There are so many ways a grand conglomeration of super heroes could turn into a car wreck (case in point: The Fantastic Four), that we should be grateful when a film manages just to clear that bar. Fortunately, and quite happily, The Avengers not only manages that base-line feat, but goes far beyond it, becoming a rare example of a top-notch comic book movie. Granted, the team-up of Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), and The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), aided and abetted by Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), doesn't boast much more than a bare-essentials plot -- demigod Loki (Tom Hiddleston) wants to take over the Earth 'cuz... well, just 'cuz -- but under the direction of Joss Whedon, the proceedings offer enough kick-ass action and delicious character moments that plot barely matters.
Come join Cinefantastique Online's Steve Biodrowski, Lawrence French and Dan Persons as they break down the first official blockbuster of summer 2012 to find out what makes it pop and where it fizzles. Also: What's coming to theaters.
Click the player button to hear the show, or the title to download.
HuffPost Entertainment is your one-stop shop for celebrity news, hilarious late-night bits, industry and awards coverage and more — sent right to your inbox six days a week. Learn more