*Swoon* Whedon Justifies a Fan’s Faithby Rai Goldin on May. 08, 2012, under Joss Whedon, movies
So I bolted out of work yesterday to take the spouse to the 4:15 showing of The Avengers at the El Con theater. The last time I’d been there was to watch Cabin in the Woods, which I raved glowingly about in my last post. This is the first time I’ve been to the movies twice in a month since before the advent of the Internet, and thinking about it, it’s worth examining why.
Joss Whedon, that’s why.
Mr. Whedon, who feels like a personal friend of mine even though I will never ever be so lucky to be sitting next to him on a plane anywhere, has always mixed his sweeping arcs of storytelling with wryness that nods to the fan-base. Honestly, I’ve watched the Buffy seasons (all seven) so many times that I actually recognized shots he was plagiarizing from himself. The crater caused by the tesseract bomb at the beginning of The Avengers? Completely klepto’d from the finale of season seven of Buffy. The younger cop of the duo bantering with our heroes before the big set battle-piece? Enver Gjokaj, who played Victor in Dollhouse. The focus techniques and shaky camerawork during the flight shots in the same battle? Straight out of Serenity. There was even one point at which one of the Avengers (I think it was the Cap, but the second viewing will help with that one) gave me a frisson of dialogue deja vu back to Firefly. Mr Whedon has no fear of his infinite variety going stale, even when he uses leftovers (which we all know are better after some time in the fridge, anyway).
What gratified me as I was walking out is that Mr. Whedon can now take his place in the modern canonical lists of truly great directors. We have Spielberg, who stopped being fun after the second Indiana Jones outing (and who should just be smacked for that Crystal Skull nonsense), we have Cameron, who is going to pump out Avatar for at least two, if not three more outings with those dopey blue aliens, and we have Christopher Nolan, who will be finishing his Batman oeuvre this summer.
Whedon, who has been held proprietorially to the collective chest of his fan base for years, has now drawn attention to himself globally. No longer can we who’ve dwelt in the Whedonverse claim him as the best-kept secret in tv/moviedom any longer. Now we have to share.