A labor of love on the part of über-geek director Joss Whedon, if not necessarily a labor of art. The genius here shows not in the story (magic geegaw!), nor in the performances (Mark Ruffalo’s embittered Bruce Banner/Hulk excepted), but in Whedon’s ability to juggle six disparate comic-book heroes while gods rage and aliens invade. Not surprisingly, the best bits come in between the raging and the invading when outsized human personalities are allowed to come out and play, nicely or otherwise. With Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson. (2012) — Matthew Lickona
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