Well, Geeks and Geekettes. After a long, multi-film lead up, Marvels ‘Dream Team’ hits the big screen. And is it worth the wait? ALMOST entirely. Joss Whedon clearly had his work cut out for him when he signed on to direct this dynamic ensemble of well-established superheroes and I’ll be damned if he didn’t succeed. Now, I don’t know the comic book history with regards to the story but really…I don’t care. The movie did exactly what it needed to by keeping my simple ass entertained (and uninsulted) for 2 and a half hours (that I didn’t notice). One of the major factors that ensured said entertainment was the slick character interactions; interactions that were nicely ‘all over the map’ in tone. Robert Downey Jr. NEARLY stole the show with his quipping smartass Tony Stark character; every well-timed line delivery was just amusingly ‘crackling’. Mark Ruffalo brought an interesting, slightly awkward flavor(that worked) to Bruce Banner, especially when he meets his intellectual match in Iron Man. Chris Evans seamlessly rode Captain America straight into this film with a lingering old-fashioned outlook and adherence to military discipline that worked well for the Steve Rogers character arc. The two more ‘human’ special-ops characters, Black Widow and Hawkeye, had a cool history and at times, acted like their own little strike team with a slight tenderness just beneath the surface. Thor was…well…Thor. On the flip side, Tom Hiddleston returned to kick ass in the role of Loki, the psychotically jealous Asgardian demi-god, and he rocked the role right out. He seemed to be having a blast…at times literally! All the necessary ingredients are mixed well and the effort is clearly on the screen. After the credits rolled, I did find myself feeling like the flicks second act, which is nearly ALL crazy action, felt as though it was missing something story-wise. But considering that THAT occured to me AFTER the movie ended…it’s a small complaint. I’d be curious to check out a Directors Cut if one ever becomes available, because with so many cool characters to explore, a little ‘rushing’ had to be expected for a theatrical version. A 3 hour cut would probably and nicely add a bit more ‘flesh’ to them. Also, the music score was underwhelming. There was no real ‘character’ or theme to it. It came across as rather generic and dull. But the sound design was crazy!!! Some kickass effects that just (pleasantly) assaulted the senses…especially when the shit hit the fan! Now some people can say that the climax could’ve been stolen from any of the crappy Transformers flicks…and they’d be nearly right. NEARLY. The one main difference is that Joss Whedon has filmed and cut the action in such a way as to be followable…unlike most ludicrous examples of Michael Bayhem. Whedon does a nice job of not cluttering the entire screen with imperceptible, fast-moving shit which, lo and behold, lends to a far more enjoyable sequence that just happens to be filled with fast-moving shit. Then there’s the 3D. I saw the 3D version and some of the effects were pretty sweet…but, truth be told, I don’t think 2D will do tons to diminish the experience on the big screen. All in all, Marvel Studios will be ‘High 5’ing all the way to the bank with this one and they can do so with a clear conscience. They certainly haven’t ripped the fans off. If you enjoyed Captain America, Thor, Iron Man and The Hulk (either version)…odds are The Avengers will do the trick for ya. Oh, and being a Marvel flick…stick around for the credits. You know what I’m talking about.