Summer 2011 Movies: The Best, The Worst, & Some Surprises

Published 4 years ago by , Updated September 6th, 2011 at 5:22 pm,

summer 2011 movies Summer 2011 Movies: The Best, The Worst, & Some Surprises

Forget about checking your calendar – when you read that Shark Night 3D is one of the big releases of the weekend, you know the Summer Movie Season is officially coming to an end.

Overall, 2011 was a decent year as far as summer releases go. There were a handful of surprises (and more than a couple of disappointments) but most movies were good enough to ensure that people walked away entertained and with their expectations met – as opposed to, say, protesting in the streets and demanding a ticket refund.

Quibbles about whether Fast Five or Thor truly marked the start of Summer 2011 aside, the season started off with a bang at the box office – and eventually fizzled out in the end. So, here are the big questions: What were the standouts of the summer? And what movies left us unimpressed (to put it mildly)?

Bear in mind: the following is strictly OPINION and based on the collective views of us here at Screen Rant. Which is why, for example, Rise of the Planet of the Apes isn’t our choice for Best Surprise Summer Hit – while a lot of people were skeptical about how that franchise reboot would turn out, we were behind that flick long before it was released. So, the final product being as good as it was came as less a surprise to us.

Feel free to voice your agreement (or disagreement) with any choices in the comments section – and as always, keep it civil. icon wink Summer 2011 Movies: The Best, The Worst, & Some Surprises

If you’re interested in a particular category, here’s the breakdown

We’ll start out with our favorite movie genre here at Screen Rant


Best Comic Book Movie – Captain America: The First Avenger

New Captain America movie clips Summer 2011 Movies: The Best, The Worst, & Some Surprises

This summer, it turned out the best superhero comic book movie was being saved for last.

Thor and X-Men: First Class were both solid, but it was the second Marvel in-house production, Captain America: The First Avenger, that was arguably the overall best pure superhero movie of the season. It was appropriately old-fashioned in design, didn’t have to devote too much effort to setting up The Avengers – heck, it even came up with a clever explanation for why its main character runs around with a bullseye on his shield!

Captain America didn’t boast the enthralling action set pieces that some of its comic book movie peers have offered, but it was a fun blockbuster that featured some great characters, pleased comic book enthusiasts with its similarities to the source material – and, most importantly, made people all the more excited to see Steve Rogers return in both The Avengers and future Captain America solo ventures.

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Most Disappointing Comic Book Movie - Green Lantern

sad ryan reynolds in the green lantern corps Summer 2011 Movies: The Best, The Worst, & Some Surprises

Some two and a half months have passed since this superhero title hit theaters, and fans are still a bit tetchy, to say the least. While the majority of professional critics agree the movie was a mediocre attempt to realize the Green Lantern universe in live-action form, there remains a vocal minority of the fan community who feel that director Martin Campbell’s comic book flick is undeserving of all the flak it’s had to endure.

One thing we can (hopefully) all agree on is that Green Lantern certainly could’ve been better. Case in point: how many people who had never read a Lantern comic book prior to seeing the film honestly walked away afterwards with a solid understanding of how the Green Lantern Corps works? Or didn’t think there were there, at times, some gaping holes in the plot? Or didn’t feel that Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan kind of came off as DC’s answer to Marvel’s Iron Man - but not in a good way?

Perhaps this “I’m a Marvel… and I’m a DC” skit put it best: We all love the Hal Jordan character – now we just want to see him appear in a good movie.

[poll id="163"]



Next up: Best and Most Disappointing Comedies

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  1. Great Job Screenrant!

    I think THOR was the best superheroe movie this year, and I also think The Hangover was hilarious. Oh and Super 8 should be mentioned as a great surprise! Other than that everything is pretty much nailed.


    • I absolutely agree with you.

  2. Oh and I also had alot of fun reading this ;)

  3. I agree with pretty much everything on the list but was disappointed not to see a WORST Summer Blockbuster pick, a big budget studio movie that wasn’t able to live up to it’s hype, such as Conan the Barbarian, Cowboys and Aliens, or (even though it was mentioned already) Green Lantern. These films promised a lot and didn’t deliver, IMO.

