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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
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May 27 2012

Why The Avengers belong to Joss Whedon. IGN runs down 5 reasons why The Avengers is a piece of Whedon, through and through.

Awww nuts....I was planning on linking this article but ya ninja'd me, Dude Meister!


Still, it's a lovely article about something that should have been formulaic but entertaining at best into a film that transcends its origin by treating the audience with respect and being more that popcorn spectacle!
Am I the only one who saw Black Widow's face when she was on the phone and thought "That's River's expression to Zoe when she points out the guy with the gun!"?
Carnelionne - nope, you are NOT alone in that! I wanted to jump up and yell 'RIVER!!!' when I saw that, but Boyfriend hates it when I GeekOut in public like that and boys are so frail so I didn't.
A very enjoyable article with a lot of great ideas. But I certainly wouldn't go along with the emphasis on winking at the audience. Sure, the way Joss's work plays with genre, subverts conventions, and gets pretty post-modern is an important part of it. But I also think that his work is heartfelt and that the more formal commentary doesn't wink out at us.

Also, while I do think that this film contains moments that could be called 'fan service' if one were so minded, I don't think that is a typical Whedon characteristic either. Striking images and resonant moments, yes; but that's not the same thing at all.
That's just IGN talk. They have a specific audience they are writing for.
Interesting article. I was suprised they wrote that jayne and spike were heroes being nudged into villainy, when thry were villains nudged into heroism. And calling Wes bad at all never sits well with me, but to each their own. Otherwise i think they had a point about flawed heroes and the rest. But fan service? A good story is a good story. I dont see how that hulk scene was simply for the audience.
Bare feet women and beloved character deaths are more Whedonesque qualities than fan service.
I did like that someone managed to articulate Whedon's use of character dialogue. I've heard people say it's so real (mostly in relation to Buffy), but I always felt it's purposefully NOT realistic. Take almost any hilarious utterance of Anya and try to use it in a real-world situation.
CaptainB, Anya always had the least realistic dialogue of the Scoobs, so that may not be the best example. It's much easier to pull of a Buffy, Willow, or Xander line.
What I find interesting is how Whedon dialogue has invaded American television and culture.

For example, I used to think that I was unique in my using phrases like "All kinds of No" in everyday conversation. This was several years back because I recall a writer friend used to quote me all the time. I had just rewatched all 7 seasons of Buffy and was loving the line Buffy uttered, "A world of No," to some suggestion she found distasteful, and decided to do my own play on that phrasing structure. But nowawadays I encounter television commercials that use phrases like "All kinds of Yes" everywhere...
Joss, in his interview with Wired, said this:

When I first wrote Buffy, and it’s something I have said before, I was looking at teenagers and — hmm, maybe I should rephrase that. I was listening to teenagers. And everything they said was from Heathers. I realized, you can’t ape the way they talk. You can only ape the fact that the way they talk is going to change and is going to roll through some reference and then past it, or some phrase and then past it. And if you’re going to write teenagers that teenagers believe, you can’t write the way they talk, because of lead time. So I just talked the way I wanted to talk. And they’ll either recognize it as something alien but not pandering, or they’ll start to talk that way.

I've used "peachy with a side of keen, "starting to damage my calm" and even "The King of Cups expects a picnic, but today is not his birthday" in public. (That last was @work when one of the guys was refilling the cup container at the driv-thru station for me.)

I know I've used other Whedonisms, but I can't recall them right off.

I'm hoping to see Avengers this week, even if I have to go by myself; it's playing at the local theater until Thursday w/two showings every day. The theater that's further away has multiple showings, but only in 3D and I don't think my astigmatism would like that.
My daughter recently introduced her college roommate to BTVS. Near the end of Season 1, her roommate said, "These people all talk like you."

