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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
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May 17 2012

Why the Avengers is the best TV show in movie theaters. The AV Club's Todd VanDerWerff examines what lessons from television Joss took with him into the film world.



[ edited by Andy Dufresne on 2012-05-17 10:06 ]
Great article. Love Todd VenDerWerff's TV Club coverage. JJ's Star Trek is the movie I've been most comparing to Avengers. Both effortlessly enjoyable, and they just pop when the whole cast is on screen together.

Also been cited by Joss in a few recent interviews as well.
Mo Ryan made similar points about Joss' ensemble wrangling work and it's links to tv in a recent article, I believe.
Hey Mr Whedon, it's not true what I read in an article?
You hesitated to realize Avengers 2 Because it is a job Titanic?
Let me tell you that you will not get you out so easily, Because we thought atoujours here
As Marvel Studio that give your Job for The Avengers it was simply the best idea of ​​the year.
Secondo, Your film is a miracle, the film Super-Hero Absolute with The Dark Knight!
Tercio, you are too we unveil to simply leave us none the wiser, Joss
Do not let other realize the following we would never recover it's not true!!
Joss works well with large casts because he knows that every person has a different relationship with the people they know. So if a movie is focused on one person, then the best way to understand him (or her) is to show them interacting with lots of people. Each of the supporting characters was interesting in "Angel", but they also explored different parts of Angel's personality. Or in "Out of Gas", Mal has to adjust his actions depending on how each of the others is reacting to the crisis.

I think the movies that fail with a large cast try to introduce a bunch of characters in isolation (which soaks up a lot of time away from the plot), rather than embracing the threads that tie them together.
I always thought that JJ's Star Trek movie worked really well as almost a movie version of a pilot and to me The Avengers is equally as efficient as a season 1 finale in a way to Marvel's films.
Dumbstruck at how the article managed to be right in its main point--what's strong about The Avengers is what's strong about Joss's TV storytelling--while managing not to understand what's strong about both. In none of his stories is "...the bad guy’s plot...treated as an occasion for the movie’s good guys to hang out, crack wise, and bond with each other." It praises his work in terms that should be reserved for a buddy cop movie hack.
In some ways, it completely misses the point. What made Whedon (and I'm not going to name every other creator that's done it because there's more than one) good in television was in bringing in aspects of theatrical storytelling to a long form but spacing it appropriately. I don't really see Star Trek or the Avengers as departing from a good feature film formula, I see it as executing the formula with skill and without the cynicism that seems to prevail over much of what gets turned out these days.

In the end, you can either tell a story well or not. Joss does it well, and in this film I think he nailed the form. I just don't see it as films becoming "like TV." It's films being what they're supposed to be.
I think the point VanDerWerff was trying to make was that the villains and plot should be there to service the characters, not the other way around. It's difficult to make a TV show without developing character relationships, but it's very easy to make a movie without them.

I usually dislike superhero/action movies because of the importance placed on explosions and whatnot, but I enjoyed Avengers because I felt that everything, down to the characters' fighting styles, revealed more about the characters. Maybe Joss isn't the first director to do it, but I was glad that he used the same method of storytelling he does in TV.
I'd disagree. Yes, you can write a script with no character development but I don't think you can make a great film that way. Take Die Hard which is as much a pop-corn munching spectacle as anything. Any close look at that film will see strong character development although it all branches from John McLean. There's John-Hans, John-Holly, Holly-Hans, John-Carl, Carl-Hans, and John-Al.

It may just be late over here but I'm trying to think of a great film that doesn't have great or at least serviceable character development. I don't see TV and film as different in that respect, rather TV just has more real estate and can be less efficient.
Character development is key, but I think you can't underestimate the importance of good fight scenes. These movies are going to have fight scenes, they can be utterly tedious, or fantastically spectacular.
I loved Iron Man, Iron Man 2 made me want to throw things at the screen. The "action" parts felt like watching someone play a video game. I have felt the same about many Superhero movies especially the Transformers series. Boring boring fight scenes.

The first Black Widow scene, with the chair, that was a fantastic fight, with human beings, that I was invested in. Beautiful. All throughout the huge battle at the end you were still with the characters. They were still them, not just avatars. THIS is what Joss excels at. Among other things. The action is still there, but done in a way that I am there, emotionally, invested.

[ edited by Xane on 2012-05-18 15:44 ]

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