To simply say, “Joss Whedon is my master, now,” fails to encapsulate The Avengers, and omits the other people who made this one of those rare films which actually lives up to expectations.

My problems with the film are few, and trivial.  Absent from the Avengers are original members Dr. Henry Pym, “Giant Man / Ant Man.” and his girlfriend, Janet van Dyne, “Wasp.”  Instead, we have Black Widow and Hawkeye.  But, when it comes to saving the world, Ant Man is ridiculous in a way that Jeremy Renner’s portrayal of the guy who brings a bow to a gun fight was believable.  Unlike her part in Iron Man 2, here, Scarlett Johansson demonstrates that she can actually act.  The 3 word version of this review relates to her throwing a leg-lock on the neck of the “luckiest stuntman, ever.”

I always forget how much I adore Captain America.  Chris Evans portrays him flawlessly.  I had my doubts about Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark… four years ago.  I would have preferred Ed Norton’s Bruce Banner to Mark Ruffalo’s, but then I’d probably go to see Ed Norton read from a phone book.  Thor is better in this film than in his own.  Hemsworth is a good choice in both.

I really like Samuel L. Jackson, in almost anything, but I don’t quite “feel” him as SHIELD’s director, Nick Fury.  For me, Nick Fury was still once Sergeant Fury, leader of the Howling Commandos, and the “other” Captain America.  Jackson just doesn’t convey grizzled WW2 veteran turned cold war spy whose life has been so agonizingly prolonged by the super serum that he must now be a politician.  Colbie Smulders (Robin “Sparkles” Scherbatsky in How I Met Your Mother) is not well demonstrated as an action heroine.  But she isn’t really supposed to be.  Maria Hill is a SHIELD agent, so she has a sort of professional directness that comes off a little stiff, but appropriate.

The prolonged action sequence which comprises the third act provides hope that Hollywood has finally remembered why the “steady cam” was invented.  The Avengers manages to buck Hollywood action trends on most of my pet peeves.  In the first scene, Loki shows up to steal the MacGuffin from gun-tottin’ soldiers ready to shoot.  When they do, almost every bullet… HITS!  Amidst the wildly chaotic battles, the cameraman is NOT getting thrashed by an off screen menace flailing the camera about like an epileptic in a strobe lit meth lab.  Everything is on screen, in focus, and well lit.  The actions, not the hyperactivity, thrills the audience.

Is summer over because The Avengers came out?  Give me a break.  The sun’s rays are perpendicular north of the equator, The Dark Knight Rises, and The Amazing Spiderman still have release dates.  Should you let summer go by without seeing The Avengers?  Only, if you’re just waiting two and a half hours to see “Hurt Locker” use a boxing glove arrow.

(Because that’s Green Arrow from DC Comics.)