The Avengers [4-Disc Blu-ray]
Since Iím still on the fence on just how I feel about The Master, Iím going to go ahead and say it: The Avengers is the best movie of 2012. Nothing else even compares.
Okay, let me just get this out of the way. When it comes to Marvel, Iím extremely biased. I love the X-Men, I love Spider-man, I love the Fantastic Four, and I love Moon Knight (Though, unfortunately, Moon Knight will never get a movie, *sniff sniff*). So, of course you know I love the Avengers, too. Although I love the characters, I donít love all of the movies based on Marvel characters. I hate the original X-Men and I hate Wolverine: Origins. I despise Spider-man 3 and donít even get me started on Elektra.
So, with alot of the Marvel characters having a pretty spotty track record with their film adaptations, I didnít think it was possible that a movie featuring not one, but six (seven if youíre counting Ultimate Nick Fury), would actually work, even if it was helmed by Joss Whedon. Obviously this was a dumbass opinion. How could I ever have doubted the mighty Joss? That man bleeds excellence.
What makes The Avengers work is that itís just too damn fun, but with a different director, this may not have worked out. After Marvel had a string of successful films, fromIron Man to Captain America, it seemed impossible to fit so many big personalities in one movie. Joss Whedon accomplished it with an extreme balancing act, giving each character his or her time to shine. So if you love Thor and want to see him kick ass, you will. In fact, I think I loved Thorís introduction the most in the film. No, wait, Black Widowís tied-to-a-chair theatrics! Nah, I loved Bruce Bannerís first speech the most (ďIím exposed, like a nerve.Ē).
Actually, the characters are all reintroduced so magnificently that itís difficult to pick a favorite. They all have at least one A-plus moment where we can just shake our heads or maybe incur a few tears and think, ďGod, I love this film.Ē Itís hard to pick just one great scene.
With that said, the climax could have been a little better. Sure, Tom Hiddlestonís Loki chews up the scenery like a boss--just like he did in Thor, in fact. But the end battle, with the ostensibly endless Chitauri, isnít that exciting, since the beasts just keep on coming. Also, any Hawkeye fans out there may be a little disappointed. Itís not like heís barely in the movie. In fact, heís in it a lot. But his role in The Avengers might not be what fans expected, since heís pretty much Lokiís bitch for about half of the movie.
Besides that, though, the film is aces. The story is excellent for several reasons. Itís a continuation of all of the preceding films (Loki acquires the Tesserect, which was introduced in Thor, violence and jokes ensue), and the action and humor are all typical Joss Whedon. Many people will tell you The Dark Knight is the greatest comic book movie of all time, but I disagree. I donít even consider The Dark Knight a comic book film, I consider it a crime drama. But The Avengers is definitely a comic book film, and I think itís the best one ever made. If you have even a little bit of love for comic book movies, then this is your Citizen Kane. Joss Whedon, you (Dare)devil, you made a masterpiece!
Hereís what I love about Joss Whedon. Or rather, one thing I love about Joss Whedon. Heís a nerdís nerd. When doing a commentary, he wonít say ďRobert Downey Jr.ís great here.Ē Heíll say, ďTonyís great here.Ē As in, Tony Stark, the character Robert Downey Jr. portrays in the movie. Itís that kind of commitment and love for everything he does that has made Joss such a beloved icon with the fans, and thatís why the commentary is so great. He talks to the listener like a friend. Also enjoyable is the lovefest, ďAssembling The Ultimate Team,Ē where all of the actors talk about each other as if theyíve known one another for years. Itís just a little silly seeing them perform all their stunts in front of a constant green screen.
ďMarvel One-Shot: Item 47Ē is an interesting little extra thatís meant to take place after the movie. It features some Chitauri weaponry thatís been left on earth that causes some serious damage. None of the Avengers are in it, but thereís some more S.H.I.E.L.D. action, which is pretty cool. The ďgag reelĒ shows the cast goofing off and having fun. Some of itís actually pretty funny.
ďA Visual JourneyĒ features the actors and Joss Whedon talking about how the film came together through all the preceding films, as well as the special effects of the Helicarrier. We also get the music video of Soundgardenís song, ďLive to Rise.Ē Itís not too bad of a song. Itís not too good, either, though.
And finally, thereís the biggest draw, which is the deleted scenes. Quite frankly, theyíre fascinating beyond belief (Especially all the Captain America stuff where we get to learn more about his life after he was thawed out from his freeze in The First Avenger), but itís all unnecessary, and was definitely best left on the cutting room floor. Most interesting is the beginning that was left out, which references the battle at the end of the film. Honestly, the movie wouldnít have been as good if the scene had made it in the film. And then, thereís footage of Scarlett Johansson and Jeremy Renner actually kicking ass. I have newfound respect for them. Overall, the special features, like the movie itself, are amazing. If you havenít already, pick this up now!
Editor's Note: This set also comes with the 3D version, in case you have the technology to play it.
Reviewed By: Rich Knight