Honestly I don't have much to say other than it's just really awesome. You don't need to have seen Captain America, Iron Man 1 and 2, The Hulk, or Thor to understand what's going on, but it most certainly does help.
The Avengers is probably one of the most epic movies I have seen since the Lord of the Rings trilogy and Harry Potter. It's up there. It's not perfect, and some moments seem to drag on a bit (mostly around the middle), but every key moment is accentuated properly, every line delivered in such a way that you don't miss out on what's going on, every action scene composed in a way you aren't confused, and overall the whole thing is just a joy to watch.
What's really fun about this movie is that they don't hold back. Ever. Everything you want to see in a movie about the Avengers is pretty much up on this screen. You wanna see Thor and Iron Man duke it out? You got it! You wanna see an army of aliens attacking a city? Got it. You wanna see Tony Stark deliver hilarious banter against foes and friends? Got it. You wanna see the Hulk SMASH? Hulk SMASH!!!!
I don't know if I would recommend it in 3-D. There are most definitely a lot of special effects that are quite well done, but nothing in this movie screams out to be seen in 3-D. Honestly I think that's the best use of 3-D, when it's not in your face and is used more subtly, but it's hard to justify the increase in price. I also wouldn't recommend it on IMAX either, as I think that's just overkill.
If I have any major criticisms about the movie it's the fact that so many big name stars are together in the same film. I know that's kinda the draw of this movie, being able to see them all together, but when the focus of the film isn't on any one specific actor, each big star's role kinda gets diminished a bit. For example, I LOVE seeing Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, and he still steals the show whenever he's on the screen. But his scenes are cut down very short because you gotta make room for the Hulk and Captain America and Thor and the plot for the villains, etc. With so many good actors on the screen no specific one outshines the other and that can be a little bland at times. Oddly enough this movie at times seemed more like it was about Black Widow and Hawkeye than it was about the Avengers...
Still, that is a very very VERY minor complaint. The rest of the film is just flat out balls to the wall insane in a summer blockbuster awesome way. Great fight scenes, great special effects, great superhero characters realized, great threat to fight, great story beats, and just overall... EPIC beyond compare.
The guy who plays The Hulk is decent. I would have preferred to see Edward Norton again, just because they look so different and I liked Norton's take on the character. But you get used to him pretty quickly and his face and body build is actually very similar to The Hulk in some ways so it actually is a nice fit. Don't let that get you down. Also, there is one key death of a character that I was both shocked and saddened by. Not enough to cry over, but I was surprised all the same that it happened given the lineage of the franchise already.
If there's any movie you see this summer in the theater, make sure you don't miss this one. This is, by far, a movie that is worth the experience of seeing it with others. Oh, and stay through the credits. There's a scene right in the middle of the credits which sets up the next big story build up, and at the very end of the credits is a hilarious scene with the main cast. Stick through the credits, you won't be disappointed.
Listening to: Escapist Podcast
Playing: Minecraft: Multiplayer