Only now does it occur to me... that THE AVENGERS is not in fact a stupendously budgeted CGI extravaganza, but in fact a bizarre safe haven for unexpected character actor cameos.
For example, in this scene apparently involving the "World Security Council" we are entreated to none other than Powers Boothe (SOUTHERN COMFORT, RED DAWN, EXTREME PREJUDICE, TOMBSTONE, U TURN, SIN CITY, DEADWOOD), Jenny Agutter (Roeg's WALKABOUT, LOGAN'S RUN, EQUUS, AMAZON WOMEN ON THE MOON, DARKMAN, CHILD'S PLAY 2), and Donald Li (not pictured– "Eddie Lee" from BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA, MEMOIRS OF AN INVISIBLE MAN, ONE CRAZY SUMMER, SAVED BY THE BELL: HAWAIIAN STYLE).
They're fairly unrecognizable at first glance, but hey– they're still there. And now we can partake in the vague satisfaction that the third highest-grossing film of all time has Powers Boothe in it. It's not an actual satisfaction, just slight validation, like seeing your friend in a commercial or in an ad on the side of a bus. I feel the same way about David Warner being in TITANIC.
Then we come to the major setpiece of the film– no, not the wholesale destruction of New York nor the opening of portals to dimensions out of Norse mythology– I'm talkin' 'bout Harry Dean Stanton, appearing here as an eighty-something security guard who encounters the Incredible Hulk:
Harry Dean Stanton: national treasure and America's primo old man since the 1970s. Needless to say, during this bit of the film, I had an enormous smile on my face.
Anyway, as to the film itself– it's big and dumb and overblown, but I enjoyed it far, far more than I thought I would, and not just because of the character actors.
(Final thought: Thor should have been played by Dolph Lundgren.)