Abbreviated review: go see the movie, and stay for both the mid-credits scene and the post-credits scene.

Cast and Crew Information

Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man / Tony Stark
Chris Evans as Captain America / Steve Rogers
Chris Hemsworth as Thor
Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow / Natasha Romanoff
Mark Ruffalo as The Hulk (motion capture) / Bruce Banner
Lou Ferrigno as The Hulk (voice)
Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye / Clint Barton
Tom Hiddleston as Loki
Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson
Cobie Smulders as Agent Maria Hill
Stellan Skarsgard as Selvig
Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury
Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts
Paul Bettany as J.A.R.V.I.S.
Alexis Denisof as The Other
Maximilliano Hernandez as Agent Sitwell

Written by Zak Penn (story) and Joss Whedon (story and screenplay).
Directed by Joss Whedon

Premise

A threat has appeared that is more than any one hero can handle. Nick Fury puts a team together that may be able to stop this threat.

High Point

I like the Hulk and want to see more of him. That’s a pretty significant feat.

Low Point

Stan Lee’s cameo comes very late, to the point where I was distracted looking for it. This is why Hitchcock learned to put his cameos at the start of the film.

The Review

This is an original movie when it comes to execution, not concept. It’s accurately adapted, aside from the fact that this particular lineup wasn’t used in the comics until a couple of months ago. I give it 3 out of 6.

The effects are great, including effective use of 3D with bright light levels. No complaints here at any point of the movie. I give it 6 out of 6.

The story is exactly what this stage of the franchise needs: we understand the stakes within five minutes, and then move from action sequence to action sequence with character-rich interactions. I give it 6 out of 6.

The acting is bang on. Ruffalo seems at home with his character as those who have already appeared in several other movies. The casting, basically, is so perfect that you’ll forget these people are acting and see nothing but the characters. I give it 6 out of 6.

The production is extremely well done. There’s an extended tracking shot in the final sequence that is truly incredible: one continuous shot reveals the actions of every member of the team, in at least medium shot, and they are nowhere close to each other but at least one team member is on screen at all times. This doesn’t play like a director adapting a script, this plays like a director’s vision that was transcribed into script form to communicate with the cast and crew. I give it 6 out of 6.

The emotional response was great. They nailed these characters, including the Black Widow and Hawkeye. Do not judge this by the trailers; dialog that seems out of character in the trailers is just out of context, and characters that don’t get a lot of screen time weren’t in the trailers to avoid certain spoilers. I went in with very high expectations, and those expectations were exceeded. I give it 6 out of 6.

Overall, this is exactly the movie we’ve been waiting for since Iron Man hit on May 2, 2008. I give it 6 out of 6.

In total, The Avengers receives 39 out of 42.