  4. First this like the above article and everything else is my opinion…. now that’s out of the way…..

    Captain America much like Thor seemed too much like a introduction movie of a superhero movie instead of a superhero movie. Unlike (and I shudder when I say this) X:FC and even Green Lantern.

    Captain America while good just left too much on the table. It did some stuff to much and other stuff not enough. There are a few gaping holes in it, one of the biggest is the time frame we saw on the screen. There appears to be no way to really have any other Cap adventures in the past. That is what made CA what he is today.

    Thor was and will always seem to me a movie that seemed to be just a place holder to intro the character to the Marvel Movie U.

    X:FC as a superhero movie dealing with a minority group (mutants) made you believe in them and actually feel their plight. Understanding why some of them are the way they are now. While some characters were dropped in without backgrounds it still felt ok. White Queen and the muddling of the Universe aside I think it was the best.

    Now to address the elephant.

    Green Lantern was not as bad as everyone thinks it was. It seems people have jumped on the proverbial bandwagon to bash this. I have heard time and time again why do they spend so much time on explaining the origin, we know the origin, where’s the action, blah blah blah. So when we get a condensed version explaining the rings, powers, OA etc people complain. Pick up a GL origin book. They do not spend 5 issues explaining all of this. Alien crashes Hal gets ring.

    OMG Hal is a cocky test pilot. Yes he was. He is the best at what he does (flies jets), is good looking, has a hidden hurty spot (dad), and is devoid of fear. Hero material? Heck I wouldn’t want the guy watching my goldfish much less a hero. However heroes are made. Do you think Chesley Sullenberger III and his crew knew they were destined to be heroes? No it was a situation they were put in to become heroes.

    Shall we go onto the believability and other things we question as comic book fans, like the costume, mask, battery, villain, ring allowing him to show up in places, etc.? Some of the dialogue aside, and editing (Hal clean shaven, whiskers) the movie was not as bad as people make it out to be.

    I watch a comic book movie as a comic book come to life, not real life imitating a comic book. So if you have read the books and understand GL/Hal you should have seen it was true to the comics, at least as true as all the other comic movies out there…. ;)

    3D movies should not be made unless (like Avatar or Pixar like) it is not ‘real life’. The setup (glasses) is overly annoying for something when you only see the payoff occasionally.

    I can honestly say out of all the other movies on this list I have only watched Panda and Pirates, both because of the kids in my family. Son is a Pirates fan and niece is a Panda fan.

  5. While I know what you said is only your opinion, I would just like to say this:

    The time-frame of Cap: TFA is stretched out over 3-4 years… which means there should be more than enough time to have some new “adventures in the past” (everything Cap did in WW2 wasn’t shown in the film – they left many “holes” to fill in later).

    • – This was meant as a reply to Aknot’s comment. I don’t know why it ended up on it’s own –

    • “the biggest is the time frame we saw on the screen.”

      I know who/what you are quoting. However In viewing the film itself the time that people state is supposed to be covered does not percieved to be covered and if it does it appears in viewing the film that all of his time is spent on or around the battlefield with the Commandos.

      Which appears to leave no time for extra curricular activity outside said battlefield.

      From the time he is Cap, throughout his USO performance, to when Bucky gets capture, to time raiding with the Howling COmmandos, to the final fight with Red Skull appears (during the montage work) all he had time for.

      So unless it (CA 2) will cover the battlefields of Europe it would not seem to fit. Regardless of how long the time frame has been stated it covers.

      I can say it spanned 100 years but unless it was articulated (well) in the fiming and presentation process it wont make sense.

      • Point taken… although, I still think, Feige and the writers wouldn’t have said that “Cap: TFA has a time-frame of 3-4 years with lots of gaps to fill in later” if they didn’t mean it (or prepare for it).

        I do agree, it doesn’t SEEM as if there are many time gaps in the movie (I’ll admit they didn’t write it THAT well), but the writers are currently working on Cap 2 and they said themselves Cap2 will take place in BOTH the past and present…

    • It seems kind of unlikely to me, based on a basic knowledge of WWII history and the events of the film, that the movie took place over the course of 3-4 years.

      First, let’s bookend the timeline of the Second World War in relation to what we saw in the movie. When we first meet the young sickly Steve Rogers, America is already fully engulfed in the war. Since we did not become involved on a large scale until the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December of 1941, and it was established that Steve had been trying to get into the military for several months, we can assume that the movie picks up about midway through 1942. By the time of Cap’s climactic battle with Red Skull, the war with Germany was still going strong, meaning that Steve was likely frozen sometime in 1944. This gives us about two years. Considering the time that Steve spent looking to join the army, in boot camp, and doing USO shows, his time on the battlefield as Captain America was probably pretty limited to what we saw in the movie. There’s probably not a lot of time for another full movie about his adventures in the past.

      This is all just conjecture, though. If I’m missing anything, or if we saw anything in the movie that would invalidate my timeline, please share. I’m always more than happy to be proven wrong.

      • No that seems about right. That is why I was surprised they took the ice dive when they did.

        I was looking forward to Red Skull get away, the War ends (with Caps help against not only Hydra but the Nazis,) Cap is a war hero in EVERYONEs eyes, Red Skull resurfaces after putting together the final touches on his flying freezer.

        Cap stops him (as we saw in the movie) the world looses a war hero.

        What we saw was the public was made aware of Cap in a USO capacity and I dont recall being revealed to the public as a ‘fighting’ hero as all the missions (I THINK I may remember incorrectly) were some what covert.

        • I’d kinda like to see a future Cap movie deal with The Winter Soldier.

  6. Very good write-up, but you guys surprised me…no comments on Super 8.

  7. Favorites of the year: Midnight in Paris, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, X-Men: First Class, Kung Fu Panda 2, and Winnie the Pooh

    Overrated: Bridesmaids and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (the former is this year’s hangover I feel while the latter was way to rushed and it really didn’t do a good job of capturing the tragic scope of everything that was going on)

    Worst I’ve Seen: Thor

    • Well… that your opinion ;) – I’m guessing you haven’t seen GL then?

      • It’s possible he DID and simply preferred GL anyway.

        • Possibly… but I still don’t know why he thought Thor was the worst movie of the year…

          • I’ve seen Green Lantern and I’d still say that Thor was the worst summer movie of this year. They both sucked overall, but Thor sucked more.

    • Haven’t seen Green Lantern yet, I’m not saying Thor is the worst of the year, but i just didn’t like it, like Hallows I thought it was way to rushed and it didn’t do a good job of developing the characters, and
      I was so bored while watching it.

      • Sorry, must have read your comment wrong then, it’s just that you said “Worst I’ve Seen: Thor” – kinda implies that Thor was the worst you’ve seen?
        Trust me, watch GL, then your opinion will most likely change.

      • Surely Hallows doesn’t need to develop the characters as they have already been established from the first film all the way up to the finale?

        • I didn’t mention the character development for Hallows, that was directed for Thor.

          What I meant was that everything was so rushed that whenever someone died it really didn’t feel tragicbecause they then moved on to the next action set piece. And I hated how they didn’t even explain the Hallows in details.

          • @Jose: No offence, but that first comment you posted is REALLY confusing…

            • Which one?

              • The FIRST one (the one that was posted 23 hours ago)
                It had three paragraphs, namely:
                “Favorites of the year…”
                “Worst I’ve seen…”

                Maybe you should take a look at that post again because you said HP7.2 was rushed…

                • Hmmm, I thought I wrote Summer instead of year. And the next ones (Overrated and worst) were supposed to still be about summer.

                  • Huh?
                    It has nothing to do with the words: “summer” or “year”… LOL :D
                    I’m talking about the CONTENT of your post…

                    Doesn’t matter anyways… I’ll just leave it at that.

                    Have a nice day. :)

  8. Am I the only person on the planet who thinks Tranformers 3D had better use of 3D than even Avatar?

  9. Could I suggest that the rating polls be given another catagory. Do not plan on watching, since more than half of the movies I did not see nor planned on seeing at the theater.

  10. I loved Super 8 it gets my vote as best over all summer movie

    • “Super 8″ was indeed an excellent film, but I couldn’t remember if it was actually a summer film or, in fact, came out in the spring.

      • It came out in June, so a Summer film.

      • I liked Super 8 but unfortunately that is about it, for me it felt like it was trying to be several films all in one whilst not excelling in any of them.

        enjoyable, and took me back to my childhood. but for me forgetable

  11. I disagreed with two of the picks: best comic-book and best comedy. While I do agree that the one picked for Best are good films (I did enjoy Cars 2), I don’t think they were the best in their category. Two I’d have picked would have been X-Men: First Class for comic-book (I hated Thor), and Crazy, Stupid, Love for comedy (I will never watch Bridesmaids).

  12. well for me:
    Comic Book: Thor, it was entreating with a little bit of comedy, it could of been better but still very enjoyable and rewatchable film. Captain America i felt was very bland with all the reviews on it i was expecting a lotttt moreeee!!!!! i love comic book movies and felt it could have been so much more. Now Green Lantern really wasn’t all that bad, swell, could have been a lot better but still it was very different for a comic book movie. (I haven’t ever picked up a marvel or dc comic in my life, i just like the movies)
    Comedy: Hangover Part 2, it was the same as the first movie but hey I love that movie, bridesmaids really isn’t a comedy at all…. and just all over disappointment, maybe i wasn’t part of the correct audience to watch it but still didn’t like it much.
    Others: Transformers 3 was fantastic, with the best 3D since Avatar by far. Fast 5 was the best of the franchise and very enjoyable, and xmen first class was really good, i didn’t expect it.
    These are pretty much all the movies I’ve seen this (american summer)

  13. Fast Five deserved some recognition, it was actually better than most people thought, and its story went far beyond the cars this time around.

  14. captain america,xmen first class, and thor should all be embarrassed that they finished behind the 5th movie of fast and furious franchise. i dont see how this writer calls first class a hit when it did not even reach its budget in north america, (must be dating someone in the movie) captain america would have done far better numbers with a better director and a better actor. thor would have done better with hemsworth as donald blake exclusively and then thor being bigger then he was with his helmut on and getting rid of all those plastic shields…..

  15. Best movie I saw this summer I had to watch on DVD at home at that was 13 Assassins. Only “big summer movies” I saw were Thor, X-Men and the Hangover 2 and only because I didn’t have to pay for them. Overall the urgency to rush to the theaters just because it’s the summer time has past for me and I can wait to see these movies at home or not at this point.

    And even though I didn’t see the film the biggest surprise for me is the Smurfs doing respectable domestic box office numbers and insane foreign box office. Just proves there is zero science or logic behind what will do well with people.

  16. Green Lantern was the biggest surprise for me. It was only released in my part of the world a couple of weeks ago. After all the negative reviews and comments, I was really surprised by it. Not a bad flick, but I can see why people might have been dissapointed. But overall worth seeing.

  17. I was most impressed and surprised by the Help. Of the comic book types, XMen delivered where I didn’t expect it to. And I was most disappointed in Captain America. Although enjoyable, it lacked something. I love the Planet of the Apes and I hope it does reboot this franchise.

    • thank you, someone agreeing that captain america really wasn’t all it was made out to be.

      • A lot of people dont believe. ;)

    • The latest Captain America movie would have been more entertaining had the Red Skull been depicted more as a devoted Nazi instead of as a demented mad scientist. Nearly all of Cap’s adversaries during the 1960s were either Nazis or neo-Nazis. The Red Skull prior to 1989 was always presented as an unswerving proponent of Nazi ideology. This movie should have emphasized the role of Hydra as a division of the Nazi war machine. However, I suspect that Marvel’s toy division was afraid that it would receive numerous complaints from parents about Captain America related toys which bear swastika images instead of the far less threatening Hydra emblem.

        • I thought that time spent on his origin and personality was one of the best things of the movie. It gave us a taste of his nature which is one of the most important aspects of the character and helped differentiate Cap as a humble kid compared to Thor as an arrogant prince or Stark as a drunken ego maniac. Yes his abilites are important and should have showed abit more of that but it was nice to have a superhero movie not completely devoted to overdone action sequences. And it did fine in the box office but releasing exactly a week after the last Harry Potter wasnt a good move in my opinion.

