If you’re a moviegoer, odds are you’re pretty sick of superhero movies. Many of us remember a day not so long ago when comic book adaptations were big-budget spectacles to be anticipated and even planned around. This past summer represented something of a lowpoint for superhero fans, or a highpoint of superhero fatigue, depending on whose side you’re on. The releases were not only non-events, the films behind them were depressingly pedestrian (Green Lantern in particular). Fortunately, there’s a ray of light on the horizon, a long-rumored champion coming out of hiding who could turn the tide. We are talking, of course, about Joss Whedon and his new project, The Avengers. The trailer came out today, and while it doesn’t give away much (thank God!), it doesn’t disappoint:
It may not be immediately apparent from the clip, but if anyone can pull off a blockbuster with brains and heart, and a healthy dose of ‘concept,’ it’s Joss. Everything he touches, as far as this Mockingbird is concerned, has something to recommend it, the inimitable dialogue being just the tip of the iceberg. Less hyped are his highly refined sense of drama, endlessly inventive plot devices, love for creative/subversive action sequences, conflicted relationship with ‘redemption,’ and sheer intellectualism. He may be coming from a different and not terribly sympathetic place, ideologically, but that hasn’t stopped him from consistently providing a more accessible and compassionate way in to questions of life, love, suffering, sin, hope and, yes, God than just about any other ‘genre’ filmmaker around. Joss simply can’t stay away from big ideas.
The cards may be slightly stacked against him this time around – the AV Club pokes fun, and the raw material (of the Avengers) may not exactly be the most enthralling that Marvel has to offer – but Joss understands, as he has demonstrated time and again, the metaphorical possibilities of superpowers as well as anyone this side of Christopher Nolan. Whedon is also that rare outspoken ‘atheist/humanist’ who doesn’t seem to have an overly inflated conception of human potential, which tends to make his stories that much more compelling. Rest assured, there will be some theological undercurrents. And there will be an auteur’s heart beating behind all the napalm.
All this to say, we’ll be covering the release of this movie (and Cabin in the Woods!) with deep interest and anticipation.