Wednesday, June 13, 2012

This weekend you need to bond with your Dad because it is Father’s Day. Keep it general and do something that you can both bond doing. Go to the movies and watch the super hero movie The Avengers. For comic book fans it is a movie marvel. It has plenty of big name stars and a not so well known director but he got his job through plenty of nepotism. Yeah, he knows people.
As super hero movies go, The Avengers is super sized. Iron Man with Robert Downey Jr. , Captain America, The Hulk, Thor, Black Widow with Scarlet Johansen and Hawkeye are all brought together to save the world. Hey, I remember when just Superman could save the world and even stop or jump start the world from spinning. I guess the world needs much more help nowadays.
The cast is filled with already established well known stars. Chris Evans as Captain America and Samuel Jackson have big roles. The main question is , Why did Disney and Marvel Comics put this movie that costs 220 Million Dollars to make with all these big payout stars in the hands of writer director Joss Whedon? Who the hell is he? He doesn’t have a reputation as a big movie director?
His reputation is for creating small quirky short lived TV shows. Things like Dollhouse, Firefly and Angel. His most famous involvement was in the old show Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It ran from 1997 to 2003 attracting a small but dedicated cult following. When the network executives tried to get Whedon to change the show’s name in order to broaden its appeal, he insisted it stayed. Joss said that Buffy is funny, Vampire is scary and Slayer is action and that is what the show is about.
Buffy was as much as teenage complaining about the horrors of high school as it was about Vampires. The show clearly made visible the power of women. You love seeing a girl go into a dark alley and the monster appears and for a change she destroys the monster instead of seeing another beautiful girl dead in an alley like all the Law and Order shows do. Buffy was buff and it was fun to see the tiny person take control for a change.
His career began as a writer on Rosanne in 1989 but his TV roots go back much further. Let’s really talk about fathers on this weekend. His grandfather was a writer on The Donna Reed Show in the 1950’s; his father wrote for a string of sitcoms like Alice , Benson and The Golden Girls. Joss feels that he was raised by a bunch of comedy writers. His mother was a teacher, novelist and a political activist and had him direct a benefit for Equality Now a women’s rights organization.
He shows his respect for women even in this film. He did not want The Black Widow role to visualize a week woman. No damsel in distress here or just another pretty face or a woman that was incapable of holding her own. When Scarlet saw that she gets to kick some man ass she wanted to play the part. Ok, we get it you are still angry your marriage was a disaster with that hunky star.
Part of the challenge in this movie was how to give equal treatment to 6 super heroes and to the super actors that portray them. He was smart to let the actors get into character and let them make up some lines as they went along. Here, The Iron Man is the same actor and persona as in the past movies released using Robert Downey Jr. Considering the movie costs 220 Million to create, the blame will go to him if they don’t at least earn the production costs back.
Luckily and unbelievably the movie made back the production costs in its first week out to the public in sales. When the director saw the number the studios want to make back in profits, he didn’t even think that that much money even exists. The movie reviews predicted that The Avengers would become a success and it is.
Joss Whedon’s next movie is the complete opposite from this one. It is Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing that was shot entirely at his Santa Monica home. Imagine his daughter saying, “Dad? Why is there a camera crew in my bedroom?” Yes, we all love our Dads.

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