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'Avengers' full of mayhem

"Marvel's The Avengers" (PG-13): Most teens and lots of tweens will enjoy this witty, raucous ride, which doesn't push PG-13 boundaries much at all. And they can thank their lucky (movie) stars that director (and co-screenwriter) Joss Whedon was the one to get this gig. His long (nearly 2 1/2 hours), eardrum-blowing, property-destroying mash-up based on the Marvel Comic series keeps humor and characterization simmering nicely, amid the 3-D, special effects and mayhem. The dialogue occasionally sounds robotic, but for the most part it sparkles. The intergalactic villain Loki (Tom Hiddleston) invades the secret Earth-protection agency S.H.I.E.L.D. and grabs a renewable energy Cosmic Cube called the Tesseract. He aims to use it to subjugate humankind. Soooooo, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), leader of S.H.I.E.L.D., puts out the call to his superheroes, asking them to set aside their egos and use their brains, muscles and superpowers as a team to defeat Loki and the invading army of aliens he aims to unleash. There's cynical Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.); patriotic Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans); brainy Bruce Banner/The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), who'd rather keep his violent alter ego in check; interplanetary god of thunder Thor (Chris Hemsworth), who feels responsible for unleashing his brother, Loki; superspy/assassin Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson); and high-tech archer extraordinaire Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner). Needless to say, the good guys win in the end.

The mayhem rarely gets graphic. Once or twice we see a character run through with a blade and bleeding. An early scene shows Natasha smacked hard by Russian "interrogators." Later, the villain Loki warns Natasha that he'll kill her "slowly, intimately." The rest of the violence involves arm-bending, neck-cracking, head-banging, body-hurling fights, as well as massive property destruction in car chases and aerial dogfights. The alien spacecraft look like huge, mechanical lizards. Younger audience members may recoil to see Bruce Banner morph into the Incredible Hulk. The exploding arrows shot by Hawkeye aim for eyeballs, but not graphically. There is mild sexual innuendo when Tony Stark/Iron Man and aide Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) flirt.

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"The Pirates! Band of Misfits" (PG): Plenty of kids 10 and older will find the hijinks in "Pirates! Band of Misfits" a hoot, though lots of the jokes and some of the sight gags in this laugh-out-loud British animated comedy will go over their heads. It's a striking mix of stop-motion puppetry, computer animation and 3-D. The cheeky tone and historical references will delight grown-ups but require a lot of explaining, even for some high schoolers. Yet there's little that's inappropriate for 10 and older.Intermediate string overflow

The dialogue includes very mild sexual innuendo: A member of the Pirate Captain's crew, clearly a female disguised as a man, is called The Surprisingly Curvaceous Pirate. A few mild curses such as "hell's barnacles!" are heard.