— by Jeff Schultz

I write this from the standpoint of someone who is not a fan of superhero movies, seldom goes to see them, and is mostly clueless about the Marvel cosmology. That said, I made it all the way through without my butt itching too much. The effects are well done, if over-hyped and just a marginal step up from INCEPTION and THE DARK KNIGHT RISES. Cumberbatch is all right, I guess, although his “journey” seems a rather short distance from smug asshole to enlightened asshole. He and Rachel McAdams have almost all of the lighter moments (and when they come along, you’re grateful). Tilda Swinton does her best with the stuffy “All-Knowing One” character. And pretty much anyone could have taken Chiwetel Ejiofor’s part. There are two separate “after scenes” during the credits, one with Chris Hemsworth teasing the next installment, which brings in Thor — and another furthering the transformation of Ejiofor into someone very different from how he started out. With an $80 million domestic opening, the franchise is up and running.

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