The Avengers (Assemble) (12a)
Directed By: Joss Whedon
Starring: Robert Downey Jnr, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg and Samuel L Jackson
Running time: 142mins
When the earth comes under threat from a god and an alien race, there’s only one thing to do… call on our mightiest heroes to save the day.
It’s a rarity when you see a movie more than once at the cinema and still can’t wait to get the home release too. But Avengers is just that sort of movie. And thankfully, it’s just as awesome as you remember, if not better. Because the home release brings much to the table to improve on the cinema experience, but is disappointingly lacking too.
First the good, if not great: Avengers takes everything laid down by Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America and The Incredible Hulk and knocks it all up several notches, while tying it all together (For our full original review click here). It’s still one of the best translations of a comic book ever put on film. It’s fun, exciting and a total thrill-ride. Joss Whedon manages to balance a cast of actors who all deserve to be the focus, but manages to keep them all on an even keel. No-one steals the movie, but each emerges totally vital
The plot is still a little empty, with the villains of the piece left not fleshed out, except Hiddleston’s great turn as Loki, but there is the sense – it’s not that subtle – that this is the first step on a much bigger path. And we’re ok with that. In fact, as comic fans, it’s kind of a dream come true.
Whedon’s direction and scripting is great, the dialogue zings, the thrills just keep coming and we get the sense that not everyone will make it out alive. And in a situation where war has broken out, if this sense of uneasiness didn’t exist to some extent, it would be wrong.
However, what I really want to focus on here is the content of the disc and what it gives us. Firstly and most disappointingly, there in no commentary of any sort, notably from Whedon – we at FTN were giddy at the prospect of his input, but alas it’s not to be; however, I can’t help but feel there’s another edition release around the corner.
Secondly, yes, the schwarma scene is now intact for UK viewers and it’s a little bit of inspired genius. Additionally, the picture quality – and we were given the Blu-ray edition – is simply breath-taking. The colours, especially the often difficult red and black, are true, and deep. This may be the cleanest Blu-ray this reviewer has ever seen with a level of detail you need to see to believe.
The deleted and extended scenes are mostly made up of the ones we were publishing in the build up to the release and are all worth watching. The alternate beginning and endings add a layer to Maria Hill (Coby Smulders) that the movie had missing and explaining where Banner got the bike made me wonder if there’s a character in the movie we overlooked who may have a bigger impact (ahem) that we thought. We also get a great scene featuring Captain America and just how lost he is in our modern world. Oh and surely the pretty little waitress has a much bigger role waiting for her? The deleted scenes are all rich and add to the story and it’s clear that they were cut only due to time and not quality.
The Visual Journey documentary is a real let down though, instead of what promised to be a real insider piece, it turns out that it’s little more than a made for TV making off and it gives little to no insight. Again, it leaves this reviewer feeling that there is a much better doc sitting waiting to be pressed onto a better release in the near future.
However, the true jewel in an already rich crown is the Marvel one-shot Item 47. The story of two lovers who find an alien gun and use it to rob banks is a whimsical little addition to the Avengers mythology and the re-introduction of agent Sitwell(Maximilliano Hernadez) is a welcome one – he has appeared in the previous Marvel one-shot The Consultant and also in Avengers and Thor. It’s a fun short that is rich in character and truly makes this reviewer wonder if these characters – we can but hope – will be the backbone of Whedon’s upcoming SHIELD TV series. (We EXCLUSIVELY interview two of the principal actors, Maximilliano Hernadez and Titus Welliver here)
All in all, while there are some disappointments with the release, the good far outweighs the bad. If you liked Avengers in the cinema then this is not going to disappoint in that respect, with a great transfer, it’s still infinitely rewatchable (I watched it twice this weekend) and offers pure, unadulterated fun. It’s a great movie and a great achievement. Is it perfect? No, but by golly you’ll have so much fun you won’t even realise.
While the movie is still a five out of five treat, the whole package loses a nerd point because the extras let us down. No commentary? And while the deleted scenes are great, I would like to have seen them in the extended cut of the movie Whedon himself confirmed some time agao. Disappointing? Yes, but still pretty unmissable.
Captain America: ‘We need a Plan of attack!’
Iron Man: ‘I have a plan… attack!’