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Joss Whedon to direct The Avengers

Posted: Tue, 13th Apr 2010, 10:29pm

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jawajohnny

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The title says it all, really.

Joss Whedon is in final negotiations to direct The Avengers

I think it's a good choice, no matter how much I'd prefer to see him making Serenity 2.

Last edited Wed, 14th Jul 2010, 12:26am; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Tue, 13th Apr 2010, 11:24pm

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Atom

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I'm not a Whedonite, but this sounds intriguing. My only fear is that because of his very stylized, specific type of filmmaking characters from other films like Iron Man and Cap might not transfer over as easily to the Whedonverse. (And you know there's going to be one...)

My dream was to have JJ Abrams tackle Avengers, but Whedon is a solid choice too.
Posted: Wed, 14th Apr 2010, 8:35am

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Simon K Jones

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Very exciting! He made Serenity feel bigger than its budget, and that was also a film which juggled several characters in an efficient manner.

I don't think Whedon has a specific type of filmmaking - Serenity had a particular type of dialogue, but that was unique to Firefly, it's not common throughout his work.

The Avengers is going to be an incredibly difficult movie to get right. It's all going to hinge on tone: it has to be spot on to avoid being a mess or a joke. Whedon's always been a master of juggling different tones, switching from humour to action to emotion really effortlessly, so I think he's a good choice.

Let's just hope he's creatively refreshed after the blip that was Dollhouse (which I liked, but which was vastly inferior compared to his other stuff).
Posted: Wed, 14th Apr 2010, 2:29pm

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Bryce007

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There's only two guys I'd like to see direct this, and neither of them are Whedon.
Posted: Wed, 14th Apr 2010, 2:34pm

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Simon K Jones

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OK, I'll bite: who would you like to see direct The Avengers, Bryce007?
Posted: Wed, 14th Apr 2010, 9:36pm

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Atom

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Tarn wrote:

It's all going to hinge on tone: it has to be spot on to avoid being a mess or a joke.
I think this is the exact problem.

For all its hooplah, for me even Serenity fell more into the lines of parody than humorous drama and/or action movie, and to me Joss Whedon's work tends to (sometimes on purpose, sometimes accidentally) fall into either being too kitsch or melodramatic. I think he's a very uneven producer/filmmaker in this respect, in that he tries to tackle too many different tones and genres in what he brings forth. And at least with most of what I've seen (and please, spare me Firefly fanaticism; you've gotta judge a guy on more than one show of his when he's made so much)- has been really cheesy and hit-or-miss.

I need not look any further than his most recent failure (and a poorly written, poorly conceived, poorly acted show, too) of Dollhouse to get some sense of nervousness when I see that he's attached to a movie that needs a serious and grounded tone just as much as it needs a fun and adventurous one.

Not that Whedon isn't a good showrunner- he is. But if you're wondering what I mean by his 'style', I mean the type of work he churns out: fantastical, silly, and oftentimes melodramatic. Angel, Buffy, Dollhouse- they all fit the bill. Even Firefly to some extent.

If Whedon can aptly recreate all of the pros that make/made Firefly such a smash cult hit and transplant them into the Avengers without it seeming ridiculous or incongruous, I'm completely down. But the fact that I've liked next to none of his work since that series- and that he's made quite a bit to judge him on- scares me slightly.

I would've been/would be much happier to see him on as producer or writer, and have that fill out with the directing talents of someone like, say, Peter Berg- who I think would compliment Whedon's writing and the multi-character material in the way he shoots and directs.

Just a thought, of course.
Posted: Wed, 14th Apr 2010, 11:18pm

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Aculag

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Serenity, Firefly, Buffy, they all work well and have a huge fanbase. Whedon clearly knows how to command an audience, and how to direct an ensemble cast. The good thing about this news is that all of the characters will already have been fleshed out in their own movies. All Whedon has to do is make sure they gel in this one. It may sound like an odd choice, but I think it'll work out just fine. I thought Jon Favreau was a bad choice for Iron Man at first, and I had my doubts about Bryan Singer with X Men, but those worked out fine.
Posted: Thu, 15th Apr 2010, 10:49am

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Simon K Jones

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There's far more positives than negatives in Whedon's career. Buffy, Angel, Firefly (especially Firefly), Dr Horrible and Fray are all high quality works. It's only the first season of Buffy and Dollhouse that let him down, really.

