19 April 2012 4:05 PM, PDT | The Playlist | See recent The Playlist news »

The first scene of " The Avengers" is not very good. Deep in a secret S.H.I.E.L.D. base, scientist Eric Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård) is conducting experiments on The Tesseract, the blue cube that powered the Red Skull's experiments in "Captain America: The First Avenger." Experiments that, unfortunately, bring to earth Loki (Tom Hiddleston), the vengeful brother of Thor (Chris Hemsworth), last seen plummeting from Asgard into oblivion. Loki manages to take down S.H.I.E.L.D's best -- Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) -- with ease, and soon the base is decimated. It's a perfectly acceptable place to start, but there's something off about the execution: it's stilted, awkward and humorless, and the action is pretty uninvolving, with a TV-level of scope.

We're not quite sure what happened, because that opening scene is by some distance the worst thing in the film. »

- Oliver Lyttelton

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