ATLANTA -- Avengers Assemble! And they did in this fun, funny, action packed sequel that Marvel has had in the making since "Iron Man" debuted in 2008!
Marvel Studios has done something quite unique with "The Avengers...well, in leading up to "The Avengers". They first created a movie for each main character prior to their team up. The prequels include "Iron Man", "Iron Man 2", "The Incredible Hulk", "Thor", and "Captain America". Die hard fans have been treated after the credits of each flick to some cameos and teases that tie into the other movies in the Marvel Universe....all leading up to "The Avengers."
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Joss Whedon helms this film (his first in Marvel Universe) and outdoes himself, but more importantly, he lives up to the fanboys expectations, which speaking out of personal experience, is quite hard to do! Whedon is best known for his television series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and spin-off "Angel" along with the western sci-fi show "Firefly" and movie "Serenity". Whedon has built up quite the following of sci-fi fans and was a fantastic choice by Marvel to lead this film into the nerd-boy history books.
This film has a different feel than all the previous Marvel films. It does have some more comedy than a couple, but doesn't make it over the top (there are some great moments with the Hulk to which the entire audience started clapping and cheering!) Another fear of mine is that one hero would get more screen time than another, but it was very well balanced. I didn't get tired of one hero hogging the screen versus another. The other concern I had was replacing Edward Norton as the hulk with Mark Ruffalo, but I was pleasantly surprised. And Jeremy Renner was a perfect choice for Hawkeye.
So what's the bottom line? Go see this movie. Even if you haven't seen any of the prequels, you can get away with seeing this one and getting it. You will learn more of the backstory if you see the others though. I would prioritize watching "Thor" above any of the others if you get a chance before seeing "The Avengers". I won't see it in 3D when I go see it again, but I will go see it again!