Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Video review: "The Avengers"
Even if you're not a fan of superhero movies, you've got to appreciate "The Avengers" for its near-perfect execution of everything great about the genre.
Start with the obvious: instead of one person wielding super-awesome powers and abilities, this flick's got six: Iron Man, Thor, The Hulk, Black Widow, Captain American and Hawkeye. Four of them have already been featured in their own solo movies, so "The Avengers" represents one big honkin' pot of hero gumbo where they get thrown into the mix together.
Their investigable clashes result in a movie that's a helluva lot funnier than you'd expect.
Then add in a terrific villain, Thor's half-brother Loki, who has recruited a mysterious race of alien creatures to attack Earth at his behest. Loki snivels and pouts, boasts and taunts, and is wonderfully delicious to hate.
Finally, give credit to director Joss Whedon for delivering a film that's packed with action, but doesn't seem overwhelmed by computer-generated effects. The fight scenes are crisply and clearly staged, so even though the characters are doing extraordinary things they remain entirely comprehensible.
Just as movies based on comic books seem to have hit middle age, with many franchises falling back on reboots and tired storylines, "The Avengers" are hitting their stride.
The movie is available on home video in four iterations: a single-disc DVD, two-disc DVD combo pack, two-disc Blu-ray or four-disc "Super Set" with both formats.
Video features are good, though you have to pay for the higher-end sets to get the really good stuff. The DVD comes with a feature-length commentary track by Whedon, plus a making-of feature about assembling the team of heroes and the actors who played them.
The centerpiece of the Blu-ray edition is "A Second Screen Experience," an interactive database of images and video that take you deep in the Marvel Comics universe. Unfortunately, it's only accessible with a Blu-ray-equipped laptop computer, iPhone or iPad.
Other goodies bridge the gap. There's "Marvel One-Shoot: Item 47," an original short film, a featurette on the visual effects in the film, gag reel, deleted scenes and "Live To Rise" music video.
Movie: 3.5 stars out of four