Marvel Studios unveils its costliest special-effects demo to date; somewhere beneath the nonstop digital explosions lies a story about superheroes fighting an evil demigod from space. Every now and then, director Joss Whedon (Serenity) executes a quirky camera set-up to assert that the film was created by him and not a team of marketing executives. Of the star-studded cast, only Mark Ruffalo (playing Bruce Banner) and Robert Downey Jr. (as Iron Man) bring any personality to the place-holder dialogue. Overlong, monotonous, violent, and simple-minded, this is like one of those “World’s Biggest Gang Bang” videos, except that no one onscreen appears to be enjoying himself. With Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, and Jeremy Renner.
PG-13 • 2 hours 23 min • 2012