'Avengers' is dulled by a bloated genre

While audiences — as judged by the box office — and some critics were thrilled with Marvel's The Avengers, I found the blockbuster only somewhat entertaining, and maybe that was because we have been bludgeoned repeatedly by loud, boring, take-themselves-too-seriously superhero movies.

Credit writer-director Joss Whedon with injecting some wit into the story, which had been teased over and over in earlier Marvel-inspired movies such as Captain America.

What is The Avengers about? It involves a gathering of superheroes — played by Robert Downey Jr. (Tony Stark/Iron Man), Chris Evans (Steve Rogers/Captain America), Mark Ruffalo (Bruce Banner/The Hulk), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Scarlett Johansson (Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow), and Jeremy Renner (Clint Barton/Hawkeye). Under the leadership of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), they are battling Loki (Tom Hiddleston), a disgraced half-brother of Thor who somehow survived that earlier movie.

Oh, and there are some extraterrestrials on the way to destroy Earth — or at least New York City — for reasons that escaped me even as I was watching the film. Admittedly, I didn't really care. And when stuff started flying around in the Big Apple, I got distracted in trying to remember how many other films had tried to destroy the city.

Occasionally, some of these good actors get to interact in an amusing way, but that quickly takes a backseat to all the mayhem.

Partly because Hiddleston is a terrific actor and partly because he is the one real villain, Loki is the only interesting character in The Avengers. Maybe Marvel should make him a hero.

Marvel's The Avengers retails for $29.99 or $39.99 Blu-ray.