Directed by: Joss Whedon. So I think Captain America’s superpower is actually just pure ideology. And Iron Man’s superpower is the ability to play AC/DC songs while he flies around. Black Widow’s superpower is shooting a gun and looking like Scarlett Johannsen. Hawkeye’s superpower is to keep firing arrows the whole movie while somehow never running out of arrows. Hulk’s superpower is to have the good fortune to spend most of the movie as Mark Ruffalo. Thor’s superpower is…ahh you get it. It’s really no wonder that basically everyone hailed this as “the best superhero movie ever” and the other major superhero movie of the year, The Dark Knight Rises, seemed like a disappointing, meandering flop in comparison. Batman might have been a bit incoherent in all its ideas, but that might be because it was trying to juggle a bunch of ideas that weren’t really compatible. This movie, on the other hand, avoids that whole minefield by just showing us a bunch of muscle-bound fisticuffs with a huge CGI budget. Honestly, once they got all the elements in place, they could do no wrong. Big hero, smash, big hero, speech, big hero, smash, save the day, start marketing the sequel—it’s a license to print money. All skepticism aside, this is a pretty decent superhero movie (whatever the criteria for that is). Among other things, it let me finally appreciate what Robert Downey Jr did for the Iron Man character, it let me finally warm up to the Hulk as a likable character, and it provided another vehicle for Samuel L. Jackson to be a badass. Why not? I won’t go into the Superhero Movies Aren’t As Intelligent and Artful as Other Movies argument—not because I don’t necessarily agree with that to some extent, but because it’s pretty unnecessary, and kind of hypocritical of me. I took the bait, I watched it, I enjoyed it. I spent a good two or so of my teen years with the Avengers comics, so there was no way I wasn’t going to see this. And I guess, push come to shove, the fanboy inside of me is pretty happy that this crossover franchise exists.