Clocking in at almost two-and-a-half hours, The Avengers was certainly not a movie that minced words. Director Joss Whedon's script, while succinctly tying in several years of Marvel movie world-building, still gave the appropriate amount of time for each major character – from Iron Man to Black Widow – to breathe. But, if Whedon were to tell audiences that there were minor scenes left out of the film - scenes that delved deeper into the minds of these self-searching characters - few would be surprised.
Such is the nature of this new Avengers deleted scene, which comes to us by way of Entertainment Weekly and is packaged in with the Blu-ray/DVD release of the film. The scene itself is placed between the moment Mark Ruffalo's Hulk comes crashing down from the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier and when he arrives at Stark Tower for the film's climactic showdown, and shows viewers a little more of the soul-searching Banner had to do before finally accepting his "condition."
More importantly, though, it gives Mark Ruffalo a chance to explore the character of Bruce Banner, while adding a new sense of vulnerability and uncertainty to a man capable of turning into an indestructible wrecking-ball. Banner, while being able to keep the Hulk under control since the events of the Edward Norton film, still wrestles with who he is and what defines him.
In addition to giving Ruffalo an extra minute to shine, the clip allows Harry Dean Stanton's security guard character to pose some pretty weighty questions to the doctor. In the finished film, Stanton fit the cameo role nicely, giving audiences a brief moment of relief and laughter between action sequences; here, he gets to add a new dimension to his unnamed character. It might be reading a little too much into the scene, but it also feels like Stanton's choice of words, "Are you a big guy that gets all little, or a little guy that sometimes blows up large," could also be a playful nod to the character of Ant-Man, who we know to be a part of Marvel 'Phase Two.'
The Avengers Blu-ray and DVD, which also come packaged in a bombastic 10-disc 'Phase One' Collector's Set, don't release until this time next month, but already we're getting our fill of the type of content Marvel has packaged in with their six feature films.
High on the list of must-see deleted scenes is a portion of the film that reportedly features Captain America/Steve Rogers visiting an older Peggy Carter in 2012 - a sequence Whedon wanted to put in the finished film, but couldn't find space for. There was no official confirmation that such a scene was filmed – Whedon only discussed it in the context of scenes he wanted to include – but hopefully somewhere in the 10-disc set is a reference to it. We'll know for sure in September.
The Avengers releases on Blu-ray and DVD on September 25, 2012.