With so much hype leading up to the Avengers US release in May of this year, one must wonder if all of the hype around the likely blockbuster isn’t causing a negative stir in some circles. I don’t only mean that the more we hype something, the more we are sure to be disappointed by it, no matter how incredible it is. What I mean by negative stir is the likely consequences of this movie if it is not well received, on the career of the man who is giving us his vision, Joss Whedon.
Foremost, I fail to see how anyone can say anything negative about Joss Whedon. Though his projects aren’t always a mainstream success, he’s never been a part of any project that hasn’t been a nerd culture success, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to the recent Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, which Whedon wrote, directed and produced amid the writer’s strike. Whedon was also the creator of the television show Firefly, which was not a huge mainstream success having been canceled after just eleven of its fourteen produced episodes. Firefly, however, along with its movie Serenity, were nerd culture hits – ones I’ve watched many of times since the series cancellation.
Whedon has given us an abundence of entertainment over the years, and continues to do so today. I feel, however, that what is riding on Whedon’s shoulders at the moment is probably the most important project of his career. Set to release in May, The Avengers is the culmination of two Iron Man movies, as well as the three blockbusters, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, and Captain America. All of these movies were produced with one goal in mind: To pull all of the original Avengers together, along with Nick Fury, Hawkeye and Black Widow, who only made appearances in some of the other movies. One must think, the pressure was on from the start.
Let me clarify, for those who don’t know, exactly what a director does. A director’s responsibility is to read two-dimensional text on paper and turn it into three-dimensional life, overseeing every step of the process, making sure that everything being executed is his/her exact vision. This is not an easy task. You might respond in saying that this is what you do every time you pick up a book. Well, that’s true, however, the only judge of what appears in your mind is you, not millions of movie-goers, paying their hard-earned money to see what you’ve produced from a script that is known beforehand to be flawless (having also been written by Whedon). This creates a type of pressure that can’t really be described, especially when you’re one of the biggest names in nerd culture, directing the biggest nerd movie ever to hit theaters. A movie that is sure to be compared to movies such as The Hunger Games and The Hobbit, both coming out this year – both surely to be cinematic hits in the very same culture.
Why am I saying all of this? I suppose you’re justified in asking, since I really haven’t made my point yet. My point is actually quite simple: Joss Whedon has put his soul into this production, and into every aspect of it, just like he put his soul into Firefly, Buffy, Angel, and others. Just like he put his heart and soul into the treatments of such films as X-Men and Atlantis. Whedon is going to bring you the best movie possible to culminate this incredible series, and after five incredible films, I just have a sinking feeling that there will be disappointment. Not because Whedon didn’t do a hell of a job directing, but because expectations are too high and have become unrealistic. I also have a feeling that two days after the film, the internet is going to be full of people complaining on every thread they can find that Whedon disappointed them with the movie, and did a poor job, even though I guarentee you that’s not the case.
Something we should all keep in mind is that Joss Whedon creates more awesome before breakfast than most of us do our entire lives. Joss Whedon has written more nerd culture successes than George Lucas has disappointing prequels (maybe a little hypocrisy there, but at least I admit it). Whedon has given starts to more nerd culture icons than Virgin Records has one hit wonders.
I guess you could call this a preemptive strike in defending and standing up for Joss Whedon. While I’m sure he’ll stand by his work and doesn’t need defending from anyone else, it needs to be done. I will be incredibly surprised if The Avengers isn’t a box office smash, but if it’s not widely received, let’s all promise to take a look at our expectations before judging the actual work. Walk into the theater like you’re going to see just another movie instead of the thrill ride of your life, and there is no way you could possibly have a negative experience.