If you see his work as silly and melodramatic, or only as parody, then it perhaps says more about your approach to the genres he's played with than the material itself.
Posted: Thu, 15th Apr 2010, 4:09pm

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pdrg

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The Avengers?
Posted: Thu, 15th Apr 2010, 4:54pm

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Sollthar

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Rating: +1

Atom having a problem with melodrama? This world makes no sense. wink

Personally, I'm rather neutral to Whedon - apart from the fact he wrote what I'd consider the best written, if short, series of all time. I couldn't care less for Buffy though. So I'd certainly be interested to see what he'll do with a mishmash of comic book superheroes.
Posted: Thu, 15th Apr 2010, 6:26pm

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spydurhank

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If you don't care for Whedon's way of being able to mix all those tones and what-not together... maybe there's too much stuff going on and it's just you that can't keep up? biggrin Could be? Just saying.

If you want to watch a movie who's directer "John Landis" did this very well... Watch An American Werewolf in London. He easily meshes horror drama and comedy together plus it helped that he had a great cast.

Whedon pulled this off pretty good in Firefly, the only show which I've liked that was made by him, but again... I think it had more to do with having great actors, not saying that he's not a good directer or anything because most of his other stuff comes off really corny and cheesy to me.

Anyway... I hope this movie as well as the Captain America movie are more on the... let me not say "Darker" heaven forbid that this actually happen to a comic movie sooooo... shall we say "Adult" side instead?

An American Werewolf in London Firefly and Serenity all proved that you can mix "fun" with seriousness. biggrin I'm just tired of watching a Spidey movie where Parker uses his abilities to break in to dance numbers to anger M.J. or a Wolverine movie where a lot of folks die but none of them bleed. even if it's only a little... I'd like to see a "mature" Avengers and Captain America movie. That would be prime. biggrin
Posted: Tue, 13th Jul 2010, 4:28pm

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jawajohnny

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Ed Norton won't be returning sad
Posted: Tue, 13th Jul 2010, 6:40pm

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Atom

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And what's worse- he really wanted to! And I believe it- Norton is just one of those kind of enthusiastically great actors.

I used to think Marvel really knew what they were doing- but the economical approach to everything (possibly Disney's doing?) really pisses me off.

Regardless of what they may say, Norton didn't fit their desired price. Just like Favreau didn't for directing Avengers. The fact that they are trying, continually, to go 'cheaper' routes just completely puzzles me. Why spare the expense on the talent- who is most-undoubtedly going to be a large factor in the quality on the end product/success/box-office draw?

This extends further than Norton being ignored, if you're wondering. Collider has had for a few weeks an interesting argument on how puzzingly economical (but not necessarily efficient) Marvel has been running things since they became their own studio.

And despite the movies they've made thus far being generally tops, it shows. A big-wig like Spiderman or X-Men scouted/scouts the biggest and best talent (seemingly) regardless of expense- and yet Marvel passes on sure-things like Favreau- who wanted to direct it- and Norton- who wanted to act in it.

Forgiving after all this as well, that recasting major characters is one of the all-time tell-tale signs of a movie being 'cheapened' for me and, in essence, pulled out of suspended-disbelief even more. Even with the success of The Dark Knight, Katie Holmes recasting bothered the hell out of me. So did Terrence Howard's. So will Edward Norton's.

In any case it doesn't matter how well the next actor performs (as with generally good actors Cheadle and Gyllenhaal)- because it's just not the original thing in a cast of originals. And that just always seems so ingenuine to me. Sort of the 'We couldn't work out our problems and didn't want to wait so we said screw it!' deus-ex-machina approach. Rushed. Cheap.

What a shame. Whedon seemed to like him, too. Obviously not much would be required of Norton in an ensemble cast- and he'll likely be in 'Hulk' form most of the film anyway from what I can tell- so it's fine to have another lesser actor play the role.

But as Yahoo mentions- it's nicer to have a high-caliber actor, an actor's actor, handle the role like Norton does. No, it's not necessary. It's not necessary to do the movie with Norton.

But with RDJ, Samuel L., Chris Evans, and the like- it would've been nice to have him.

Regardless what Marvel says, the inclusion of such high-caliber actors as RDJ and Samuel L. in the cast doesn't mean we'll care less about Norton's departure- it makes it worse and more-obvious that an original actor from the already-rebooted Hulk film won't be with the others from their respective films.

And that's just, as I said, a shame. Marvel has massively misstepped; and they seem to be getting cocky. How unfortunate.
Posted: Tue, 13th Jul 2010, 7:28pm

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Axeman

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I say re-hire Eric Bana and have done with it. I'm a big fan of Norton, but Bana played a better Hulk. He had a worst story to do it in, but he fit the part better.

