Genetically, The Avengers is just like every other brightly colored comic book film. The plot requires that these exceptional specimens save the rest of mankind, and we expect that they will succeed in their quest and send us on our merry way. The Avengers is not Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight saga. It has no real interest in true crime, gritty noir, or seeking out existential baggage in its wreckage. It is merely here for your entertainment, and it is a vivid, shiny chrome piece of pop art. What the film primarily succeeds in is an act of gratification: it gives us what we want as an audience and it gives it in the right doses. Somewhere in Disney/Marvel headquarters there must be a secret algorithm determining exactly how much we want to see of Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) vs. Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) vs. Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) vs. Thor (Chris Hemsworth), because the math is pretty dead-on. Each of the characters gets their moment to shine, no one is useless, and the successful, really quite funny, quips have been dispersed fairly between the smart-mouthed titans. [Quick sidenote: Nick Fury's dialogue is totally the worst, guys. I'm convinced that next time Tarantino should be brought in to rewrite Sam Jackson's lines]
While the film certainly isn't perfect, and Whedon's much-praised pop-snark dialogue only really hits its mark 50% of the time, it is a massively entertaining nerdgasm that can be appreciated by superfans and casual observers alike. The Avengers is a pure popcorn movie to be cherished for its absolute irreverence. There's real humor to be found here, real action, and -at long last- a version of the Hulk I think everyone should be able to agree steals every scene he's in. Ruffalo's take on the character finally gives him heart without shirking the undeniable entertainment value that comes with super-smash powers. Oh, and as for that quiz? Why yes, apparently I am Iron Man.