The Avengers ★★★★½

For the longest time, I couldn't care less about The Avengers. It wasn't in my top five most anticipated of the year, and it was likely that I wouldn't even see it until it came out on DVD (I hadn't seen Thor or Captain America either). I didn't even care if it would turn out to be abysmally awful. But something happened in mid-April. I got a bizarre and sudden urge to anticipate it. I'm not sure quite what happened. Thor and Captain America shot straight to the top of my Netflix queue and I watched them as soon as they arrived. To top it off, I even pre-purchased tickets for the Friday Night showing. Friday night came and, despite being uncomfortably crammed in the theater, I walked out absolutely loving it.
The Avengers isn't some artsy film that will offer some deep insight into your existence. It's massive action-packed fun. For two and a half hours, I didn't check the clock once or even ponder when it would be over. It did something I honestly didn't think could be done in it: it made it somehow thrilling.
I don't mean thrilling in the Hollywood sense of "constant exlosions are thrilling" but in the sense that I am interested in what will happen. The other Marvel movies couldn't pull it off. Thor might have been battling the hell out of Loki in his self-titled cinematic entry, but I didn't care at all about it. I knew Thor was going to win and everything was going to be all fine and dandy in the end. I knew this for The Avengers too; I knew that the good guys were going to come out on top, but it was crafted in such a way that it made me care. Say what you will about the character development (people have said mixed things there). Say what you will about how great the dialogue is or anything else. I don't care so much. It's a great cinematic feat when a movie can make me care about the outcome of the story even though I already know what the outcome will be. And that's why The Avengers absolutely rocks.