The Avengers (2012)

Despite its oversized running time, “The Avengers” is populist entertainment at its finest. All the elements that make up a crowd-pleasing blockbuster are here: There are the lovable characters played by charming movie stars, the snappy rat-tat-tat dialogue, the truly breathtaking special effects, and the sheer size of the entire project. From beginning to end, this feels like an event unfolding, and it’s hard to accomplish this kind of exciting, bombastic tone and manage to extend it even to non-devotees like myself. Luckily Joss Whedon is in full command of the medium here, deploying a truly impressive array of all-around technical and filmmaking talents that are well-matched by a superstar cast blessed with both acting chops and movie star charisma. For most of its running time it’s a lot of fun, but in the last half hour it becomes a downright floor-shaking spectacle that showcases extraordinary CGI and sound effects in every frame.

Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)

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