So, I went to the movies today. It was a toss up between The Avengers and American Reunion, but since I'd never see American Reunion, and since I've been counting down the days to Avengers since I first heard about it, and since I'd already bought tickets online, I went to see The Avengers.
Firstly, while I love the ReadD 3D just for the depth it gives the picture, it was completely unnecessary. It wasn't filmed in 3D, so some scenes still looked a bit flat. It was nice for some of the action, but there's was nothing gimmicky, that I noticed, and I don't think you're missing anything seeing it in 2D.
Secondly, it was great. I wanted to applaud or cheer at the end. There was a lot happening in this movie. There was so much happening that they didn't even have time for any musical training montages. I can't talk about it from the perspective of someone who knows the comics, but as a movie, and as a continuation of the story in the other movies, it works very well. I suspect there was stuff in there for the comics fans, because there were some lines that got reactions out the audience that I didn't understand. It was actually less Whedony than I was expecting (generally, his stuff has more swords), but it still had enough of Him in it. I recommend staying until the very, very end of the credits for a great little scene.
The best parts of the movie were the non-fighting character scenes, when they argued or debated. Those were well written and it was really great seeing these disparate characters playing off each other. There was more in-fighting in the group than I expected, not just bickering but actual brawls. Those fights were fun. During the battle between Ironman and Thor, I couldn't help but think the writing process between Whedon and his co-writer went something like this:
The big action sequences were very good too. At the end, especially, there was some really involved, tense action and some really great shots. I lost track of the number of money shots, but there was a lot.
There are some characters I liked more in this movie than in others. I was ambivalent about the Black Widow in the second Ironman, but you get more of an idea of the character here (I suppose I could get it from the comics, too, but I probably won't). Ironman is his usual, charming self. I thought the Hulk was really well done - and he got some of the funniest bits. Even Thor was more likable in this movie. I still don't know what the deal is with Hawkeye, other than that Jeremy Renner is awesome and Hawkeye is Robin Hood without the robbing (as far as I know). It looks like only Ironman, Captain America, and Thor have more movies planned at the moment, so unless he appears in one of them I guess he'll remain a mystery.
I definitely missed some stuff, so I should really see it again. I will say if you like superheros, action, comedy, good writing, good plotting, special effects, dizzying heights, alien flying fish, Joss Whedon, or broken glass, then you should go see it.