The geek wing of pop culture has long since ceased to be the underdog, but it still seems like a strange kind of triumph that Joss Whedon—a man whose fervent fan base wasn’t enough to keep Firefly or Dollhouse on the air—was allowed to direct and write Marvel’s most strategically important movie, which went on to earn 1.5 billion dollars worldwide. Like Sam Raimi and Christopher Nolan before him, Whedon found a way to give a massive superhero franchise his own personal stamp, even if he had to squeeze his witty dialogue and intense character conflict in between a lot of lumbering blockbuster plotting. As Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, the Hulk, Hawkeye and Black Widow team up reluctantly to thwart an alien invasion, Whedon emphasizes their group dynamics, giving the heroes (and the actors) a chance to be funny and complicated. Whedon doesn’t fall short on the action end, either. The Avengers’ big final battle is at once thrilling, surprising, and rooted in character. The hype machine for modern blockbusters can be exhausting, but while The Avengers isn’t a great film, it’s highly entertaining, and offers plenty of reason to look forward to next summer’s sequel. In the meantime, the first film airs tonight at 8 p.m. Eastern on Epix3.
November 05, 2014 newsreel