Non-spoilery Avengers thoughts. First thought: Woo hoo!
Non-spoilery! I can do this!
Very fun. Very satisfying. Very funny, often at unexpected times in unexpected ways, so yes, Joss Whedon can still happily surprise me *. That he made this work with his occasionally oddball touch while still making his Marvel Studios bosses happy -- they dictated the film's villian, its MacGuffin **, several of the story beats, and the need for the superheroes who'd later comprise the Avengers to not get along at first and fight, fight, fight -- is honestly impressive, and pays off really well.
I wish the film had had less of the heroes fighting each other, but again, studio mandate. I honestly liked the arguing better: the kind of fighting done with words and opinions! Plus respect, which our heroes have for each other. (Reminds me: why haven't I read more of Peter David's superhero comics work? He's tried to avoid the "just have super-powered people beat the crap out of each other" rut.) And the team becoming a true team in time for the finale? THAT'S joyous. Based on how much I grinned during the final battle, "joyous" is the right word.
The film happily avoids the over-stylized look of its comic-book-on-film world, one of the ruts the '80s and '90s Batman films fell into. But dammit, having the world of The Avengers look mostly like my world makes it more painful to know we don't really have a helicarrier!
I mean, come ON. Would this not be AWESOME?!
It has a fun, hammering, thundering score by Alan Silvestri -- like if his Judge Dredd music were for a GOOD film. By the way, it sounded like a bit of Howard Shore's Lord of the Rings music was used as temp track for the villainous demigod Loki being mean to Germans. Like the Lothlorian elves went evil.
Cobie Smulders. Now I get it. (Sorry, not a How I Met Your Mother watcher. Yet.)
* I may have seen some of Whedon's Roseanne episodes, but 1994's Speed, which he rewrote (uncredited), was when I'm sure I was first exposed to him. I even wanted to write a science fiction story called "Hole in the World" because of the film, and because I liked that phrase. It's probably good I didn't, as Whedon later used that title for maybe the toughest-to-watch Angel ever. My first Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode was a repeat of the Season 4 finale "Restless" in 2000.
** Linking to a TV Tropes page is a sign that yes, I may possibly be evil. *grins*