RELEASE DATE: October 25, 2011
RUNNING TIME: 135 minutes
ASPECT RATIO: 1.78:1
AUDIO: Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish
SUBTITLES: English for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
SPECIAL FEATURES: “Avengers Unmasked” notated episode
The superhero team The Avengers face off against a variety of enemies, but face their greatest challenge when Kang the Conqueror invades Earth on a mission of revenge.
Fresh off of its run on the Disney XD channel, The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes is the best animated presentation of the Marvel superhero team yet. This faithful interpretation of the Avengers will appeal to young kids and fanboys alike, and harkens back to the classic look of the 1960s while providing a modern, epic storyline.
While budget restraints keep the animation from being as good as it could be, The Avengers makes up for it with storylines that rise above your standard TV fare. Volume 3 includes episodes 14 through 19 of the first season, which mostly deals with the invasion of Earth by Kang.
The story moves along quickly and delivers some great action. The writing is smart and the characters are well fleshed out. The animated Avengers differ slightly from the recent movie versions (Hulk is more talkative when he’s green, true to the comic), but I found the attempt to channel Robert Downey into the animated Iron Man way off the mark. The animated Tony Stark has homosexual tendencies.
With this being a Disney show, there is some attempt to appeal to younger kids, and some of the dialogue can be corny. I can forgive that, especially in the first season as the show finds its identity. I hope it continues to take on grander storylines, rather than the self-contained episodes, a couple of which pepper the first season. It may not be as epic as the original animated Batman yet, but it is a solid effort. When it comes to Marvel cartoons, that is a very good thing.
VIDEO AND AUDIO
The video transfer for this DVD is quite good, showing bright colors and nice detail, at least when characters are standing still. However, when there is motion of any kind, the outlines of the characters become jagged and the image quality suffers. The difference is substantial and easily noticeable. It isn’t a dealbreaker as far as I’m concerned, but considering these episodes are brand-spanking new, it is worth noting.
The audio is 5.1 Dolby Digital, and sounds excellent. Voices and sound effects are presented in nice balance, and the music gives the soundtrack nice depth, although I do not care for the opening theme.
There aren’t many special features on the disc, which is disappointing. You do get an episode with “facts” added over it. The facts are fairly interesting, but I don’t think it warrants making it the only special feature.
THE BOTTOM LINE: BUY IT OR REDBOX IT?
OVERALL GRADE: B+
The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes is a solid animated show that Marvel fans can enjoy. I hope it continues to mature into better storylines, but it makes good use of its stable of heroes, and the voice acting is very good. The technical presentation is decent, but not outstanding. Some behind-the-scenes extras would have been nice, but if you are interested in just seeing the episodes, it does the job. It’s worth a buy if you can find it on sale (full retail is a bit much for just six episodes), or you could get them at Redbox and knock them out in an afternoon.
The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes Volume 3 is now available through Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment.