An Open Love Letter to Joss Whedon

Dear Mr. Whedon,

Thank you, thank you for the Avengers movie. And thank you for doing everything right. There are so many ways this movie could've been screwed up, and you did none of them.

You could have unbalanced the cast. I mean, shoot, there were like seven heroes, five of whom have (or deserve) their own movies. By all normal screenplay calculations, the cast should have been unbalanced! Ironman should've stolen the show, or Thor should've been relegated to some kind of adviser role, or at the VERY LEAST Black Widow and Hawkeye should've been ignored entirely (I would even forgive you for that last one).

But they weren't! Everyone had their moments. Every character was believably, realistically involved. Thor and Loki had brother issues. Black Widow and Hawkeye had a freaking non-romantic relationship. Captain America was still dealing with the fallout from his last movie (heck, they all were). I love them all!

You could have revealed something lame that demeaned or flat out broke the original movies. You wouldn't have been the first. I mean, how do you explain why there are billionaires and WW2 super soldiers fighting alongside gods? To save the planet from alien invasion?

Dang, man, you actually made the prequels better at some points. The Thor movie didn't make me stand up and cheer, but you made Thor and Loki's characters deeper. You gave Captain America a reason for his ridiculously patriotic uniform. Thor quipped about how Asgardians always seem to beat each other up when they come to Earth (even though they're supposed to be more civilized).

You took the holes in the character's backstories and said, "Ha! Hey guys, look! A hole!" and then moved on. I love you for that.

You could have made Black Widow into an object. Every other screenwriter would've done it, and nobody would've blamed you. Heck, it's what they did with her character in Ironman 2.

And yet, in this movie, Natasha acted sexy or weak only twice, and both times she was totally messing with someone to get what she needed. So. Awesome.

You could have written cheesy, cliche dialog. I mean you couldn't have, Joss, because you're not like that. But Hollywood could've put someone in there who left the "This is just like Budapest" line as is, or who didn't understand how Tony Stark's ultra-clever Disregard for Everything works.

You could have made the Hulk into a dumb tank. It would've worked. I mean, that's what he is. And you did make him into a tank, but a super awesome one.

We didn't even see the big guy until halfway through the film, but two minutes into Mark Ruffalo's first scene (who, by the way, I might have to write another love letter to; he is now my favorite Bruce Banner of all time) you made sure we knew how scary the Hulk is. Not by telling us, not even with dialog, but by showing it on Black Widow's face when she was too afraid to put her gun down.

You could have done any of this. It's what's Hollywood has done with most superhero movies. And I forgive them, because the stories are fun and the heroes are awesome. But you? You made me fall in love with Thor and Hawkeye, characters I used to make fun of.

You have already had a significant influence over the novel that got me an agent. But now I'm going to watch everything of yours I can get my hands on. Thank you for influencing everything.

Sincerely,
Another Fan

23 comments:

linda said...

This post is AWESOME! Thanks for reminding me how great the Avengers movie was. I wasn't particularly interested in watching it at first (not a fan of superhero movies) but went with friends, and I was blown away by how amazing the characters and dialog were. Loved it! Yay Joss Whedon! (Tony Stark was the BEST!)

Matthew MacNish said...

I still haven't even seen this movie, but I completely understand everything you're saying.

Steph Sessa said...

Isn't Joss Whedon amazing??? (I think I need to go watch all of Firefly again...)

Rena said...

Here here! Can we start a campaign, Joss for President 2012?

Cap'n Heine said...

Upon watching it a second time, I still can't find a single flaw in the movie. I think the fact that Black Widow and Hawkeye were just as crucial as the rest, is my favorite thing Joss Whedon did right with this movie. I'd be super excited if there was a Black Widow/Hawkeye movie in the future now.

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

I'm already a Joss Whedon fangirl. Now, I'm a little scared to see this movie. It will probably turn me into one of those lunatics that stalks famous creative people and begs them to carve their initials on their arms.

jjdebenedictis said...

Can I cosign this letter? Because I'm not even into comic books or Joss Whedon and this movie had me fan-girling like it would buy me chocolate.

In particular, Loki was amazing. He didn't have half that much charisma in Thor--and he didn't turn into a cackling moustache-twirler, either, despite being a pretty amped-up character. Yes, that's great acting, but given how this performance compared to the one in Thor, it's also a case of great directing.

Squee, squee, squee.

Jemi Fraser said...

Awesome letter! I haven't seen Avengers yet - but I adore Firefly - so I'm sure I'll love this too! :)

Angela Brown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Angela Brown said...

So of course you've already devoured Firefly and Serenity like they were hors d'ouerves but I'm trying to think of what else by Joss Whedon to make sure I, too, take down into my mind and memorize scene by scene. I have yet to see The Avengers (trust, it is not a matter of not wanting to lol!!) yet I've heard a coworker, one of the hardest movie critics I know, swoon behind the writing for this movie. So Joss Whedon: I salute you!

Peggy Eddleman said...

This made me tear up. No joke. Before I even started to write, Joss taught me how to write through his commentaries. You can bet he's colored everything I've ever written to some degree or another!

I saw Avengers a second time, and it was EVEN BETTER than the first. That's when you know it's written incredibly!

Adam Heine said...

I know, right? I was expecting nothing from Widow/Hawk. And I got characters I actually cared about as much as, say, Thor.

Adam Heine said...

Yes! I admit I wasn't the biggest fan of Thor, but Avengers made both Thor and Loki even better.

Loki did do a little moustache-twirling, but then he always got p0wned somehow (Black Widow's "interrogation" and, obviously, the Hulk). Loved it.

jjdebenedictis said...

Oh, that particular Hulk-wrath moment was TEH BESTEST THING EVAH. Easily my favourite scene in the movie.

Myrna Foster said...

Oh, yeah. The part where Loki insults the Hulk is going to get watched over and over again when it comes out on DVD.

Stark definitely has the best lines, but even Loki has some great ones, like the part where Thor tells him to listen and then gets hauled off by Iron Man. So funny. Whedon even made me care about the agent no one liked by making a martyr of him.

Miriam Forster said...

Gah! I must see this movie!

Also, I saw you got a RAOK shoutout yesterday. Congrats!

vic caswell (aspiring-x) said...

amen.

Sarah Ahiers said...

man, this letter reminds me yet again why i loved the movie so much. I was chatting with a pal about how just amazed we were that the movie even existed in the first place - i mean, actually giving most of the heroes their own movies before sticking them into one big awesome event together?! That's like a comic reader's dream, and something we never thought would've ever happened. ANd then it did! AND IT WAS AMAZING! I've seen it twice and i totally want to see it again.

Emily White said...

Now I'm really dying to see this movie! I don't know if I can wait another hour!

Miss Jack Lewis Baillot said...

I second this! He. Is. AMAZING! That's about all there is to it.

Teebore said...

Great post! I'm a huge Whedon and comic book fan, and loved the movie. Like Sarah said, it's amazing that it exists at all, let alone was any good, but Whedon nailed it!

(By the way, I too was very pleased that the Hawkeye/Black Widow relationship wasn't a romantic one - what a pleasant surprise for a summer blockbuster! And the Gruffalo is easily my favorite Bruce Banner as well).

Tyrean Martinson said...

Awesome letter! I want to co-sign!

Jamie said...

Yes! I loved the movie and I love Whedon. He makes up for George Lucas turning out to be no kinds of awesome and ruining Star Wars for me.

If you haven't seen Firefly, watch immediately. And then Serenity, the movie spinoff. Oh heck, watch everything.