Action/Adventure / Reviews

The Avengers (2012) Blu-Ray review

I have already review the film The Avengers.  See below for my original review, which upon Blu-Ray viewing, hasn’t changed.  Here is the original review:

When Loki (Tom Hiddleston) comes to earth for the tesseract in advance of an alien invasion, it’s up to Captain America (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Bruce Banner aka The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg), and Agent Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) to team up to stop the threat.

The Avengers is a thrilling, smart, funny action film directed and written by Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Serenity).  Tied directly to Iron Man 2, Captain America: The First Avenger, and Thor, The Avengers takes the events of those three films and creates a threat that just one hero can’t handle.  When Loki captures the tesseract in the opening scenes and prepares to open a portal to another realm, the heroes have to band together to stop him.  Along the way they have to battle not just Loki and the Chitari (the aliens preparing to invade), but their own egos and differences to team up and become Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.

The Avengers is an amazing film.  I have to just up and say that right out of the gate.  (Gauging by the box office grosses, everyone already seems to know that).  Thrilling, spectacular, huge, funny, dramatic, and dire, The Avengers has something for everyone.  This is the penultimate Summer Action Film.  From the strong performances by the tried and true actors from the other five films leading to this release (minus Ed Norton, replaced by Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner), to the huge action set pieces, Whedon missed very little.  He takes what could have been a train wreck in less capable hands, and turns it into a stunning revelation of what action and comic films can be.

One of the most amazing aspects of this film is that Whedon gives every character room to breathe.  With the exception of Hawkeye, every hero gets great character moments.  No one of them is actually pushed to the side in favor of another.  While Hawkeye doesn’t get the big character action scene that the rest do, he is given a nice quiet moment with Black Widow near the final battle, which really fleshes out his character as more of an assassin and separates him from being a spy like Black Widow.

One thing I can’t stress enough is how funny this film is.  It is undeniably action oriented film, but there is a levity to the proceedings that keeps the film from being in the category of something like The Dark Knight; Whedon purposefully keeps the film from becoming too dark, while at the same time getting the message across that this could be the end of the world.  Thanks to the smart writing, an understanding of every character and their motivations,  and the ability to keep the proceedings moving forward, The Avengers never has a down moment; it never falls into the trap of having ‘filler’ just to get the running time up.

I have seen The Avengers twice now.  Due to a theater screw up, my first viewing was less than ideal.  I won’t go into details, but I did have to contact the theater and complain.  After getting the issue resolved I did go see this again.  My first viewing was in 2D.  My second viewing was in 3D.  I would just like to say not to waste your money on the 3D version.  This is a post-conversion, which means that the didn’t film it in 3D, but made it 3D after filming was finished.  In my experience, the only good 3D films are either CGI or filmed in 3D.  Post-conversions don’t seem to work all that well.  While the 3D wasn’t horrible, it just felt unnecessary and added nothing to the overall film.  It was not immersive as 3D should be.

Overall, The Avengers is one of those films that should be experienced on the big screen. As the first comic film out of the gate in a summer where we have four (Men in Black 3, The Amazing Spiderman, and The Dark Knight Rises), it raises the bar for the others.  A spectacle, The Avengers is an amazing film that has something for everyone.  The only drawback is that if you haven’t seen Iron Man 2, Thor, or Captain America: The First Avenger you may find yourself a little in the dark on some of the proceedings.  I don’t feel that this will detract from the overall enjoyment of the film, it’s just that some things may not make as much sense as if you had seen the other films.

***3/4 out of ****

If you haven’t seen The Avengers (and honestly, has anyone not seen it?) now would be the time to do so.  It is a blast of a movie that actually gets better the more you watch it.  I have personally seen it four times so far (once in theatrical 2-D, once in theatrical 3-D, and twice on Blu-Ray) and it only gets better.  It is one of the most enjoyable films out there, whether you are a comic book fan or not.  It is just an amazing film that is paced wonderfully, extremely well written, and acted by top notch performers.

The film flows so smoothly that there is nary a break to the action.  There are some deleted scenes on the disc and those are worth watching as well, including a wonderful scene with Steve Rogers aka Captain America trying to assimilate into modern day New York (he was frozen in a block of ice for 70 years).  There is also an alternate opening and closing scene with Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) being questioned by her superiors about the events that transpired.

This Blu-Ray is top notch.  The visuals, audio, and special features make it a worthwhile addition to your Blu-Ray collection.  And don’t forget to watch the Gag Reel!

I have seen some reviewers claim that this is the best comic book film made.  I have to disagree, but it certainly is in the Top 5.  Only The Crow, The Dark Knight, and Superman: The Movie are better.   Do yourself a favor and watch Hulk smash one more time.

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