The following review is spoiler free and is meant to be read BEFORE seeing the movie.
The Avengers is the kind of movie that is made for people who like movies. It has drama, comedy, action, suspense, and spectacle. It has good characterization, good visuals, good effects, and good dialogue. And at two hours and twenty minutes, it never once feels like it is too slow or it has gone on for too long; the pacing is fantastically perfect.
This ensemble cast is treated as if each one of them is the lead at all points during the movie. I couldn’t even fathom how difficult it must have been to not given anybody short shrift in this one. There are six Avengers and they all feel as if they could be the lead of this movie. Nobody outshines anybody else, and that’s even considering the not-so-super-superheroes such as Black Widow or Hawkeye.
One of my favorite things about The Avengers is how each of the Avengers needs to face off against each other at certain points during the movie, thus proving how evenly matched they are against each other throughout the runtime. By the time the movie gets to the point where they are all fighting, together, against a threat, you know their prowess in battle. This helps for anybody who hasn’t seen ALL of the previous Marvel movies such as Iron Man, Iron Man 2, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, and Captain America: The First Avenger.
I saw this movie with three of my friends, and one of the things that I didn’t notice but was pointed out to me was that The Avengers did not tell us things as an audience; it showed us things. It’s easy to realize when a movie is insulting your intelligence (Christopher Nolan has a habit of explaining exactly what the themes in his movies are), but I have a habit of taking for granted movies that have faith in me to figure things out for myself. I need to make it a point to realize when a movie doesn’t treat me like I can’t understand it without its help. I love it when a movie doesn’t feel the need to hold my hand.
So, The Avengers is not an important movie with big ideas and a big message. It is merely a tightly edited, near-perfectly crafted piece of entertainment. I’m not giving The Avengers my highest score because it’s on par with The Godfather (it’s not), but because at a certain point all movies above a certain tier aren’t worth measuring any higher. There is a lot range of qualities in movies I give with the highest star ratings, because after a movie reaches a certain level of greatness, it isn’t worth it to try rank it any higher. The Avengers is just great. It is a great movie.