With the exception of the upcoming Dark Knight picture, The Avengers is of the same stripe as the films previewed before it (Spiderman, Battleship) – loud, visually thrilling, punctuated by the wisecracks of people in a maelstrom, and loud. The Avengers includes a slew of Marvel characters, almost all of whom have had their own loud, visually thrilling films: Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and The Hulk join The Black Widow, Nick Fury and Hawkeye to fight Thor’s power-hungry brother Loki. Since they are a varied group of personalities, they bicker, trade philosophy (Fury would be the Dick Cheney of the group; Iron Man the Barack Obama), and crack wise (Robert Downey’s Iron Man/Tony Stark gets almost all the nifty lines).
Loki comes to rule and it takes the Avengers fighting his flying army of space creatures in NYC to demonstrate that Earth is not some defenseless denizen of sheep.
Really though, he is not nearly scary enough (he looks like the second banana in Wham!) and you never get the sense he’s that big a threat.
The picture is dizzying, occasionally funny, well-paced but really, really long and immediately forgettable.