The Avengers 3D Blu-ray Review
On paper, combining some of the biggest superheroes in the world into one movie and having them portrayed by some of the most talented actors while making it all live up to the obnoxiously high expectations of the fanboy community seems like a daunting task. It’s not enough just to throw them into mindless action scenes, today’s fanboys want an interesting story, character arcs and a plot that actually makes sense. Marvel understands this, which is why they’ve been building to THE AVENGERS ever since IRON MAN hit theaters in 2008 and it’s why they chose a fanboy favorite in Joss Whedon to helm the biggest superhero movie of all time. The result is a wonderfully exciting film with witty dialogue and intense action that managed to live up to all our expectations.
Loki (Thor’s brother) is hell bent on destroying the Earth and has teamed up with an alien race to aid him in his quest. Realizing that Earth’s armies are no match for Loki, S.H.I.E.L.D. leader Nick Fury sets out to recruit Iron Man, Captain America and The Hulk to team with Black Widow and eventually, Thor and Hawkeye to form the ultimate defense of the Earth. Of course, all of these characters are more accustomed to working on their own, so Fury must find a way to get them to work together as a team before it’s too late.
The basic plot works well to bring the characters together. Sure, the catalyst that brings everyone together feels a little forced, but it served its purpose. I also struggled to get behind Loki as the villain, but once the aliens came to Earth, it was clear they (and Loki) were worthy opponents. Jeremy Renner complained that Hawkeye wasn’t used as well as he thought he could have been and while I agree with that, I never really thought of Hawkeye as a main character. He and Black Widow are more of the supporting heroes behind the big four. Joss Whedon did well not to make THE AVENGERS a sequel to any of the standalone films and no character seemed to be favored over the others. The argument could be made that Iron Man had more screen time, but a lot of The Avengers lore focuses on Stark Industries, so it was necessary for the story. That, and everyone loves Robert Downey Jr.
Perhaps Joss Whedon’s greatest achievement with THE AVENGERS was finally using The Hulk in a manner fans have been waiting for. The Hulk was responsible for almost all of the stand up and cheer moments, as well as the laugh out loud scenes. It’s a shame we went two movies with never seeing him used with humor and wit, but Whedon clearly knows and understands the character. Although it probably won’t happen, I’ve already started dreaming of a Whedon-backed Hulk movie and while watching THE AVENGERS, I found myself looking forward to the next Hulk appearance. That’s saying a lot considering all the other characters in the film.
There were several moments where it was obvious this was a Joss Whedon film and maybe I’m biased, but I can’t imagine an Avengers film working as well without Whedon writing the script. As the Avengers begin arguing amongst themselves at the SHIELD headquarters, the dialogue was so quick and so sharp that it added a whole dimension to the film that is nonexistent in other superhero films. Whedon fans will instantly recognize certain scenes as being familiar. For example, the back and forth between The Hulk and Thor was very reminiscent of the battles Angel and Spike used to have from Whedon’s Buffy days. For those not familiar with Whedon’s television work, you’re in for a treat as Whedon is a master of blending humor, action and drama into perfect harmony. THE AVENGERS is full of those moments, which makes the non-action scenes just as entertaining (if not more so) than the action scenes.
Is THE AVENGERS the greatest superhero movie of all time? I don’t know if I’d go that far (although I will say that I consider it the most “re-watchable” superhero film), but I do think it needs to be mentioned among the best. It has the perfect blend of humor, action, drama and intensity that is so difficult to find in superhero films and THE AVENGERS made it look easy.
3D BLU-RAY REVIEW
The four-disc version of THE AVENGERS also comes with a 3D copy of the film and although I wouldn’t necessarily say the film has to be watched in 3D, at least there were a couple of scenes that looked pretty great. The scene where Black Widow points a gun at Bruce Banner comes to mind as one that took advantage of the 3D. I got the feeling that Whedon was mindful of the 3D, but he didn’t seem to alter his filming to take advantage of it. The result is a lesser 3D film, but a much better overall film.
Video: Disney makes the best Blu-rays and since they’re handling the Blu-ray release of THE AVENGERS, the result is near perfection. Everything about this transfer was wonderful.
Audio: The same superlatives can be used for the audio and this 7.1 track should be used to show off your sound system.
Commentary by Director Joss Whedon: If you are a fan of Joss Whedon then you will love this commentary. He talks about how why he was chosen to direct the film, how terrible he wanted to make the experience for the cast and crew and about his experience about shooting the film in 3D. Whedon is a delight to listen to so make sure you check this feature out.
The Avengers Initiative: A Marvel Second Screen Experience: This is a feature that lets you surf through the S.H.I.E.L.D. database and get more information on your favorite characters.
Marvel One-Shot: Item 47 (11:19): A short direct to video release that stars Jesse Bradford and Lizzy Caplan who are thieves that come upon a piece of equipment that will help them achieve their craziest dreams.
Gag Reel (4:06): Your typical gag reel that’s always fun to check out.
Deleted and Extended Scenes (15:00): Includes eight additional scenes and an alternate opening and ending. Not all of scenes are in the final stages of production, but they are still fun to watch.
Featurettes (14:35): Two featurettes that have interviews with Joss Whedon and other cast and crew talking about the future of the franchise and what direction they want to take it in.
Soundgarden Music Video “Live to Rise” (4:48)