After they've been prepared for the big gathering in their single adventures - sometimes more, sometimes less elegant - Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow & Hawkeye joined forces to the Avengers initiative under the direction of Joss Whedon. Their goal is stopping Thor's revengeful and domineering half-brother Loki and his followers, the Chitauri army.
The allegedly biggest concerns - not enough screentime for particular members of the Avengers, reasonable, sensible inclusion of the superheroes in the storyline and an impending focus on the character Tony Stark / Iron Man - turn out to be smoke. The long-time and dearly expected blockbuster fascinated fans and critics equally (a more conventional storyline favorable excluded). With more than 1.5 million USD at the box office worldwide and rank 3 in the list of the most succesful movies ever, the sequel scheduled to be released in 2015 is certain. Until then, any fan of the Marvel universe can look forward to further movies with their single superheroes.
However, the Disney production isn't THAT straight when it comes to the different versions. Long before its started in movie theaters, Joss Whedon had explained that the Theatrical Version would represent his favored Director's Cut and that there wouldn't be an extended version on Blu-ray or DVD. The US Version, started approx. one week later than the European Versions, contains an additional sequence after the end credits in which the worn out Avengers are eating shawarna, mentioned by Tony during the showdown. This scene seems to be standard on any release for home theaters.
A few weeks after its worldwide theatrical release, the rumor that Disney intends to release a three-hour Director's Cut in movie theaters was spread but those intentions were denied by the Disney group a short while after the rumor was spread. And besides all that, there were apparently two different theatrical versions regarding the contained violence, though only one tiny details makes the difference here.
As already reported on our site, the German rental BD has been compared to a foreign version and it turns out that the bloody staff sticking out of Loki's chest has been retouched.
First, we figured it was an alleged censorship for the German market. But we could figure out that further foreign version are censored the very same way while others are not.
Subsequently, Marvel Entertainment took a stand on it and explained two different version were made and countries like Germany, Austria and Switzerland got the edited version. This version has also been used for home theaters without further alterations.
The comparison with the Italian Blu-ray made for that matter finally confirms that statement:
There are no further alterations at all. Neither has footage been cut out nor are there any digital edits and the audio remains unchanged as well.
An alleged "softened alteration of the image" when Coulson dies - with the intention to let him re-appear at some point - can practically be excluded because he's dead either way (which certainly doesn't mean that a clone or a leap in time etc. isn't an option).
So, now we're stuck with the inevitable question: why? Why has the death of Coulson been altered in the first place when there are no plans whatsoever to let him re-appear? Well, this question cannot be answered by this comparison either.
Possibly, the Joss Whedon's director's commentary on the upcoming US releases will shed some light on it.
As confirmed now, the UK Blu-ray is censored as well. The same goes for the Russian and Czech Blu-ray. Other countries may be affected too.
In actual fact, Loki is standing behind Coulson. He rams his staff through Coulson's body.
In the unedited version, the staff penetrates Coulson's breast and it sticks out. In the edited version, the staff sticking out the chest has been digitally removed.
Furthermore, the shot of Loki after the intercut has been altered. The staff in the chest is missing here, too.