Since I’m still on the fence on just how I feel about The Master, I’m 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, I’m 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 don’t 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 don’t even get me started on Elektra.
So, with alot of the Marvel characters having a pretty spotty track record with their film adaptations, I didn’t think it was possible that a movie featuring not one, but six (seven if you’re 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 it’s 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 Thor’s introduction the most in the film. No, wait, Black Widow’s tied-to-a-chair theatrics! Nah, I loved Bruce Banner’s first speech the most (“I’m exposed, like a nerve.”).
Actually, the characters are all reintroduced so magnificently that it’s 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, “God, I love this film.” It’s hard to pick just one great scene.
With that said, the climax could have been a little better. Sure, Tom Hiddleston’s 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, isn’t that exciting, since the beasts just keep on coming. Also, any Hawkeye fans out there may be a little disappointed. It’s not like he’s barely in the movie. In fact, he’s in it a lot. But his role in The Avengers might not be what fans expected, since he’s pretty much Loki’s bitch for about half of the movie.
Besides that, though, the film is aces. The story is excellent for several reasons. It’s 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 don’t 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 it’s 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!
Here’s what I love about Joss Whedon. Or rather, one thing I love about Joss Whedon. He’s a nerd’s nerd. When doing a commentary, he won’t say “Robert Downey Jr.’s great here.” He’ll say, “Tony’s great here.” As in, Tony Stark, the character Robert Downey Jr. portrays in the movie. It’s that kind of commitment and love for everything he does that has made Joss such a beloved icon with the fans, and that’s why the commentary is so great. He talks to the listener like a friend. Also enjoyable is the lovefest, “Assembling The Ultimate Team,” where all of the actors talk about each other as if they’ve known one another for years. It’s just a little silly seeing them perform all their stunts in front of a constant green screen.
“Marvel One-Shot: Item 47” is an interesting little extra that’s meant to take place after the movie. It features some Chitauri weaponry that’s been left on earth that causes some serious damage. None of the Avengers are in it, but there’s some more S.H.I.E.L.D. action, which is pretty cool. The “gag reel” shows the cast goofing off and having fun. Some of it’s actually pretty funny.
“A Visual Journey” 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 Soundgarden’s song, “Live to Rise.” It’s not too bad of a song. It’s not too good, either, though.
And finally, there’s the biggest draw, which is the deleted scenes. Quite frankly, they’re 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 it’s 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 wouldn’t have been as good if the scene had made it in the film. And then, there’s 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 haven’t 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.