I rewatched The Avengers today and it really is a missed opportunity. The reason it failed was not IMO the surreal wackiness, it was that Warners panicked and cut huge chunks out of the film rendering it not only surreal and weird, but missing links in the story that would have tied all the bizarre stuff together better.
If you look on Wikipaedia it details what was in the original script, and on imdb you can discover things cut from the film, such as the attack on the secret base by the evil Emma Peel that was seen in trailers. My favourite has to be Steed spanking Peel with his sword when they spar in the tailor shop.
On reflection there's a lot to like in The Avengers: Uma Thurman in leather: always a plus, Sean Connery hamming it up more than Porky Pig at a bacon factory, and henchmen dressed as multi-coloured teddy bears. Bonkers. Utter bonkers. I like it.
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