“Marvel’s cinematic master plan for its comicbook all-stars pays off in extravagant fashion with The Avengers. Like a superior, state-of-the-art model built from reconstituted parts, Joss Whedon‘s buoyant, witty and robustly entertaining superhero smash-up is escapism of a sophisticated order, boasting a tonal assurance and rich reserves of humor that offset the potentially lumbering and unavoidably formulaic aspects of this 143-minute team-origin story.” — from Justin Chang’s Variety review, posted this evening at 9 pm.