HTS Moderator , Reviewer
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=9251[/img]Title: The Avengers
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner
Directed by: Joss Whedon
Written by: Joss Whedon, Zak Penn
Runtime: 143 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: September 25th, 2012
HTS Overall Score:92.5
Being a comic book fanboy since I was knee high to a grasshopper pretty much solidified the fact I WAS going to go see “The Avengers” when it came to the theaters this summer. I was a bit nervous going into the theater. Would it live up to the hype? Would this be just a gigantic mess of a film with sooooo many big names vying for screen time? Nothing like this has ever been done before in the superhero film genre. Marvel spent years creating the five films that came before, five films that fleshed out the beginnings of each and every superhero, five films that each set a stone in the path to “The Avengers”. I had loved each and every one of Marvel’s first 5 films since “Iron Man” hit theaters, so I was pretty confident that we wouldn’t have a stinker on our hands, but with so many main heroes all together on one screen... It would be a feat to create an environment where all the superheros could not only flex their muscles, but not feel disjointed and crowded. Thankfully, Joss Whedon not only met the hype, but he created a film that went above and beyond. It’s obvious to one and all that Joss put his heart and soul into the film.
We begin the film with Loki (Tom Hiddleston) being sent from another world by a mysterious master to steal the Tesseract cube that Howard Stark dug up from the plane crash that iced Captain America (Chris Evans). Weilding a staff that has a blue energy glow very similar to the Tesseract itself, Loki wreaks havoc in S.H.I.E.L.D.’s base of operations and bends Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Dr. Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard) to his will. With the Tesseract cube in Loki’s, Possession Col. Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) calls together a five person strike force, consisting of the world's most prominent super heroes to retrieve the cube and foil Loki’s plan: Captain America, the humble soldier; Iron Man, a carefree billionaire with a habit of liking to play alone; Thor, the brother of Loki and the most powerful warrior of Asgard; Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), a scientist whose run-in with gamma radiation allows him to transform into a wild green rage monster, and Natasha Romanav (aka Black Widow) (Scarlett Johansson), a super spy from Russia. These super beings (because, let's face it, Thor isn't human) make up The Avengers, a group of people who can band together to fight the battles that regular humans can’t. There’s only one problem: they kind of can’t stand each other. In the course of their journey to catch Loki, they each have to come to grips with their own issues, finding out whether they can get over their personal demons in time to cooperate and save humanity from the worst threat it’s ever faced.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=9254[/img]“The Avengers” has a simple concept that’s been done before: a rag tag group of people must overcome their differences and trust each other in order to become something greater as a whole. Been there, done that, a million times. What makes “The Avengers” so special is the labor of love that went into crafting this movie. The main introductions were all done in the previous five films, so we are left with much more time to flesh out the actual storyline for “The Avengers” instead of spending the first half of the movie introducing everyone and showing where they all came from. Each of the five "introductory" films had their own storylines, but each film set a piece of the framework so that each one of them culminated into this one cinematic event. Joss Whedon utilized every character to his or her maximum potential without pushing any of the characters to the side for a “favorite”. The banter between the Avengers was quick and actually witty (unlike most movie banter). Stark and Cap played against each other well - Stark as his usual arrogant self, mirrored by the frustrated Captain America. The newcomer this time around is Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner. Previously, Bruce was played by Edwards Norton, but due to issues beyond our control he was not able to resume his role for “The Avengers”. Personally I felt that Mark played a much more accurate Bruce than Edward did in the previous rendition. Mark had the “feel” of Bruce Banner down to a T, and meshed will with the rest of the crew as the self-tortured scientist who’s terrified, not of others, but of what he is capable of unwittingly unleashing.
“The Avengers” has to be easily the most fun summer blockbuster that I’ve seen in years. The brilliance for this movie comes not from a technically impressive script, but rather the unique use of individual movies to weave stories that ultimately come together and create one giant movie of epic proportions. I went with at least 20 people to go see it at the theaters and each and every one of them came out with these big goofy grins on their faces excitedly jabbering about their experience. Some movies are meant to inspire, some movies are meant to educated, some are meant to make you think, and some…are just meant to have a good time. “The Avengers” certainly falls into this final category, and I for one had a blast watching it the first time, the second time and now for a third time on home video.
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action throughout, and a mild drug reference
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=9252[/img]All I can say is WOW!!!! Disney has out done themselves this time. This is by far THE most perfect picture I have ever seen for a live action film, even surpassing “Transformers : The Dark of the Moon” and my recently reviewed “Battleship” by a good margin. I spent a good amount of time hitting the rewind button during this review JUST so I could go back and marvel (excuse the pun) at the all the gorgeous detail with which I was being inundated. The fine detail is so apparent that I was able to see a miss stitch in Captain America’s costume as well as notice the dust trickling down Hawkeye’s bare arm during the final battle. I didn’t notice any blurring or out of focus shots; the entire film just looked extremely well-polished and clean from beginning to end. Colors were bright and flesh tones were smooth and accurate without any haloing or banding of any kind around face and body shots. Blacks were DEEP and inky, black crush was nowhere to be found and shadow detail was exceptional. I hate to sound like a gushing fool, but this is bar none the best looking Blu-ray that I’ve ever seen. I LOOKED for flaws and I looked hard; fortunately for us, I couldn’t find anything wrong with this picture whatsoever. Again, all I can say is WOW! Are you guys in for a treat.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=9253[/img]The Audio is no slouch either. This was an aggressive track in the theaters and this Blu-ray release replicates the theatrical experience perfectly. Energy blasts whistle by your ears utilizing the surrounds exceptionally well, explosions are DEEP and guttural, a helicopter crash near the beginning of the movie had my subs working hard and my pant legs vibrating. The LFE is not AS deep or aggressive as say “Transformers : Dark of the Moon”, but what it lacks in raw power it makes up in accuracy and balance. When it needs to, the bass gets loud and pounding, but it also can be very subtle and slide its way into a scene leaving more of a feeling than any audible bass frequencies. Dialogue is crisp and clean and centered right in the middle. The audio is balanced perfectly where the dialogue is heard without the necessity of turning the volume up during dialogue scenes, and down during action scenes. My only real nitpicky complaint that keeps the audio score from a perfect 5 is that I felt the surrounds could have been used a bit MORE than they were. Don’t get me wrong, the surrounds were used and used extensively but there was just this lack of PERFECT channel separation between the fronts and rears that had me give it a 4.5. Overall another FANTASTIC audio track by Disney.
• Director Commentary with Joss Whedon
• Marvel One-Shot : Item 47
• Second Screen
• Gag Reel
• Deleted Scenes
• Soundgarden Music Video : Live to Rise
• A Visual Journey : Assembling the Ultimate Team
Fans of previous Marvel movies definitely need to see this film, as it’s the culmination of the last 6 years or so of this fantastic group of heroes. People who haven’t seen the previous five films may feel a little lost with some of the characters, but there is enough backstory that most people will feel comfortable within the first half an hour. I went in a little nervous since I’ve been burned by the hype machine before, but this time I was totally blown away. Outstanding visuals and just as outstanding audio coupled with an absolute BLAST of a time will make this a keepsake as 2012’s next most popular disc (theatrical earnings were over $1 Billion alone) probably until the next Batman movie hits Blu-ray. Either way, All I can say is GET IT!!!!
Recommendation: Buy It! (or the Hulk will get angry)