But, surprisingly, The Avengers is actually better than any of the individual movies that have preceded it in the sequence.
That is probably due to the influence of fan boy extroardinaire Joss Whedon who directed and co-wrote the film.
The Avengers is well over two hours but the time flies. One of the key features of the film is its balance between the characters. As in a high-stakes appearance by duelling divas, the time and focus is evenly distributed among the stars of the show. This also allows for interesting interactions and compelling couplings: Thor and Iron Man; Hulk and Thor; Captain America, Thor and Iron Man; just to name a few. The (new to me) characters of Black Widow (Scarlet Johannsen) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) are also given equal time, and turn out to be interesting as well. The villian is Loki, who was one of the best things about last summer's execrable Thor film.
Overall, this is an excellent summer popcorn movie, entertaining but will not leave a lasting impression.
And there's nothing wrong with that! It's not one of the best films of the year, but it's not trying to be that. It succeeds at what it is trying to do: entertain you for two hours of summer.
Title: The Avengers.
Director: Joss Whedon.
Running Time: 2 hours, 22 minutes.
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action throughout, and a mild drug reference.
Release Date: May 4, 2012.
Viewing Date: May 4, 2012.
Overall Grade: A-/B+ (3.50/4.0).