Though early rumors are that Marvel has offered the part to Joaquin Phoenix.
Posted: Tue, 13th Jul 2010, 9:12pm

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Pooky

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Wasn't it a bit obvious that a movie with such incredible amounts of potential was going to be screwed up by moronic business decisions, though? I get the feeling we'll be seeing more of these idiocies, and that the eventual movie will be awful.
Posted: Tue, 13th Jul 2010, 11:05pm

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jawajohnny

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Why is it always Whedon who's affected by moronic business decisions?

To me, this really kills all the momentum they had. It renders The Incredible Hulk (and the rest of their careful universe building) completely, completely useless (and by the way, I've had a complete change of heart on that movie... I now genuinely like it a lot). The whole point of that movie, complete with the Robert Downey Jr. cameo, was to set up for The Avengers. Now they're going to ignore it, and cast someone else just for monetary reasons? This is supposed to be the biggest movie in years... the one you put all your money into.
Posted: Tue, 13th Jul 2010, 11:10pm

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Aculag

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I'm not really sure why anyone thinks this movie is going to succeed anyway. My guess is that it suffers from exactly the same things as Spiderman 3 and X-Men 3; way too much going on.
Posted: Wed, 14th Jul 2010, 3:01am

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Thrawn

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Aculag wrote:

My guess is that it suffers from exactly the same things as Spiderman 3 and X-Men 3; way too much going on.
I don't think the Avengers movie will fail.. at least not in the same way that Spidey 3 and X-Men 3 did. The reason being is that those two examples failed because of a loss of focus, or as you put it, too much going on. Spiderman 1 and 2, two fantastic super hero movies, kept the focus on one thing: Spiderman. If anything, X-Men proves that focusing on multiple characters can work in a superhero film. Sure, it was mainly focused on Wolverine, but they really explored some other characters more than other movies had. X-Men 3 was awful because they just added a hundred other characters, hoping to "overwhelm the audience with awesomeness", which ended up failing because of the (once again) loss of focus.

The Avengers was created to include all of these characters, just like the first two X-Men were designed to include the entire X-Men team. If this was Iron Man 3, and they decided to throw all these other superheroes in, that'd be one thing, but it's not.
Posted: Wed, 14th Jul 2010, 6:48am

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ben3308

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At the end of the day, though, not that many people care about The Avengers as comic book characters, whereas PLENTY cared about Spiderman and the X-Men. So there's that.
Posted: Wed, 14th Jul 2010, 8:43am

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Simon K Jones

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Yeah, the very concept of The Avengers is the complete opposite of what Hollywood is set up to do. As Pooky says, it'll be a miracle if it survives the hostile business environment.

The biggest shame about this is that Norton and Whedon both seemed to really want to work together. If your actor AND your writer/director want to do it, it's hugely frustrating for the studio to screw it.

While I'm not a big fan of the Harry Potter films - they're really fun but nothing more for me - their greatest achievement is keeping the cast intact, other than unavoidable recasting due to deaths. It's specifically that that has made the Potter films work, even when the VFX or scripts have faltered. If one of the lead 3 had been recast, or even if supporting characters had been recast, it wouldn't have worked.
Posted: Wed, 14th Jul 2010, 9:08pm

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The FE

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Aculag wrote:

I'm not really sure why anyone thinks this movie is going to succeed anyway. My guess is that it suffers from exactly the same things as Spiderman 3 and X-Men 3; way too much going on.
It seems to me that I am the ONLY person here who actually liked X-3. Oh well... sad
Posted: Wed, 14th Jul 2010, 11:02pm

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Staff Only

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The FE wrote:

Aculag wrote:

I'm not really sure why anyone thinks this movie is going to succeed anyway. My guess is that it suffers from exactly the same things as Spiderman 3 and X-Men 3; way too much going on.
It seems to me that I am the ONLY person here who actually liked X-3. Oh well... sad
Not the only one. I don't really mind X3. The biggest problem people had with X3 was plot point problems that didn't really have to do with the quality of the film. X3 SPOILERS after the jump!








OH NO?!?!

They KILLED CYCLOPS?
Rouge got cured and was not in the final fight?!
THEY FREAKING KILLED XAVIER?!!!!
WOLVERINE KILLED JEAN GREY?! THAT DIDN'T JUST HAPPEN RIGHT?!!!!!!
THEY CURED M A G N E T O?!?!?!

