105
Aspect Ratio(s):
2.35:1
Audio Formats:
English: Dolby Atmos
Subtitles/Captions:
English SDH, French, Spanish
Release Date:
February 13th, 2024

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

Ranking:

After dozens of films and numerous Disney+ series, the once-mighty Marvel Cinematic Universe hasn’t exactly had a great run of things in the last few years. For every great MCU highlight, there have two or three projects that miss the mark and languish in the bizarrely ineffectual alternate Mediocre Cinematic Universe. But because these projects are so interconnected, the requirement to have seen every film and series is all the more necessary. For The Marvels, casual fans who want to see Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel and some new friends in action may be left in the cold if they haven’t kept up with the glut of side series. 

The action picks up with Larson’s Carol Danvers AKA Captain Marvel working with Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) keeping tabs on all of the intergalactic jump stations. When a renegade Kree leader called Dar-Benn (Zawe Ashton) locates a powerful artifact and begins her quest for revenge, Captain Marvel and her powers will become intertwined with her estranged fully-grown niece Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) and plucky New Jersey teenager Kamala Kahn (Iman Vellani) AKA Ms. Marvel! To stop Dar-Benn and the Kree’s plans for destruction, the three heroes will have to learn to fight together with their light-based powers acting in sync. 

If there is one thing that’s become increasingly obvious with each recent MCU film or series there was a time when some of these projects were simple and accessible. But then somewhere in the process someone stepped in and decided to spread the stories thin between multiple series and films and draw in thin interconnected lines to other projects. This goes beyond Thanos and the Infinity Stones, there at least was a visible end scenario on the horizon. These days we have no idea where anything is going. Now Marvel is stuck with several disparate storylines with no clean way of weaving them back together. Are we doing the multiverse? Are we doing Kang the Conquerer? Are we doing Secret Wars? Are we doing all of them at the same time? Where the hell are the X-Men and the mutants? That last question at least gets answered (sort of) in the post-credits. The latest consequence of too many competing stories is Nia DaCosta’s entertaining but clunky/mediocre The Marvels

Stepping back from some of the constrained story choices and stiff editing, the best strengths of the film rests on our three leads Brie Larson, Teyonah Parris, and the return of youngster Iman Vellani as Ms. Marvel. Their chemistry is what saves the film after what felt like a very rushed and almost incomprehensible opening. Once the story finally settles down and figures out where it’s going and lets these three actresses work, the film finds its pace, and humor and gives us a reason to keep going. To that point, Iman Vellani practically saves the entire show giving the project all her heart. Zawe Ashton’s Dar-Benn is just another in a long line of paper-thin villains with a plan for portals of catastrophic destruction. She’s a great actress but she doesn’t get that hooking moment that makes you believe she could actually kill all three of our heroes let alone destroy entire planets. 

But this is frustratingly becoming par for the course for MCU projects of late. With the Mouse House’s rush to get as much content on screens of all sizes as fast as possible, they’re burning a lot of fan goodwill and making their premier movie universe an unwieldy mess. It’s easy to spot that director and co-writer Nia DaCosta had one idea of what the film could/should be and some studio suits had other plans. When the actors genuinely look like they’re having fun you can feel that energy and the film is a great time. When it looks like they’re just going through the motions, that’s when you can feel the reshoots and behind-the-scenes tinkering at work. 

As a whole, I think The Marvels was a better film than the recent Quantumania but that’s only incremental praise. The Marvels at least looked like the actors were on sets and locations with real props. I thought Ms. Marvel was delightful silly fun so I’m glad to see the Khan family in action again and herding Flerkens complete with the best usage of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Memories we've ever seen on the big screen. But trying to parse out what works and doesn't within each new MCU entry is becoming exhausting. 

I for one am actually glad the Writers/Actors strikes happened because it meant Disney and Marvel had to stop and think about what the hell they were doing versus just rushing projects out in the sad hope of adding a few more Disney+ subscribers. With the reset of Daredevil: Born Again and news that Deadpool 3 is the only MCU film coming this year, Marvel just might find its footing. James Gunn isn’t there anymore to pull them out of these self-dug holes with another Guardians film. The best thing to see can’t be the mid-credit/post-credit sequences anymore. 



Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
The Marvels hits 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray with a two-disc 4K UHD + Blu-ray + Digital release. The 4K is pressed on a BD-66 with a BD-50 holding the 1080p and bonus features. The Digital option is Movies Anywhere accessible. The discs are housed in a standard two-disc case with identical slipcover. The discs load to the standard Disney language menu before letting you go direct the feature or move into the main menu.

Video Review

Ranking:

After some great James Cameron releases, Disney is back to their tried and true “Stick it on a BD-66 without Dolby Vision HDR” routine. Thankfully the results are pretty good though. While only about 50 gigs of the available disc data space is used, at least the image quality is strong. Bitraits are consistent and steady without cratering out. It helps this film is under two hours long. Details are strong letting you appreciate the costumes, facial features, and makeup work for the practical-effects creatures. CGI effects are plentiful and generally look pretty good like they actually have some weight, and any virtual sets have enough practical objects around that it doesn’t just look like our cast is standing out in the middle of nowhere. HDR10 grading is well applied giving plenty of accents to the full range of colors, black levels, and whites. It’s a lively colorful film giving primaries plenty of attention with healthy human (and alien) skin tones. Black levels are right on point lending some great depth to the show.

Audio Review

Ranking:

On the audio side, Disney delivers a decent but not impressive Atmos track. It’s not a full “Atmouse” track in that you don’t need to completely blast the volume to appreciate it, but it’s not very impactful. Big action sequences do sound nice, but moments where you’d expect to hear some rumble in the subs or a richer sense of height and space just don’t come alive. There are some great moments of full surround immersion with height channels getting plenty of specific activity. It’s the inconsistency that’s the most frustrating. Dialog is at least clean and clear throughout without issue there. Scoring by Laura Karpman is a nice accompaniment for the tender moments as well as the big action beats. Overall a decent track, certainly better than the anemic 7.1 DTS track that’s on the Blu-ray (that just sounds thin), but sadly not a dynamite example for the format.

Special Features

Ranking:

The Marvels comes in with a decent assortment of extra features. It’s pretty basic stuff, mini-featurettes, gag reels etc., but they're pretty good. The Behind-the-scenes may run a bit short but it’s at least better than the average talking-head EPK fixture. Some of the deleted scenes are interesting. It’s rather obvious there were more scenes removed than what we have here on disc, but these few spots kind of give you a flavor of how the pace and tone could have shifted a little - especially during the opening. The audio commentary between DaCosta and VFX Supervisor Tara DeMarco is an interesting engaging listen covering a lot of ground without too many stops or detours. Their detail about how some of the fight sequences worked out is worth it, let alone the Flerkens.

  • Audio Commentary featuring Nia DaCosta and Tara DeMarco
  • Entangled (HD 10:57)
  • The Production Diaries (HD 5:30)
  • Gag Reel (HD 1:59)
  • Deleted Scenes (HD 5:48 Total)

I wouldn’t call The Marvels a misfire, I liked it better than some other recent MCU films and shows, but it’s another entry in a growing line of rather inconsequential almost directionless additions to the MCU. The cast is great and they have some excellent superhero chemistry and you can spot the most inspired and interesting segments within Nia DaCosta’s story. But it’s the MCU so the film couldn’t be left to be what it is, it had to fit somewhere in this bizarrely conceived rat nest of story threads. When it’s great it’s exciting and interesting, when it’s not, it’s just going through the motions. And with the tantalizing final post-credit sequences, we’re left just wishing the MCU would get on with it already instead of filling time. Not a terrible film, I enjoyed it, but the thin ice is cracking for Disney’s massive franchise machine. On 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, the film scores a fine disc release with HDR10. The show looks great but even on a BD-66 disc there was plenty of room to spare for a more robust image and the Atmos track could be a little more richly defined. Decent bonus features cap off this release for a film that’s not as bad as some want to make it out to be, but we’re slowly slipping away from the franchise heights. Recommended

Order Your Copy of The Marvels on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray