Title: Marvel’s The Avengers

Directed by: Joss Whedon

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg and Samuel L. Jackson

Running time: 143 minutes, Rated PG-13, Available on DVD

S.H.I.E.L.D is working with Dr Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård) to uncover the secrets of the Tesseract, a cube with the power to enslave humankind and bring destruction to our world as we know it. Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Thor’s adopted brother, manages to utilize the power of the Tesseract to escape to earth.  He is able to then brainwash himself some minions, including Clint ” Hawkeye ” Barton (Jeremy Renner)  into stealing the cube and destroying S.H.I.E.L.D’s base; Agent Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) barely escape.  In order to retrieve the Tesseract, Nick Fury along with Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) reach out to Tony Stark/Ironman (Robert Downey Jr.), Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans)  and with the help of stealthy Natasha “Black Widow” Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) encourages Dr Bruce Banner/The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) to join. The skeptical team is able to catch up to Loki and are intercepted by Thor (Chris Helmsworth) who has his own ideas on how to deal with his fiendish brother. However they underestimate Loki, and must quickly prepare for an epic battle to save New York and the rest of the world.

I’m not one to verbally fellate, but here I go anyway:  Joss Whedon (AKA God of Nerds)  is a master storyteller.  I tweeted this as soon as I exited the theater after seeing The Avengers for the first time.  The dialogue is smart and hilarious, the casting is perfect, the visual effects are amazing and I didn’t want this movie to end.

The special features are much too minimal to accompany such a big film. I enjoyed the Gag Reel, but it was far too short.  The featurettes were okay, but I expected more.  The deleted scenes could’ve been included in the final cut, but I agree the bit with the waitress (Ashley Johnson) and the deleted opening with a shell-shocked Agent Hill were on the slow side.

The short film Item 47 was unnecessary. I wasn’t sure what exactly was the point to even making this short as it really didn’t have anything to do with The Avengers. It’s about a couple (Lizzy Caplan & Jesse Bradford) who use a jury-rigged alien rifle they liberated from the epic battle at the end of The Avengers to rob banks. They are apprehended by Agent Jasper Sitwell (Maximiliano Hernández) who then enlists them to become S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. Okay…BFD. I didn’t get it.

The Avengers is an awesome action flick. I think it ties all of the films together without any overwhelming ego performances. There are some surprises and sad moments. I’m hoping a certain character isn’t really dead because we didn’t see them take the body. The one scene with Loki & Hulk is probably the best fight scene ever filmed. The part when Stark asks Banner if he uses weed to control The Hulk had me doubled over in laughter. There is just too many great parts and lines to mention, and yes I am one of the few who actually knew that dude was Thanos.

The Avengers is great as a stand-alone film, but I can’t wait to see what Joss Whedon does with the sequel. Now I’m in the mood for some Shawarma.

Total Rating: A

Reviewed by: JM Willis

The Hulk From The Avengers DVD

Blu-Ray Special Features:
The Avengers Initiative: A Marvel Second Screen Experience – Access the S.H.I.E.L.D. database, The Avenger’s comic book history, films “and more”
Marvel One-Shot: Item 47 – Original Short Film starring Lizzy Caplan & Jesse Bradford
A Visual Journey – sets, visual effects &cinematography
Marvel’s First-Ever Gag Reel
Deleted Scenes
“Live To Rise” Soundgarden Music Video

DVD Special Features:
Assembling The Ultimate Team – cast & crew interviews
Audio Commentary with Director Joss Whedon

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