From the screening of the very first Marvel superhero film, fans of the classic comics had hoped for a day when The Avengers would be together on screen. Although bringing together all of these characters in one film always seemed like an impossible feat, the fact is that today, it’s coming straight at us like Thor’s hammer in the latest 3-D Marvel superhero flick. Luckily, the person bringing The Avengers to the big screen is fan favourite Joss Whedon.
Once Marvel reacquired the film rights to all of the necessary characters, the question became whether the studio would have the guts to put them on screen together. It wasn’t simply a matter of convincing the stars of the individual films to come together but more importantly, finding the right talent behind the camera that would be able to put them on screen together without it looking, well, like a Saturday morning cartoon.
It seemed like so far everything having to do with the Marvel superhero franchise was moving towards success. Whether it was the choice of actors or directors, it always seemed like a good choice, including inspired choices like Kenneth Branagh directing Thor. But fans and industry types were watching Marvel’s choices for The Avengers much more closely than they were for the other films, for good reason; this would be a much bigger challenge.
The first real news we got was that Zak Penn, a less than reliable screenwriter, was scribing The Avengers, which made most of us very worried. A long rumoured choice for director was Hulk director Louis Leterrier, who told Latino Review, “I’m on a short list but it’s a shortlist of good people.”
As it turns out, one name on the shortlist was Joss Whedon.
Whedon, creator of Buffy, Angel, Firefly and the recent Dollhouse, is no stranger to superheroes. Over his long career, he has been attached to write X-Men, Wonder Woman, and had a long run writing X-Men comics. It was IESB’s unfortunately timed post on April 1st which first brought this possibility to light. Of course, geeks around the world got themselves ready for disappointment expecting an April fool’s joke. As we now know, it was no joke and Whedon is now writing and directing The Avengers.
For an Avengers film to work, it needs to be perfectly balanced. Like all superhero films it is the balance and tone that decides if the film works or not. If you look back on Whedon’s television career you will find each of his shows work because of balance.
His shows all perfectly balance action, drama and comedy. His shows often deal with the super, the mystical and the alien, while remaining realistic.
An audience needs to stay with the film and consider it realistic enough to remain emotionally invested to keep the film from becoming just eye-candy.
The Avengers is going to be a film event unlike any other in recent years; one that could easily become a huge mess and a disappointment for many fans who have waited all these years to see their heroes together on screen. I have faith in Joss Whedon; I think he is the perfect man for the job.