3 May 2012 12:59 PM, PDT | The Playlist | See recent The Playlist news »

For all the many strengths of "The Avengers," there's one important element that writer-director Joss Whedon can't take credit for: the casting. Of the main characters, only one, Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/The Hulk, hasn't appeared in one of the previous five Marvel movies that have led to this point. So given the casting committee that assembled The Avengers, it's something of a miracle that it's ended up with one of the most enjoyable collections of actors in a big tentpole movie for quite some time.

Of course, for the most part, it's to be expected: while there are a few newcomers in the mix, the principle cast have close to a century of experience in the movies between them, and countless great performances in their back catalogs. With "The Avengers" finally hitting U.S. theaters tomorrow, we've picked out the greatest performance of each of the seven members »

- Oliver Lyttelton

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