[Update: Now we hear that Whedon is also re-writing Captain America.]
According to our latest Screen Rant poll, a lot of you are okay with the notion of writer/director Joss Whedon (Serenity, Astonishing X-Men) directing Marvel’s Avengers movie, which is undoubtedly the biggest event in the history of comic book movies thusfar.
If you are one of those who had a slight nerdgasm upon hearing that Whedon would be helming The Avengers, I’m sorry to tell you that I don’t yet share your enthusiasm – and I’m not alone in that sentiment.
It’s not that I have anything against Joss Whedon – I liked Buffy The Vampire Slayer when it was on TV, liked Dollhouse, and even enjoyed his feature-length film, Serenity. I also liked Whedon’s inaugural run on Marvel’s Astonishing X-Men comic book; it was one of the more entertaining X-Men stories I’ve read in years.
However, those of us in the “Wary of Whedon” camp have generally expressed one shared opinion: Whedon is a much better writer than he is a director. The man has an accute sense of character – and more importantly, how to make an ensemble of characters function well together. It’s probably that very talent which led Marvel Studios to pick him for The Avengers directorial chair.
Just about every Whedon project I can think of has featured an ensemble – and, despite whatever criticisms I may have had of those projects, I have to admit that Whedon’s ensemble format has never prevented the individual characters from shining in their own lights – a spectacular feat of storytelling.
That’s why my first reaction to news of Whedon directing the Avengers movie was to say, “He should be writing it.” Well, as Variety reports, Whedon is doing exactly that.
Up until now screenwriter Zak Penn (X-Men 2 & 3, Incredible Hulk) has been wracking his brain over the Avengers script. Last year Penn expressed early on that Marvel’s interconnectivity approach – while it may be awesome for fans – is something of a Rubik’s Cube for a screenwriter. Getting all the moving parts of the Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America movie continuities working cohesively in an Avengers flick is surely no easy task. To pull it off you would need a grandmaster of ensemble storytelling at your disposal…enter Whedon.
Whedon will likely be looking at the work Penn has been doing over the last year or so and polishing that into a tight story about how a diverse super group learns to play together. In this respect, I have newfound confidence about how The Avengers will turn out.
The only question left is: Can the guy who imagines The Avengers on paper bring it to fruition it in front of the camera? Our Screen Rant poll says “Yes,” but my gut remains unconvinced. Like many of you out there, I will need to actually see it to believe it.
The Captain America script was originally written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, co-writers of the Chronicles of Narnia films. Whedon is reportedly being brought on board to make sure the transition from The First Avengers‘ WWII origin story to Cap being revived in modern times for The Avengers movie is as cohesive as possible.
From the sound of it, Joss Whedon is now to the Marvel Movie Universe what Chris Nolan is to DC Movie Universe. Let the age-old Marvel vs. DC debate rage on!
For you “Wary of Whedon” types – does hearing that Joss will also be writing The Avengers script ease your worry? Or is directing the film a whole different beast in your eyes? For you pro-Whedon types – are you feeling even more jazzed now that you know Joss will be tackling BOTH of major duties required to bring The Avengers to the screen?
The Avengers is slated hit theaters on May 4, 2012.
The First Avenger: Captain America is slated for release on July 22, 2011.