Impossibly high expectations, assemble! The moment that Marvel fans far and wide have been waiting years for has arrived at last: "The Avengers," directed by Joss Whedon and featuring a star-studded cast including Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans, has finally landed in theaters nationwide.

Anyone worried that Marvel couldn't live up to its own hype with "Avengers" need only look at the reviews to see that Earth's Mightiest Heroes have indeed performed to the best of their ability. Not only is "Avengers" an international box-office success and a soon-to-be domestic hit, the film is also adored by critics, geeks and moviegoers of all other assorted shapes and sizes.

Keep reading for a selection of the glowing "Avengers" reviews!

The Man Behind The Curtain
"As screenwriter, sharer of story credit with Zak Penn and director, Whedon is the key reason why this $220-million behemoth of a movie is smartly thought out and executed with verve and precision. It may be overly long at two hours, 23 minutes, but so much is going on you might not even notice. Whedon's biggest success, creating TV's 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer,' was nowhere near this scale. But he is a third-generation television writer who was nominated for an Oscar for co-writing 'Toy Story,' and he's got an innate gift for bringing stories like this to life with the energy and intelligence that should be popular entertainment's birthright but rarely is." — Kenneth Turan, The Los Angeles Times

Earth's Mightiest Heroes
"Downey's Tony Stark remains driven by ego and genius, always on the verge of overreaching, while Hemsworth continues to navigate between two worlds. As a man out of time, unsure of how he fits into the modern world, or if he even wants to, Evans shoulders even more of the drama, becoming the heart of a film that's filled with heroics, but also, if sometimes too fleetingly, concerned with the meaning of heroism. Fitting right in: Ruffalo's laidback Banner, a characterization with echoes of the easy-living California dude he played in 'The Kids Are All Right,' Johansson's haunted superspy, and Renner, whose steely intensity alone makes it easy to forget the unlikelihood of an archer, no matter how good, being able to hold his own among superhumans." — Keith Phipps, The A.V. Club

The Laugh Factor
" 'The Avengers' may be one of the funniest movies of the year. Whereas 'Iron Man 2' was overdose, having other leads to dilute Downey Jr.'s manic mouth helps Tony Stark finally land his punchlines. Evans is another standout, his fish-out-of-water predicament lending itself to comedy that clicks ('I got that reference,' Captain Steve Rogers timidly points out). But Hulk takes the cake, Whedon mining the towering green monster for all-out destruction and physical comedy. When Hulk smashes, he smashes big and Whedon's clever timing is reminiscent of old Warner Bros. cartoons." — Matt Patches, Hollywood.com

The Big Fight
"Much of this battle takes place in midtown Manhattan, where the neatest sequences involve Loki's ginormous slithering, undulating snake-lizard-dragon machine, which seems almost to have a mind of its own and is backed up by countless snakelings. At one point, an Avenger flies into the mouth of this leviathan and penetrates its entire length, emerging at the business end. You won't see that in 'The Human Centipede.' " — Roger Ebert, The Chicago Sun-Times

The Final Word
"It's essentially six movies in one, which might account for the nearly 2 1/2 hour length. While it's slow getting started, 'The Avengers' is a splashy superhero mash-up that should please breathless fanboys. It also has a broader appeal for mass audiences with its fast-paced comic banter and exhilarating action sequences under the capable helm of director/co-writer/unabashed fan Joss Whedon. Whedon weaves a story that allows each of the heroes to do what they do best. And while they may not have exactly equal time, audiences get enough of each to feel satisfied, but not sated. Clever work, indeed." — Claudia Puig, USA Today

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