The Avengers I thought was fairly solid. The biggest strength and why it succeeds I think, is because it doesn't take itself too seriously. I'm no nerd, far from it (I'm an athlete), but from what I can guess from its source material is that The Avengers should be treated as a kind of fun spin off from its more serious and focused comic book franchises (superman, batman, etc). So it is that wit that is really stringing you along for the 2 1/2 hours and helps to undermine any potentially excruciating dips into profundity that most SRS comic book movies embarrass themselves by doing. Which is why the best parts for me were anything that had to do with Tony Starks (and imo Iron Man being the best out of these movies), where RDJ's star persona helps to keep the entertainment up throughout. Even more daring and all the more successful for it, is the treatment of Loki at the end, which sums up what the film was ultimately getting at tone wise. Love how the bit at the end turns the banality of a one on one good guy/bad guy showdown we see these movies go to time and time again and literally in seconds hulksmashes it to hilarious oblivion. Saying all that though, it still comes with its flaws in doing this. Because of the light treatment here, nothing feels like it's really on the line, it lacks any sort of dramatic push in augmenting any tension in the action scenes. Instead we get the worst aspect of these kinds of films that keeps me away from them, which I like to call S.H.O.S, aka Shit Happening On Screen, where a lot of Starks level dough is spent to make spectacle for the audience, only to feel like runtime filler for me.
I probably wouldn't watch it again cuz I got what I needed and it would seem like a chore to go through it again, but some sequences and banter kept me going the first go around.
And on another note: Scarlett Johansson's ass is sublime
God yes especially with the tight pants clearly revealing the thong underneath. That officer chick also had a real nice ass. Anyway I think you're wrong on the long battle sequence. I think it was so differently shot from the typical action sequences that tension was created despite the fact that you know none of the characters will die.