Director: Kenichi Shimizu
Cast: Jennifer Carpenter, Brian Bloom, John Eric Bentley (VOICES)
Release Date: Now Available on Blu-Ray Combo Pack & DVD
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 8/10
Disc Rating: 9/10
After interfering with a top secret mission, THE PUNISHER is taken into custody by S.H.I.E.L.D. AGENT and AVENGER, BLACK WIDOW. At the orders of Director Nick Fury, Punisher and Black Widow are sent on a mission to stop LEVIATHAN, a global terrorist organization, that plans to sell stolen S.H.I.E.L.D. technology to the highest bidder. Now, the vigilante and spy must work together to prevent this technology from falling into the wrong hands. The fate of the world, and of the AVENGERS, hangs in the balanc
‘Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher’ is the latest animated entry from Marvel produced by Madhouse Inc who was responsible for the Marvel anime series’ ‘X-Men’ ‘Blade’ ‘Wolverine’ and ‘Iron Man’ as well as the previous animated feature ‘Iron Man: Rise of Technovore’. This time around the story focuses mostly on Black Widow and The Punisher (as one would likely expect from the title). After interfering with their operation one too many times, Black Widow takes Frank Castle (The Punisher) into S.H.I.E.L.D. custody where he reluctantly decides to assist them by teaming up with Black Widow for an extremely dangerous mission which S.H.I.E.L.D. holds him (at least partially) accountable for. Now the most unlikely of individuals will be forced to work together if they have any hope of completing this mission.
The unlikely team up of Black Widow and The Punisher actually works incredibly well and I’m thrilled they decided to take a chance on something of this nature which additionally focuses on two (or at least one) less popular Marvel characters (at least in the film world as of late). Having always been a huge fan of The Punisher personally, I was absolutely ecstatic when I heard about this one and I couldn’t possibly have loved it more. The animation helps to keep things in form with the brutal nature of The Punisher’s character while still obtaining a PG-13 rating and there is no shortage of action in this film, let me assure you. A number of the headlining Avengers such as Iron Man, Hulk and Thor do appear, but are limited to the final sequence. Even without any other characters, this one would be a win in my book and I would highly recommend fans of both the Avengers and The Punisher alike make sure to check this one out because I’m pretty certain you’ll be incredibly pleased that you did.
The Blu-Ray release of ‘Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks pretty great on all ends. All of the edges are sharp while colors are vibrant and very little in the way of banding or artifacts is ever noticeable throughout, even with the abundance of fast moving action sequences present in this movie. I think fans should be very thrilled with the high definition video presentation on this Blu-Ray release.
The Blu-Ray release features both English and Japanese lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks. I personally chose to view the film with the English audio track. While it is a Japanese produced animation, it appears to have been produced mainly for the US audience and that fact becomes even more apparent while viewing as all of the English voices fit flawlessly with the mouth movements of the characters. This lossless multichannel soundtrack is pretty burly and it is a rare occurrence when it’s not throwing effects and/or music at you from all five speakers, while at the same time maintaining a perfect balance and never allowing the center channel dialogue to be inaudible in any way.
The Blu-Ray release contains some very impressive bonus content. While only a few features are included, they certainly are significant additions to the disc which is always a welcome treat. Included are ‘The Vigilante vs. The Spy’ and ‘Espionage & Punishment’ featurettes which take a look with some of the creators at the appeal for bringing the characters of Black Widow and Punisher together in a (not-so average) team up. Also included (though exclusive to the Blu-Ray release) is a ‘Conceptual Art Gallery’ which is incredibly extensive and features more examples of the initial art (some only in sketch stages, others in both sketch and colored/finished stages) that I think fans are certain to really appreciate. You are provided the option to either go through them yourself manually or watch via a ‘slide show’ style presentation.
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They additionally will suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.
Film Rating: 8/10
Disc Rating: 9/10
‘Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher’ is now available to own on Blu-Ray Combo Pack & DVD from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Marvel & Madhouse Inc.