So Joss Whedon is going to be directing The Avengers…that should make me happy right? I mean here is creator of two of my favourite shows (Buffy and Firefly) getting the chance to helm a mega-budget blockbuster movie. Not only that, but it’s a comic-book movie, an area Whedon is infinitely familiar with having penned a number of acclaimed stories for iconic characters such as the X-Men and Runaways. The talent alone, Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man, Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, Chris Evan’s Captain America and Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury should assure success at the box-office, but the pressure will be on Whedon to assemble these into a coherent and accessible movie, and despite his obvious ability I’m a little unsure.
Serenity was great, a thoroughly enjoyable sci-fi adventure, that echoed Star Wars without parody or homage, but it was Whedon playing on home-court, with his own material, and even then the box-office disappointed. His most recent work, Dollhouse, was cancelled after two seasons of middling to poor ratings and lukewarm fan reception. Whedon the visionary, Whedon the writer has always overshadowed Whedon the director, and this is a major concern.
That said though JJ Abrams the creator, the writer was bigger than JJ Abrams the director and now he’s amongst the directorial elite after success with Cloverfield and Star Trek. This is the hope that film fans have to have, that a cult favourite can take a mainstream franchise, put his own stamp on it and make it brilliant. The signing of Whedon, rather than someone like The Incredible Hulk and Clash of the Titans director Louis Letterier seems to indicate that Marvel and Paramount are willing to embrace a creator rather than a signed gun, and that’s a major positive.
The pressure is on and Whedon will feel it. Paramount have only 3 movies left in their distribution deal with Marvel and now that the House of Mouse owns the comic-book maker it’s almost certain that all will fall under the Disney flag once that deal is over. Considering that The Avengers is the one movie that will make or break the entire Marvel Universe film franchise you have to applaud Paramount for making the gutsy call.
The Avengers is on course for a May 2012 release, and will definitely be one of the most talked about and anticipated movies of the next two years.