          • You’re right about the latest Harry Potter movie–that film is overrated. However, many of the mainstream critics were obviously impressed by its worldwide box office performance. That’s all they care about, it seems. CAPTAIN AMERICA, by comparison, will probably sell a lot of DVDs in this country in spite of its comparative lack of CGI-laden scenes. I suspect, though, the those mainstream movie critics who preferred the Iron Man and Thor movies over CAPTAIN AMERICA probably tend to share the same personality traits which Iron Man and Thor have. As you pointed out, Tony Stark is a rich egomaniac and Thor is an arrogant prince.

            • I never said anything about Harry Potter being overrated, I said it was a bad move releasing it the following week because the die hard Potter fans (myself included) would ensure it stay top of the box office through multiple viewings and therefore giving Cap less of a recognition at the box office. Dont get me wrong, Captain America and Harry Potter were my two most anticipated movies of the year, I grew up with loving both and I saw them multiple times but I knew there was no way Cap would compete with HP.

              Transformers came out on June 29 and Cap came out on July 22, thats almost a month apart which is more than enough time to die the hype down. And you keep saying “in this country”. Cap did pretty well here, up North bro. The Box Office is pretty much the same in both the US and Canada and it did just fine last time I checked

              • I should have put on my glasses when reading messages on my computer screen. I was comparing the overseas box office figures of this summer’s movies, and I noticed how THE SMURFS, the latest Transformers movies, the Harry Potter movie and Disney’s Pirates movie were outperforming the latest comic book based movies. Both THOR and X MEN FIRST CLASS have done better than CAPTAIN AMERICA. And, nearly every big budget movie has done better than GREEN LANTERN.

                It seems that fantasy movies tend to perform rather well in the various European markets when compared to those science fiction movies which are set in outer space. Personally speaking I would have loved to see GREEN LANTERN to do at least one half as well as HARRY POTTER 7B–being a science fiction fan–but that wasn’t the case. However, THE SMURFS is doing great business in Europe probably because the Smurfs are based on a long-running Begian comic strip titles “Les Schtrumpfs”. And Spielberg’s animated Tin Tin movie will probably do very well, too. TinTin is another highly celebrated comic strip that’s a big favorite in Europe.

                • I intended to say that “Les Schtrumpfs” is a long-running BELGIAN comic strip. The American cartoon series THE SMURFS is based on that strip. Perhaps the people at Marvel can capitalize on the success of the THE SMURFS in a future Thor movie. Thor encountered both the short-startures trolls–who resembled oversized wishnik dolls–and their oversized, creepy-looking relatives in the comics during the 1960s.

              • There was no way in which the Captain America movie could compete with the final installment of the Harry Potter movie series. First, the Harry Potter novels are immensely popular throughout the world. By comparison, such Marvel superheroes like Thor and Captain America were at the height of their popularity during the mid to late 1960s. And, those characters were nowhere as popular as DC’s Superman and Batman during those years. And, many film critics criticized both the Thor and Cap movies for being mere prequels of the upcoming Avengers movie. Meanwhile Harry Potter 7A did very well at the box office inspite of the fact that it would be followed up by the final Harry Potter movie.

              • The final installment of the Harry Potter deserves to not only receive an Oscar nomination for the Best Picture category, but that it deserves to win that award, as well. One has to appreciate that movie by watching it at home without having to contend with the audience’s verbal responses–gaggling laughter and screaming. However, the phenomenal success of HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, part B and the opening of the Harry Potter theme parks may deter that movie from garnering the Best Picture Oscar.

              • I must admit that HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS is a fine movie. It ranks up there with the first three Star Wars movies–I’m referring to THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK and RETURN OF THE JEDI of course–and E.T. When I referred to that Harry Potter as a “bad movie” I was thinking of its potential to be nominated as Best Picture by the Oscar people. Those people who seem to determine what movies will win the Oscars for the major categories apparently despise movies belonging to certain genres. Not only does the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences appear to despise fantasy, horror and science movies,but that it tended to frown upon mystery and whodunit movies, as well. After all, Alfred Hitchcock never won an Oscar for Best Director even though he was nominated six times.

          • It’s too bad that CAPTAIN AMERICA was released domestically one week after the last Harry Potter movie, and that CAPTAIN AMERICA’s release was immediately followed by the release of COWBOYS & ALIENS and the Smurf movie. And, those movies were followed by the release of RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES. Talk about competition!