That's what happens when you're raised on Joss.
jcs- I wish there was a like button for your post.
Sorry to burst everybody's bubble, but I thought the movie was not up to par with Whedon's other work. Also not a colossal waste of time like Cabin in the Woods was, but still, had to go back and watch Willow get emotional and Faith breaking down just remember what it was like when his work could evoke real emotions. I also watched a few of Angel season 4 just to remember what suspense is really like.
One of the main disappointments in this movie was that the character that was killed was blander than bland and the character that had the most pain had the most disappointing and utterly wrong change.
I'm sure that Wolfram and Hart, sorry I mean Marvel amd Disney had their hands in the cookie jar but still as a work of art, it is hardly the Shakespearean study of friendship, loyalty, pain and madness that I have come to expect from his earlier work.
I do have some ideas that would have made it a much better movie, but then again, it might have made less money if it was a better movie, a sad paradox.
You're not bursting anyone's bubble, you're disagreeing with them. Subjectively. Bursting their bubble would be something like revealing Joss really had nothing to do with the movie.
Perhaps you're right, but it's time for me to say, Joss has lost it, and now I also have low expectations regarding Much Ado about Nothing.
The bursting of the bubble is this: Though the Avengers shows some Whedonesque traits, the most important ones that made Buffy, Angel and Firefly are gone, flawed or so muffled as not really count.
I really want to talk about it more, but as some people said they haven't really seen it yet, I don't wish to spoiler it here.
I think most everyone's seen it. And I think many will effectively argue that Joss has not, in fact, lost anything. I think before you throw the baby out with the bathwater, it's good to take a step back and realize that both the Avengers and Much Ado are adaptations of other people's works and ideas. Hence a bit of muffling, but really, there's plenty of Joss to love in the Avengers. Maybe if he got to do seven seasons' worth of this particular team you'd see more of what you loved, but given a 2 1/2 hour window as a gun for hire on a pretty complicated, high stakes summer tentpole, I'm not sure what else anyone could want or expect from him.
I sort of understand what amitzinman is saying ... there is much deeper emotional power in some of Joss's earlier work than there is in The Avengers ... but I would not say that "Joss has lost it." .... rather that the nature of a movie like The Avengers is that that kind of emotional power is impossible
to generate. Joss is rightly having great success ... because he has made the best "tentpole / superhero movie that has yet been made (I have confidence he can do even better) ... But I long for him to develop a TV show based on a superpowered teenage girl and her friends - then we will see the real Joss magic. As much as I would love to see more Buffy ... I have confidence that Joss can do it again with new characters - and still be fresh and nothing like Buffy.
amitzinman and StephenP, what you are both missing is that Joss didn't CREATE the Avengers characters. If you didn't think it was that deep/emotional, etc. blame Marvel and Stan Lee, not Joss Whedon. I think Joss did an admirable job taking characters he didn't create and giving them more depth and more of an arc than they all had in their own individual films.... not an easy task, at all. I don't think you two would be complaining if Joss CREATED these characters because then it would have the trademark depth/empathy.

For the record, I absolutely loved the Avengers and I've seen it 6 times. Of course it's not Joss' best work, he didn't create these characters, but I'll be damned if someone else could've done HALF the job he did with Avengers.
Hi lisatwingomez ... I think I just tried to say what you just said ,,, but clearly not as well. It was because it was Marvel characters, not Joss's, and because Marvel and the whole superhero Marvel universe thing tied his hands that it is not as good as pure Joss ... and yes ... of course it is far better than any other superhero movie (the box office numbers "prove" it ... I just love being able to say that) ... and I am sure it was not an easy task ... and I still believe Joss will be able to do better yet ... I have only seen it 3 times, but I also agree that no-one else could have done half the job. ... I think we are totally agreeing with each other.
True, Joss didn't invent the characters in The Avengers, or the world in which they live. But he has been a longtime devotee of the Marvel universe. He loves that world; he knows the characters. And he brought them to life onscreen in spectacular fashion, against all odds. The Avengers has Joss' fingerprints all over it. I don't see how he's lost anything; he's branching out -- getting better at more and more things. And I can't wait to see what comes next.
Sorry to burst everybody's bubble,

I'm not terribly fond of people trolling on their first post.
I use lots of Joss phrases in real life. Unfortunately I am probably the only one who gets them. I am often paralyzed with not caring very much.

