As I write this it’s just been revealed that Marvel’s THE AVENGERS has a set a new opening weekend box office record by a wiiiiiide margin. $200.3 million. Take that in. Not only is an Avengers movie actually real, it’s hit the zeitgeist.

Well I guess so! The movie plays like gangbusters with an audience. I don’t know when the last time was that I was in a theater where the audience responded so audibly and INVOLUNTARILY to what was happening on screen. Writer/Director Joss Whedon is a man who knows how to weave and twist a scene to both play into and subvert our expectations to great effect. In other words, he knows storytelling. There are moments in THE AVENGERS that demand reaction, and more often than not my reaction was joy.

I’m not going to spoil a single great moment for those of you that haven’t seen the movie yet, but when you see them, you’ll know. Sometimes it’s an action beat, sometimes it’s a line of dialogue. It’s always brilliant.

Good thing too because this is by no means a perfect movie. I still don’t fully understand villain Loki’s motivation and plan. The movie has no second act. A couple of characters–Hawkeye and Maria Hill–are pretty much non-entities. Nothing about the aliens that populate the film is distinct or driven by character.

But, incredibly, none of that matters. Of course, not one of the movies that preceded THE AVENGERS were perfect either: Iron Man, Iron Man II, The Incredible Hulk, Thor and Captain America. But none of those movies sucked. And now, pretty much all of them have been surpassed by THE AVENGERS. (I hold a soft spot in my heart for Thor.)

Everyone at the marathon got a souvenir cup with topper. My wife and I managed to get a full set!

I should say that this is not my final word on this movie. I saw it at the end of a 14 hour Marvel Movie Marathon at my local theater. Let me tell you, it is possible to become numb to watching guys hit each other. I was bleary-eyed (but amped) as I watched THE AVENGERS. I think a revisit is in order and I won’t have final thoughts about the quality of the film until then.

I’m keeping this short because you already know you want to see this (and if you don’t then enjoy not grinning like an idiot) and I don’t want to ruin it. Stop reading now if you haven’t gotten out to the multiplex yet.

But, for those of us that have seen it, I’m declaring the comments on this post a SPOILER ZONE. Let’s share our favorite moments and get our geek on and talk about that mid-credits sequence and what it could mean!