The Avengers

The Avengers ★★★

Help, I’m trapped inside the super-hero industrial complex. My kids are getting bigger and I’m having to rewatch these miserable sideshows with them over and over. 

To be fair, “Avengers” earns its reputation for being more cohesive than most of the other dreck. The script is working really hard to establish this boatload of characters and their relationships with each other, and I have to admit it’s done with a certain amount of finesse. But the more I watch this movie the more the seams show, and the character bits tend to fall apart or seem more off-base than they did way back in 2012. Some of the speechifying is actually pretty creaky: justifying the “Avengers” name; Black Widow’s harping on “red on my ledger”; Cap vs. Loki in Germany. It’s kind of a miracle that it all works as well as it does.