Marvel Studios not swinging your hammer lately? Worried 2012’s The Avengers might miss its target? Well, with Joss Whedon helming and penning this project, here are some reasons to get pumped, like Giant-Green-Hulk-Pumped, for next summer’s Heroic ensemble.
But how did it get here?
Marvel has intentionally made the winding road to next year’s Avenger’s a long and lucrative one. While other Marvel ensembles were happy to drop us into the thick of an ensemble cast (Fantastic Four, X-Men), Earth’s Mightiest Heroes were content to gradually assemble over the course of many years.
Ignoring Ang Lee’s inexplicably despised Hulk (2003), Marvel’s big Avengers push began in 2008 with Jon Favreau’s Iron Man. Since then we’ve had 5 feature length films to acclimatize us to the particulars of this colourful gathering of Meta-human Ass-kickers.
Sadly, not one of them has exactly knocked our socks off.
Iron Man (2008) Fine
The Incredible Hulk (2008) Woeful
Iron Man 2 (2010) Less than fine
Thor (2011) Alright, but hardly Divine
Captain America (2011) Decent, but hardly Super
Don’t get me wrong. These films no doubt made a ton of money for Marvel, and are watchable and entertaining for the most part. But they have yet to evoke the same sense of excitement, wonder and “Holy Shit! They Just dropped a tank on the Hulk!*” you’d get reading something like Mark Millar’s The Ultimates.
*Yes, that is an emotion. I checked.
But perhaps, Joss Whedon is just the man to do it.
(Not literally drop a tank on the hulk, mind. But that’s not a bad idea!)
There are numerous reasons Whedon’s involvement should excite you. But in the interest of space, here’s a few of the best.
HE’S NO STRANGER TO MARVEL COMICS
In fact he’s the author of one of the best series of the past decade. Beginning his 24 issue arc in 2004, Astonishing X-Men went on to pick up a number of Eisner Awards including Best Serialized Story and Best Writer. Brimming with Whedon’s usual brand of wit, quips and mannerisms, Astonishing X-Men, like all good comics, effortlessly made characters as inhuman as Beast and Wolverine seem relatable and compelling.
So, if Whedon can paint a pretty picture with Marvel’s B-Team, what’s to stop him striking gold with their Flagship squad?
Have you seen Buffy?! Well if not, don’t start now, it’s dated a bit. But during the late 90’s it was the epitome of clever writing, hip storytelling and well delivered lines.
There’re also very good reasons why Firefly enjoys its cult status. Yes, one of them is Nathan Fillion, and another is Adam Baldwin. But chief among them would be Whedon’s ability to inject whimsy into even the most serious, most grave of scenes without actually sundering the moment’s power.
And let’s be honest: If the Avengers are being called in, chances are it’s for some heavy shit. Undoubtedly some humour to lighten proceedings would be well received.
HE GETS THE BEST FROM HIS CAST
Throughout its five year run, the cast of Angel noticeably upped their game. In fact in terms of conviction, emotion and timing, by the final season there wasn’t a limp character in the show. So, naturally, it got cancelled.
But with the Avengers, Whedon has talent like Jeremy Renner Chris Evans and Robert Downey Junior to play with!
Some randomer called Scarlett Johansson is in there too...
With an ensemble cast, characters can easily be forgotten (We miss you Cyclops in X-Men 2) or balanced so carefully no-one in particular shines (Expendables, we’re looking at you!)
No doubt it will be interesting to see how well billionaire playboy Tony Stark and the Norse God of Thunder take orders from a star spangled Captain whose been frozen for 70 years. And, admit it, you’re dying to see how well the Hulk plays with others. Presumably not very. And with this many characters all vying for the limelight, many are concerned The Avengers will turn out a disorganised mess.
But, don’t forget, the script came from Whedon’s own pen. That’s enough for an awful lot. Is it enough for you?
HE DOES GREAT ACTION
Whedon surprised fresh audiences and long term fans back in 2005 with Serenity. And not just by the number of protagonists he cuts down, but by the quality of the action on display.
Hiring stunt and fight guru’s 87Eleven to choreography the action, Serenity was littered with kinetic fights and stunts unmarred by the shaky shooting and quick editing which plague modern action. In fact, the variety of stunts and sequences on display would work brilliantly up-scaled for superhuman combatants who chuck about hammers, shields and in the case of Hulk, large tanks during the course of a tussle.
One of the major selling points of the comic book medium is it’s penchant for knocking people through buildings and other examples of over the top action. And while Marvel Studios has been stingy with such sequences to date, there is a good chance that The Avengers might just buck this trend. Especially if 87eleven are involved.
So… Are you excited yet?