The film starts with the Tesseract, the power source that the Red Skull harnessed in Captain America. Dr. Eric Selvig (Stellan Sarsgard), who appeared in Thor is working with S.H.I.E.L.D to make the cube a source of unlimited power. Out in space Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is shown talking to The Other, an alien creature that is one of the masters of the Chitauri, an alien army in space. Loki is then transported to Earth from the other end of the cube (there's an end on Earth and an end in space). Loki steals the cube, takes Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Dr. Selvig and an assortment of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. Nick Fury (Sam Jackson) and a few other agents escape from the destroyed base and he activates the Avengers initiative. Fury, Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg), and Black Widow (Scarlett Johannson) assemble Captain America (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), and Bruce Banner (scene stealer Mark Ruffalo) and they travel to Germany, where Loki is trying to harness the power of the Tesseract. Loki eventually strikes a bargain with the Other: Tesseract for Chitauri, the alien army that will assist him in the domination of the Earth. Notice that all the pieces are in place except Thor (Chris Hemsworth). Thor kind of magically drops from the sky and onto a big plane.
The team is assembled and they fight and they banter and then fight some more and then banter some more. There are some important things happening but it takes the death of a major S.H.I.E.L.D. agent for the Avengers to really get into gear and realize that they need to save the world. What ensues is awesome, epic, and awe-inspiring.
The Avengers is not a perfect film. I was as excited for it as anyone, but there are still flaws. There is a middle section that lags at times and underused characters. Hawkeye spends half the movie as Loki's assistant and he just shoots arrows from a building for most of the final battle. Thor is really in it to make Loki more interesting, but his awesomeness is just not really shown that much. Otherwise I feel that Whedon and Marvel did a fantastic job. They made Black Widow really interesting and did the right things with Cap and Iron Man. And don't get me started on the Hulk. Marvel has finally gotten the Hulk right. Every scene with him was awesome.
There is literally non-stop action throughout the movie but some of the fights between characters were underwhelming as well. Hulk vs. Thor was lame in some respects, but that was the only bad scene with the Hulk. From the point where Loki throws Tony Stark out of a window, it is an epic action conclusion that is amazing but gives you time to breathe so that you're not overwhelmed with action, unlike some Transformers movies. But there is literally non stop explosions and action.
Whedon has done a fantastic job with the film. In many ways, people are right, it should not have worked and it did so everybody should applaud Whedon and Marvel for making a fantastic film. Note: This is one of the two films I've ever been to where people have clapped during a movie. It was insane and a lot of fun. Stay through the middle of the credits and if you want to see a picture of Avengers eating shawarma stay until the end.
THE FINAL GRADE: A (9.4/10)