By Whedon’s Beard

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By Whedon’s Beard

PLee and I had a bit of an e-mail discussion recently about Joss Whedon directing the Avengers. My thoughts are posted here for dissection. There are Buffy/Angel/Firefly/Dr. Horrible spoilers below so beware if you haven’t completed those series.

I honestly have mixed feelings about Joss directing The Avengers. The pros are that he can do team dynamics very well and is a very capable director, even under limited circumstances (TV budgets, lower than normal budget for Serenity, no-budget Dr. Horrible). He’s got a nice run of X-Men comics on his writing resume, so he’s familiar with Marvel and has a seemingly good relationship with them.

The cons…after watching his work for years, I’ve noticed some annoying trends that creep up in his work repeatedly. A couple examples: He seems to hate happy relationships. No couple in Buffy or Angel stay together in the end and Serenity ends with a happy relationship beginning, but had the series continued, Simon and Kaylee would likely have not stayed together. He also plays the “kill a major character to shock the audience” card too much. As much as I hated it, I’ve accepted that killing Wash was the right move for Serenity. But it loses its potency after he had played that trick so many times before. Not only that, the climax of Dr. Horrible hinges on both of these Whedon tricks (death of Penny).

Yes, Zoe and Wash were an awesome married couple with interesting dynamics and plot lines. And then Wash was killed. Goodbye relationship.

That’s how half the relationships went in Buffy and Angel. They were either your standard we can’t be together sort of thing (Buffy and Angel) or these two are happy so one must die (Willow and Tara). At the end of both shows, no relationship was left intact. And that’s fine a time or two, but I’m just saying that it’s becoming easier for me to telegraph where Whedon is going with his writing because he’s revisiting his tricks too often.

All that said, I feel like Joss is the kind of guy who should be creating his own thing rather than playing with other people’s toys. But maybe this will be good for him and he can use The Avengers to do a Nolanesque move and bounce between a franchise (like Nolan is doing with Batman) and original Joss material (like Nolan is doing with The Prestige or Inception).

By | 2017-03-17T00:59:46+00:00 July 30th, 2010|Categories: Article|Tags: , , , , , |4 Comments

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  1. CT February 25, 2017 at 8:21 pm - Reply

    Quite frankly, I like the first season. It sets the tone for the series and lays the groundwork for some pretty cool stuff down the road that gets referenced later (sometimes subtly, sometimes not). It's not a strong start like Firefly, but the characters and chemistry are all there from the beginning.

    That said, it isn't until season 2 when it really takes off. There's definitely some great stuff throughout that series. I almost envy you never having watched it. Would be fun to watch it again for the first time.

    Let me know how it goes. If you make it to Buffy 4, I'd recommend watching Angel 1 concurrently with that if you can swing that. There are crossovers and such…you know, those things we always wished that NextGen/DS9 would have done more of.

  2. Jeeg February 25, 2017 at 8:21 pm - Reply

    I found Titan AE disappointing, but that was probably due to my own expectations. I completely agree with you on the soundtrack, CT. Of course, I think Lit rules so I'm going to be biased.

    I'm pretty sure I will enjoy the heck out of Buffy and Angel, but I had to sell the missus on the idea of going through the DVDs. I got a lukewarm agreement within in the last few weeks and it's just a matter of choosing a start date for Buffy Season 1.

    Refresh me on your thoughts on season 1, CT. From the Atomic Geeks and others I've that season 1 is so-so and that has me cautious. I want to make sure we start when we have enough time on our schedule to just rip through the episodes where the show is finding its footing.

  3. CT February 25, 2017 at 8:21 pm - Reply

    Titan AE wasn't awful. I liked its soundtrack. I wouldn't peg it, Alien Resurrection, or even Toy Story as "Whedon projects." He disowns a lot of his pre-Buffy TV series stuff now. Even the best of his pre-Buffy work, Toy Story, had so many contributors to the script that what exactly is Whedon's and what isn't is unclear.

    I think you'd dig Buffy and certainly Angel, Jeeg. You and I both inexplicably have that love for the teen angst/soap operaish stuff. Mix that with vampires, robots, and monsters and you've got quite a series. And Angel, while starting out a bit rough as it finds its footing, became the even better show.

  4. Jeeg February 25, 2017 at 8:21 pm - Reply

    I really need to evaluate the decision making that resulted in me having seen Titan AE, but not Buffy or Angel.

    With my incomplete exposure to Whedon's filmography, I think he's a good choice for The Avengers. Bringing together that many characters will be a tough balancing act and is a classic pitfall of the comic book/superhero movies. Whedon's expertise with ensembles and respect for the source material will be essential to pulling this off.

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