The Avengers (2012, Joss Whedon)

Almost as good as the other Joss Whedon movie I watched this month. The action scenes are fun, but the movie gets too loud and ‘splosioney at times. Better is the comic bickering between Thor, Iron Man, Sam Jackson, Captain America, Black Widow and Loki. But best of all is watching Hulk smash. For all the perceived failure of the last two Hulk movies, he seems like an excellent character and it is undeniably fun to watch him smash.

Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye isn’t listed amongst the banterers above because he spends most of the movie as a villain under Loki’s spell, as does a mostly-offscreen Stellan Skarsgard (whose friend Natalie Portman gets quickly explained out of the movie). The extraterrestrial villain who puts Loki up to his mischief doesn’t matter, nor does the additional post-credits sequel-setup extraterrestrial villain. Essential Killing director Jerzy Skolimowski appears as the evil Russian whose ass Black Widow kicks at the beginning. And everyone is sad that Nick Fury’s bland MIB assistant Coulson gets (potentially) killed, but there’s a pretty girl MIB to take his place.