As is often said by us Whedonites, “In Joss We Trust”, but his current project, The Avengers, is bigger in scope and star power than most of his previous efforts. Any man who can wrangle the egos and accompanying frustrations of a cast that includes Robert Downey Jr., Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo AND Cobie Smulders (who is amazingly hot) already has my respect, admiration and sympathy.
Being able to take that group, and a script he has written himself, and put together a story that is still character-driven in that Whedonesque fashion that we love so much, while at the same time providing enough action and broad appeal for non-Joss aficionados (admit it, you know some) is going to be challenging. Let’s face it, fans. Some of us are basically Whedon hipsters, reveling in our obscure inside jokes and references, slapping our Browncoat stickers on our cars and then acting all aloof when our friends or family don’t get it. I know I set a goal for myself every day of making at least three references to Dr. Horrible and then rolling my eyes when my co-workers don’t get it.
I fear that “Totally Awesome Joss” might be forced to transmogrify into “Mass Appeal Joss” in order to meet the demands of the studios, the producers, etc, and grudgingly leave some of “us” behind. I say grudgingly because you just KNOW he would never dump us as fans, right?
I don’t mean to suggest that this is Whedon’s first brush with blockbuster fame. After all, Toy Story was no slouch at the box office or in the eyes of critics, and even Firefly & Serenity, Dollhouse and Buffy & Angel enjoyed a fair amount of critical praise if not outright financial success.
Another concern I have is for continuity. And I don’t mean continuity from the original comics, because I accept that no cinematic adaptation of a comics will stay true to the canon, but rather the continuity across so many Marvel films. Trying to bring together the characters and plot lines from so many movies is going to be no small task, and not having created this particular ‘verse (The Whedovengaverse?) will mean accommodating the visions of multiple directors, producers and screenwriters into a single coherent piece of entertainment. For the record, Jon Favreau rocks and if you have to work with the old director, it might as well be someone as great as him.
The costume designs which have been leaked or are purported to be from the movie look great. Scarlett Johansson and Cobie Smulders in leather catsuits? Yes, please! Hulk is to become hairier and mysteriously look less like Ed Norton, Captain America is going to get modernized, with part of the story devoted to his being “out of his time”, and I have even seen rumors of Iron Man debuting the Hulkbuster armor.
So what do you think, fellow shameless fanboys and girls? Is this the greatest coup ever for the biggest ever superhero flick to land Whedon or is it a sign that he is moving on from the franchises that we hold dear? Has Captain America supplanted Captain Reynolds in the heart of Joss?