Captain America and company thunder onto Blu-ray with this first must-have high-def edition of the fall season....
Buena Vista / 143 Minutes / 2012 / Rated PG-13 / Street Date: September 25, 2012
The Avengers, in short, totally works. Neither so adherent to its comic book backstory that it's only the kind of movie mega-geeks enjoy nor too bubble-gum light to do a disservice to the heft of the sagas of its heroes, Joss Whedon's extravaganza is a Hollywood studio chief's dream: a franchise picture that appealed effortlessly outside its opening weekend demographic and became the movie to watch in summer 2012.
And now the picture comes to Blu-ray with the capacity to be the high-definition release of the year. In a marketplace where digital streaming is becoming more and more preferable to the bulky inconvenience of having to unwrap and navigate a physical disc, a release like this one offers a head-spinning, often thrilling reminder of the kind of power Blu-ray really has. Of course you can watch (and rewind) your favorite Scarlett Johanssen scenes while watching The Avengers on your iPod, but this BD edition makes the case that - if set up correctly - your home theater really has the power to replicate a cinematic experience.
No need to bore you with the details - Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.) is here, as are Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), and The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) - and while it may take a couple sequences for The Avengers to get a firm footing (for this non-comic-book guy, the opening intergalactic moments here were barely short of dumbfounding), once the action scenes kick in, the movie maintains a sturdy momentum.
More importantly, director Joss Whedon milks as much fun as he can out of the thing. Some ensemble moments in, say, X-Men or Fantastic Four movies seem forced and uncompelling when such a wide swatch of characters need to be addressed and utilized (without a comic primer course, I found myself wondering who the hell the heroes in the X-Men movies were), but The Avengers is spry enough that whether it's Downey's spot-on comic timing, the film's harrowing and invitingly dizzying action sequences, or its CGI-heavy gleam, it's easy to fall quickly under the movie's spell and stay there for 2+ hours.