Cyclops, Rouge, Xavier, Jean Grey, Magneto and Wolverine fans all RAGE at once!!!!

The film itself isn't that bad. Every person I know who has seen it and who has never read an X-Men comic in their life liked the film okay. Not that I can criticize. I have the same problems with the Harry Potter films. The trick to enjoying these things is not to look at the source material. Spiderman 3 had boring villains, unsatisfying action scenes, preposterous nonsense going on (dancing, crying, kissing Gwen in front of MJ, MJ thinking Harry could kill Peter even if he tried), and the most unsatisfying finale I've ever seen on a film that expensive (Quantum of Solace came close). I mean after the speed and creativity that went into the train fight in Spiderman 2 a four-way areal battle should be EPIC! Instead we got a crowd of cheering journalists...and Sam Raimi's kids. X3 has a coherent plot, better VFX than Spiderman 3 which came out a year later, creative action scenes (the scene in the Grey house is still epic), a good ensemble and I liked the finale even though Jean just stood there. Also they didn't kill Xavier, stay on until after the credits. For example:

Guy saying why he hates X-men 3

How much of what he says makes the movie bad? Every point he has is: "This doesn't fit with comic!" I couldn't even watch the whole thing.
Posted: Wed, 14th Jul 2010, 11:35pm

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Axeman

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The biggest problem with X3 was the whole dramatic Wolverine-fighting-his-way-through-to-Jean-Grey scene at the end, when if he'd taken the kid with him, he could have rendered her powerless and walked straight up to her. Which was just stupid. Someone forgot to think about what was actually going on in the scene when they scripted it.

That and introducing so many new characters that they couldn't possibly develop them all, which was just a "let's throw in everything we can think of to try make all the fans happy" move, which in reality just pissed all the fans off off. And when I say all, I mean most, or at least some.

Anyway, to get this back on topic, I'm suspecting the Avengers won't quite be all that some of us were originally hoping, but the issues with the loss of Edward Norton were already in place for me, as Edward Norton was already a re-casting of the character. So unless they re-hire Eric Bana, anyone who plays Hulk, including Norton, would be a re-cast.

The fact that Whedon is working on the script pleases be immensely though. He's a terrific writer.
Posted: Thu, 15th Jul 2010, 5:45am

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ben3308

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When I watched X3 I got those emotional pangs of excitement that what I was watching had bits of 'greatness' in it; most specifically during the Phoenix/Jean Grey house lifting sequence with Wolverine crawling slowly throughout the entire thing only to see Xavier die right when he's there to witness it. Multiple scenes in the film were treated in the very same 'classical cinematics' way in the vein of Alfred Hitchcock, which seemed fitting because X-Men was always about (at least, from Singer's movies) being just a little bit creepy, a little bit suspenseful, and a little bit off-putting. Yes, the plot went extreme (everyone died), and I think everyone has a problem with that. But that was more of a script thing.

I think Brett Ratner did a fantastic job capturing the mix of cool and startling elements that made the first two X-Men movies so valuable in the scheme of comic-to-film adaptations.
Posted: Thu, 15th Jul 2010, 8:17am

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Simon K Jones

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Yeah, X3 is a very mediocre movie full of truly great individual scenes. As much as people like to slag off Ratner, it does seem like he did a really good job with a really bad script. Unfortunately lots of individually brilliant scenes does not a brilliant movie make. sad
Posted: Sun, 18th Jul 2010, 10:05am

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Tommy Gundersen

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About the X3 Jean thing ... Didn't she fly around in the universe and destroy entire planets at her strongest in the comics?

And Wolverine just walks up to her and stabs her?

Talk about being Chuck Norris'ed.
Posted: Sun, 25th Jul 2010, 6:57am

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Atom

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Well, it's official now: Mark Ruffalo will be the new Hulk and last year's Academy Award-nom'd Best Actor Jeremy Renner will play Hawkeye in the upcoming Avengers movie.

And while it pisses me off to no end to see them pass on Edward Norton, Mark Ruffalo is a great actor and a fantastic fit for a bittersweet recast. Sort of unlike Don Cheadle, who was a better actor but a much worse fit as the character in Iron Man 2- Ruffalo has an essence to him that I think will aid the Bruce Banner character onscreen. Poor Mark looked so obviously uncomfortable there on stage because of it, but he's one of my favorite actors and a great supporting one- I think he'll do the role justice. (although him being a 'name actor' and older than Norton perplexes me to no end- what was the motivation to recast in the first place? Whedon ego/fear of Norton's tendency to go off-script, maybe? I dunno, either way.)

