Whedon's credentials, ranging from Buffy to Firefly all in some respect help in shaping this movie. The characterisation that made Buffy famous, the banter among disparate individuals that made Firefly amazing can all be found here.
The Avengers picks off where all those previous movies left off. We are shown how those characters, Tony Stark, Bruce Banner, Steve Rogers et al, have all been getting on with their lives after the events of their respective movies. In other ensemble movies, this is the part where a lot of writers and directors get carried away. In an effort to showcase the lives of the characters, either in a humorous or dramatic light, they take up too much of the screen time to actually do justice to the story at hand. Whedon avoids this pitfall by using dialogue more than anything else. Small visual vignettes are offered to the viewer that manage to succinctly describe whatever activity, say, Tony Stark was involved in when he wasn't encased in metal (he builds a tower, names it after himself).
Most of you by now have probably already seen the trailers and/or heard enough about the movie to know its basic storyline. Loki, villain from Thor, shows up on Earth following his estranged adopted brother. The reason behind his appearance is not simple revenge but the acquisition of a certain glowing cube called The Tesseract. Loki manages to get a hold of it and because this cube is so unnaturally powerful that the Avengers must assemble to stop him before he does all manner of heinous things.
And that is another thing that the movie has; clichés aplenty. We've all seen “oh-no-that-dude-with-the-weird-hair-is-going-to-destroy-the-world-because-he-just-can't-love movies. Every year, at least one big name director tries to come up with a newer, novel way of ending it all.
Thankfully, Whedon, if anything is aware of the clichés he's playing with and he doesn't try to artfully manoeuvre around them by adding layers of rationalisation and sophistry. He takes them, uses them and he uses them well. You have the band of superpowered individuals who can't get along, check; you have the crazy idealistic villain, check; you have the moment that brings them all together, check. They're all there except they don't feel like Legos strewn on the ground with jarring edges waiting to be stepped on.
Whedon makes the pieces fit and Downey Jr and the Hulk keep the funnies coming. Watch this movie if you like things blowing up.
Best Quote: “Dr. Banner, your work is unparalleled. And I'm a huge fan of the way you lose control and turn into an enormous green rage monster.” - Tony Stark
Interesting Fact: Samuel L. Jackson was not allowed to improvise the lines. Robert Downey Jr. was. Go figure.
Similar Movies: Those George Clooney movies about robbing people. Animated Avengers Movies. A Clockwork Orange (ensemble cast, cooperating to do uh… things).