The AvengersBy now everyone who cares knows that comic book über-geek (and, oh yeah, hugely successful TV and film writer/director) Joss Whedon is helming the forthcoming team-up extravaganza The Avengers, the culmination of all Marvel’s film efforts for the last few years. As a fan of Whedon, Marvel superheroes in general, and the Avengers in particular, I’ll admit I’ve been a bit worried that somehow, despite the talent involved, the usual Hollywood studio crap would turn this potential slab of awesome into another Spider-Man 3.

But now there’s a new interview of Joss by Yahoo!’s Matt McDaniel that’s gone a long way towards allaying those fears.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those fanboys who assumes personal ownership of an entertainment property and spams Internet forums with enraged rants about all the way this TV adaptation or that film of something ruined (read: “differed from”) the source material that is like unto holy writ yadda yadda yadda. I’m not.

New Avengers #1 (January 2005)I have, however, adored writer Brian Michael Bendis‘ run on the Avengers comic over the last seven years. (I adore pretty much everything Bendis touches—I’m over the moon that two of his other awesome comics, Alias and Powers, are being developed for TV as we speak, but that’s a long-winded diatribe for another day.) Over that time I think I’ve formed a basic sense of what the Avengers, in any format, should “feel” like, in broad strokes at least. There are tons of negotiable details, but there are certain aspects any version should be faithful to, lest we wind up with a generic action film with a famous but otherwise irrelevant brand slapped on it (The A-Team, anyone?).

When Marvel’s film division made it clear that their Iron Man, Captain America and Thor films were being made with an eye towards integration into a filmic Marvel Universe, I was excited. And when Joss was announced as the director of the payoff film, The Avengers, I was even more excited. With Buffy and Angel, Joss was a pioneer in giving superhero comic-style “universes” to weekly television shows, so if anyone was right for the Avengers project it’s him.

Still, we’ve seen Hollywood executive-led “creative” decisions ruin slam dunks before. And as good as the four (or five—does the Ed Norton/Louis Leterrier Incredible Hulk count?) Avengers “lead in” films have been, as good as the pedigrees that both Marvel Studios and Joss Whedon bring to the table are, I still have the memory of those mopey, wisecrack-free, MJ-as-narcissistic-stoner Spider-Man films in my brain.

In the Yahoo! interview, though, Joss says stuff that reduces my fears greatly. He talks about the conscious care and thought that went into the creation and manifestation of Tony Stark and Captain America and Bruce Banner and Nick Fury in a way that makes me expect a very rewarding film. Taking the characters and premise seriously, as both Whedon and his cast seem to be doing, seems to me a quasi-guarantee that all the underlying conceptual fundamentals of the Avengers as a story I can adore will be present and accounted for.

The Avengers is scheduled to be released May 4, 2012.

  1. BridgetZ says:

    I just saw the trailer last night. Being a big fan of Joss Whedon, I have high hopes for this film. My concern is how the director will manage the character personalities. They are all “larger than life”. Let’s hope this movie does not turn out to be silly.