The Avengers was an entirely risky proposition for its three major stakeholders - Marvel, Paramount and the real owner of the film - Disney (although contractual obligations means that few are aware of this). With a huge budget, mega talent, and the fortunes of the Hulk, Captain America, Iron Man and Thor franchises all tied up within one movie, the results could have been quite catastrophic. Fortunately, the results speak for themselves. The highest grossing picture of the year, and the third highest grossing of all time, some great audience polling (92% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, and 8.6 on IMDB) means that with Avengers, pure gold was struck.
Following directly from the events of Thor, the villainous Loki (Tom Hiddleston) has found his way to Earth in order to capture the Tessaract - a cube containing immense energy. In collusion with the alien race the Chitauri, Loki plans on enslaving the human race and ruling Earth. To counteract this imminent threat, SHIELD director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) assembles a group of the world's pre-eminent superheroes. But a clash of egos and a distrust of SHIELDs motives threaten to derail the entire operation, when the world needs them most.
Despite the danger apparent with having so many main characters and villains, it's a welcome surprise that each of the main characters are given ample time to shine. Whilst some have criticized a lack of screen time given to the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and emphasis on Captain America (Chris Evans), I feel that the balance is just about as perfect as it can be. The leads are all allowed time to explore their characters a little deeper and the interaction between the heroes is fascinating and at times hilarious. Robert Downey Jr's Iron Man character is given particular free reign and the film is stronger because of it.
Under the safe hands of the revered writer/director Joss Whedon, the action is kept flowing, but whilst retaining the interest of the audience with equal mix of humor, sex appeal, stunts and special effects, not least numerous action set pieces which culminate in a prolonged and spectacular final battle which truly delivers.
Seeing The Avengers again after such a short turnaround from its cinema release reminds me of the few shortcomings of the film, but importantly the massive amount of fun that can be had. This is classic popcorn cinema and one that not only satisfies audiences and critics, but most importantly hard to please fans, just the same.
The Avengers is presented in the film's original aspect ratio of 2.35:1, encoded with MVC MPEG-4 compression.
I guess the biggest question with the 3D version of The Avengers is: "Does it hold up on the small screen?" Unfortunately, the answer to that would be another question - "How big is your screen?" Because the spectacle of The Avengers is half the fun, in turn really selling the 3D, but sadly this immersiveness will be absent for most viewers.
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Unlike so many other 3D films where I removed the glasses temporarily to see how much stereo convergence there actually is, almost every frame has some great effects. For the depth and quality of its 3D effects, it came as a great surprise that The Avengers is a 3D convert - that is, was not natively filmed in 3D. Most filmgoers would be blissfully unaware.
The image is clear and colorful and only a little of the vibrancy is lost to active shutter (but that may depend on the make and model of your glasses). I noticed a few examples of convergence issues which strained my eyes ever so slightly, but overall I really enjoyed seeing the film again in 3D. If nothing else, it might act as a catalyst to upgrade the size of your display device.
The Avengers is presented in DTS HD Master Audio 7.1, at 24 bits.
I think I have a new demonstration disc. This track rocks the house. And I mean rocks the house to its very foundations.
This is an aggressive and involving mix, the likes of which I haven't heard for a while. The track isn't about subtlety - every sound effect is made to make you feel, and not just hear it.
This mentality is shown in spades with the LFE. I wouldn't like to hear this on a TV or audio system without a subwoofer - there are entire sound effects that are made entirely out of LFE effects.
The music provided by Alan Silvestri is suitably bombastic, and pays homage to the themes for the main heroes and villains, and borrows from his work on Captain America.
There are no extra features on this Blu-ray 3D version; all extras are included on the 2D version of the film.