And then Jeremy Renner is just all sorts of right, there's not much to say past that. It may be lacking Norton now, which sucks, but this is a massive and awesome cast. Multiple Oscar-nom'd actors all playing in ensemble with eachother. Still bummed about about Whedon running it, though. I still think he's a huge and risky gambit I don't believe will work out, but we'll just have to wait and see how it all turns out.
Posted: Mon, 26th Jul 2010, 8:43am

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Simon K Jones

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Atom wrote:

Still bummed about about Whedon running it, though. I still think he's a huge and risky gambit I don't believe will work out, but we'll just have to wait and see how it all turns out.
While I'm excited about Whedon being involved, I do agree that he's a huge and risky gambit that might not work out.

However, you could have said the same thing about Jon Favreau and Iron Man. Or Christopher Nolan and Batman. Or Bryan Singer and X-Men. Or Sam Raimi and Spider Man.

Generally, the more unexpected directors tend to deliver the more satisfying blockbusters, certainly in recent years - Favreau being the best example.
Posted: Tue, 27th Jul 2010, 2:40am

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Thrawn

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With one image, I will show you why Whedon will succeed.

Posted: Tue, 27th Jul 2010, 4:45am

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Pooky

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He'll succeed because Neil Patrick Harris?
Posted: Tue, 27th Jul 2010, 6:58am

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Atom

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Elf. The Usual Suspects. The Evil Dead Trilogy. Memento. Darkman. Zathura. Insomnia. Swingers.

Some of those are hugely-successful endeavors on both critical and commercial fronts. Joss Whedon, despite what anyone may say- is to me, a TV man. He may have made Serenity, but even that wasn't a commercial success (and only, really, a decent movie) and played out much more like a 'made for TV movie' than anything else. Which isn't to say there's anything wrong for doing TV- but a cult following isn't commercial box office success, and enjoying it as a guilty pleasure isn't critical acclaim. It just isn't the same.

You may consider the likes of Bryan Singer or Jon Favreau or Christopher Nolan obscure, unorthodox, or untested risks before their respective projects- but don't compare them to Whedon in that light. By the time all of them worked on superhero movies, they had seriously great movies and/or box office draws behind them.

The Usual Suspects is a multiple-Oscar-winner. Memento was nominated and one of the highest rated movies of that year. So was Insomnia. Elf was an international megahit that made half-a-billion dollars. Sure, we're talking about talented people given good opportunities- but not minor successes before their respective projects in any regard. If you'll remember, I was a HUGE dick about Batman Begins and the biggest skeptic before it came out- and I ended up loving it immensely- but even in that skepticism, I still said and knew 'Well at least the guy behind Memento is doing it, he's really cinematic and has got great vision- so it can't be terrible!' With Whedon, I can't find myself saying 'well he created Dollhouse, so....' and have the same reassurance. smile

And look, despite his name being hotfire for fandom- I just don't see it in Whedon. I don't see the talent or experience founded, directorially at least, and I don't see the creative draw. It just seems like full risk to me. I hope it works out, of course, but he just makes me very nervous. There are so many people I would've picked before him, that I scratch my head at Marvel's decision(s) even now. So many more obvious people, too. And despite me really liking Rufallo, the whole Norton falling out thing just adds to my problem with hiring Whedon. Not Whedon himself, I think he's talented at what he does, but at placing him in this. I don't think The Avengers is right for him, and I don't think he's right for The Avengers.

But who knows, we'll have to see what happens. I just don't see it like I did in TV man JJ Abrams, or cult hit Raimi, or similar like- which it seems like Marvel is gearing for/betting on. Nevertheless, I hope to be pleasantly surprised and proved wrong. Anyone will tell you, I'm most pleased by surprises; and my favorite kind are pleasant ones. So here's hoping! wink
Posted: Tue, 27th Jul 2010, 8:07am

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Simon K Jones

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Bear in mind Whedon is also an experienced comics writer, and has a huge amount of experience balancing large casts. Having this many superheroes in a single movie can seriously unbalance a story (see: Batman sequels other than TDK){, so you need someone who can spin all those plates.

Whedon's done some of the most cinematic non-HBO stuff I've seen on TV, on miniscule budgets. Sure, Dollhouse was a big misfire, but everything else points me towards being very helpful.