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The Works of Joss Whedon:
The writer of the cult television shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Dollhouse and Firefly is currently the writer of choice, and director of the upcoming Avengers’ film. And although I am not his biggest fan, (for he does has some rather large ones,) I really enjoy most of his works and respect him as a writer who has managed to gain notoriety in the industry.
While I have confidence that he can pull this off, I also have doubts that he’ll be able to live up to the unrealistically high expectations. My concerns mainly come from his most notable work at Marvel, his run on Astonishing X-Men. I read his work on the team book, and while it was adequate, it felt too familiar to his other works. With the exception of Dollhouse, which I had problems getting into (so I will not use it as an example in this article,) the majority of his work centers on teams.
Then there was the X-Men series he did.
Reoccurring Points of Interest
Looking at all of these, I’ve found a few recurring factors that appear:
-Women that can kick ass.-The nerdy meek girl who tries to act naïve and cute.
-Someone dying at the beginning or end of a long story arc.-Angst
-Recycled antagonists-Writing for a limited budget
-A situation that has most the plot closed while character arcs stay open.-Non naturalistic sounding dialogue.
-Fantastic outside threats take priority over realistic threats, but realistic drama has more of a lasting impact than fantastic melodrama.
There are nothing wrong with him using these elements, they work, and they’ve been in reoccurring themes in the Avengers’ comic for sometime. The problem is if I watch something by Whedon, I know exactly what is going to happen and how it plays out. It is very similar to seeing a Tim Burton movie.
Now Tim Burton is still one of the most successful directors working today, and his last movie, Alice in Wonderland is one of the highest grossing films of the year. But where Burton’s work seems to be becoming stale, (at least compared to the originality of his early work) Joss Whedon’s work is improving. Watch the original Buffy The Vampire Slayer movie, then watch the show, clear progress is being made there. Then jump to Firefly and you’ll see a tight independent film masquerading as a 44 minute episode. After that, measure the effectiveness of Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog, and you’ll see a clear improvement as Mr. Whedon is starting to move away from his (for lack of a better word) patterns.
My concern is that he hasn’t moved far enough away from it yet.
What One Can Expect From the Film
I’m very cautious about how this movie might turn out. The Avengers will be the biggest crossover film ever, so it will get into the cinema history for that reason alone. Joss Whedon also has an extremely loyal fanbase, so this film will have its defenders, no mater how it turns out. But judging by his previous projects, I expect the Avengers to have these elements:
-The WASP (assuming she’s in the film) takes on the role of the cute naïve girl.-Hawkeye is the jerk that runs off his mouth, like Spike, or Jayne.
-Loki is given a large role, as he is shown causing humorous havoc behind the scenes; played more for laughs than tension.-Captain America and Iron Man get angsty, and get into a scuffle.
-There will be a lot of focus on Captain America’s attempts to cope with the modern world.-There will be lots of in jokes and fan service.
-Banter that distracts from the action and tension of a fight.-Some minor guards are given a few casual lines of dialogue, then get injured or killed to show a situation is serious.
-The whole film will have a fake Hollywood set feel to it, with bright lighting and warm colours through most of the film.-A character departs from the story by the end of the film to show that the film will have lasting consequences.
After reading these points, fans of the Avenger’s comics are probably thinking that this sounds a lot like comics. And they’d be right. Joss Whedon would be a good/great choice to write some comics, or even an animated television show. But the characters from the films are not the ones that that people have been reading about for decades. The style, the feel, and the rules are different here. These heroes need to be more grounded, and realistic.
The Marvel films released so far are doing something no major studio has done before, building towards one giant film, the one Whedon is supposed to write and direct. This film can either lift the value of those films or make their build up seen like nothing but wasted potential.
With all this in mind I propose a challenge to Joss Whedon.
I challenge you to make the dialogue feel more organic. I challenge you to make this feel like a blockbuster film, and not the extended Firefly episode that Serenity seemed like.
Finally, I challenge to write a better plot than I did.
If you feel that you are not up to this challenge, I understand and respect that. Just ignore this letter, and I’ll assume that you did not feel up to surpassing my plot or expectations. Or I’ll assume that I am currently too insignificant for you to notice.
However, if you feel I made any valid points in this challenge, or would like me to elaborate more on any one part of this letter. Let me know and I’ll be happy to elaborate, even if it is through private email.
Understand that I don’t dislike Joss Whedon. I think he’s great and has one of the better careers in the science-fiction/fantasy genres. But if you like the plot you read in the link and want to see the completed film have a similar pace and story, help me contact the guy, or put a comment down showing your support.
What If Joss Decides Not To Respond