          • CAPTAIN AMERICA probably would have done better in this country had it been released during the Fourth of July weekend instead of during the latter half of July. However, THE DARK KNIGHT managed to perform very well even though it premiered on July 18th. The Captain America movie might have done better had it not been competing with the latest Transformers movie.

  18. The CGI in “GREEN LANTERN” was way too much and the plot needed some thickening up a little, but I have to say that it wasn’t a completely terrible movie ! To put it simply, don’t even bother to see this film if you’re not a fan of Green Lantern on any level !

  19. I did really like the “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” and all the super hero flicks that came out this year. They really satisfied my appetite. However,I’m not really that hard to please. I mean,as long as it’s entertaining and holds my attention. I’m good.

  20. Wow I’ve actually found an article that appears to have been well written and balanced on the internet, I’m shocked but pleasantly suprised!!

  21. hey Aknot try acting nd c how it feels lyk captain aamerica is the boom

  22. You need to change your font color, this article is extremely difficult to read!

  23. i think captain america was the most disappointing and green lantern was the best, i think the reason captain america sucked was because i didnt care about any other character apart from cap cause i knew the whole time totally irrelevant at the end of the film and the scenes where they just cut from battle to battle was stupid, it worked in x men origins wolverine as a passage of time thing, but in captain america it just seemed like they were saying oh by the way he did some other stuff, now back to a pointless love interest.
    but green lantern was epic, the entire world was in (real) danger, his powers were exciting and make it possible for anything to happen, every character was important and interesting, and the history of the green lanterns has a lot of depth.

  24. GREEN LANTERN would have been a more enjoyable movie had Ryan Reynolds been allowed to deliver a serious performance in the dual role of Hal Jordan and Green Lantern. From what I’ve read in the Green Lantern comics which were published during the early 1960s Paul Newman was the main source of inspiration for Hal Jordan and his alternate identity. Paul Newman usually starred in dramas during the late 1950s and early 1960s. Personally speaking, Green Lantern should have been played by the kind of actors who starred in the science fiction movies which were made throughout the 1950s. I’m referring to such actors as Rod Taylor, Hugh Marlowe, Peter Graves, John Agar, Kenneth Tobey, Jeff Morrow and Richard Carlson. Those guys were never confused with the likes of Marlon Brando or Richard Burton but they could provide decent performance in the roles of stoic,resourceful hero types.

  25. Thor was not only the best 2011 superhero movie but it was the best Marvel flick- I rate it higher than Iron Man. Action was solid, effects and look of film was exceptional, humour was on the money and cast was well chosen.

    Cap was up there too. And I think Green Lantern was great viewing as well. Not sure why people pan this latter movie but many mobviegoers have ridiculous expectations.

    • It seems to me that a lot of people–particularly movie critics–wanted to see Green Lantern as he was portrayed in the comics which were published during the 1960. Green Lantern’s stories from that decade tended to be plot-driven instead of character driven. And, Green Lantern was a stoic, iconic, no-nonsense character.

  26. Captain America was an OK movie except I remember the Capt was never running around without his mask on when in action
    heck in this movie he was more out of costume than in, and the Green Lantern again this guy is acting like a fool impressing his friends, not like in the comics that I remember him ever doing, but there is room for improvement as these guys were the best super heroes so far.

    • The Captain America movie featured an altered version of Cap’s origin where it was commonly known that Steve Rogers was Captain America. In addition his sidekick Bucky Barnes became a contemporary who didn’t have to wear a mask and costume. It seems that the fans regard these alterations as being A-OK as long as they are made by the folks at Marvel Studios and not by the people at 20th Century Fox.

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  28. The Thor I saw in the trailers just didn’t do anything for me, though they were good trailers. It didn’t seem to be the comic-book Thor I grew up with, and I probably wouldn’t have watched the movie if not for seeing the clip at IMDb with Agent Coulson and the Destroyer. Now I see what the problem was: Some movies are just too good and too huge to fit comfortably into a trailer format.

    This is a great movie, from start to finish. Yes, Chris Hemsworth is perfect as Thor. I really got caught up in the human drama, too – the interaction between the mortals, and especially the whole family problems among Odin’s family. Loki was terrific. This all bodes well for “The Avengers.” I’m really looking forward to that now.

    Oh, and this: Best. Ending. Credits. Ever.