I’ll try to write a longer review of this over on the main site, because it deserves it, but the short and quick version is: it’s very good. You should see it, and be sure to see it in 3D.
For years I’ve been lamenting that no one has really taken advantage of the possibilities of CGI to do anything truly trippy or simply just beautiful, and this film is among the first to really go with the possibilities all those gigabytes make possible. The effects are truly trippy and really do show you something you haven’t seen before. The film is also the first I know to really use 3D to deliver crucial information and show distances as they are important to the action. Every big CGI sequence is different, and mostly stunning. The big fight in Manhattan is truly insane and magnificent. So I’m behind it all the way!
Unfortunately, almost all they’re doing is having the same old boring fights, and all this creativity is simply put into the service of finding new ways to fight. The criticism that the film follows the Marvel formula too closely is… true and not, but the formula does really stand out against, and compare poorly to, the fantastical elements the movie brings. Although I definitely appreciate that the climax is something different and not just kicking someone’s ass or blowing something up.
The movie also benefits from having actors that can bring a lot of extra features to their characters, and the script is able to give their relationships and scenes meat in a way not usually associated with a Marvel picture. Tilda Swinton is absolutely terrific. She is able to convey a spiritual otherworldliness, and I loved how during her big fight at the end, her expression just went completely serene and somewhere far away. Everyone else is quite good, especially Cumberbatch, who finally is able to make his arrogance charming [when I watch Sherlock I just want something bad to happen to him].
So that’s the basics. Go see it.