I really loved the Avengers. I love comic book movies, I pretty much go see all of them and am usually disappointed. Not this time. It was excellent. It wasn't Buffy, but that's apples to oranges. You can't compare it to Buffy, a seven year in depth study of characters we grew to love, to the Avengers. But you can compare it other action hero movies, and it pretty much wins.
Okay, I agree that Anya-isms aren't ever really useable in real life. Frame of reference: I was 13 when I started watching Buffy when season 2 was first premiering in 1997. I loved some dialogue to pieces, successfully incorporated some Scooby speak into ordinary life, but I tried to hard once to use a line of Oz's at the most absurdly inappropriate time (I was young) and it's one of my small yet constant regrets in life.

And I agree with bakla--I really noticed a few years ago a bland use of Whedonesque language in many tv shows, and found it odd. Just saw a season 5 trailer of True Blood and Sookie has a line rattling off her larger-than life supernatural problems and ends with "Must be Thursday." While Joss doesn't "own" the phrasing, it just struck me as an "homage" to Buffy's line from OMwF.
Something that I haven't seen discussed but struck me as so clearly Jossian is the redemption arc that Black Widow is on. Did anyone else get major Faith/Angel vibes from the Black Widow/Hawkeye back story? He is also someone with a damaged past. She is a killer he was sent to destroy but chooses to save instead. She will obviously give her life for him. At the point where the Avengers starts she is already "pulling for the good guys", but hasn't fully confronted her past. Her confrontation with Loki forces her to do that - she recognizes that she is "compromised" - even though she's one of the good guys now, she still has red in her ledger. Those are not the Black Widow or Hawkeye characters I was reading in Marvel comics from grade school through graduate school. As far as I'm concerned Joss just completely owns those characters now, and I for one desperately want to see more.
What Joss did with Black Widow and Hawkeye, quite frankly, has a lot more depth and arc than what he did with Thor and Loki. Had he the opportunity to establish the backstory for those two I suspect that would have been quite a bit richer, but in a movie overstuffed with character arcs and personal storylines, you're absolutely correct that he sunk his teeth into the ones he had the most leeway to play with. While he pays the Thor/Loki through-line its due with the scenes in the forest and on Stark Tower their appropriate due, I hate to say they don't carry a lot of weight and probably should have considering Loki is the core villain.
I was fascinated by the Black Widow/Hawkeye storyline, though the Angel/Faith reverb didn't register when I saw the film (and I thank you for mentioning it, barboo). It was one of the most enjoyable stories, along with everything else that made it brilliant entertainment. I loved the sensitivity and confliction of Chris Evans as Capt. America, RDJ's continuing braggadocio as Iron Man, yet willing to sacrifice himself for the earth, Hemsworth's stalwart Thor, Hiddleston's preening, cruel Loki, and Ruffalo's deceptive low-key calm as Banner. Someone is sadly mistaken if they think they've burst anyone's bubble here.

[ edited by Tonya J on 2012-05-29 04:32 ]
Joss did a brilliant job with Black Widow. I would be so glad to see a Black Widow movie! But, you know, I'll be glad to see whatever he does next.
Yes ... I would totally be up for watching a Joss penned Black Widow movie ... or anything he wrote for Scarlet. She is so pretty, and has a really expressive face that can express vulnerability ... and we all know what Joss can do with actresses that can convey that !!!
Well... when you look at the fact that Joss inherited all the characters from pre-existing mythology (and inherited all central actors except Smulders, Renner, and Ruffalo from previous films), the fact that it's a fun summer superhero flick that was expected to succeed with a massive audience, and the fact that it's a MOVIE and not a TELEVISION SHOW, I think Joss did strike a strong emotional chord. He did build the right amount of dramatic tension. It had that funny/serious blended tone that his work is known for.

And not to burst anyone's bubble, but CitW was awesome.
Yeah, what Xane said.

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