Like most geeks, I saw The Avengers opening weekend. Like many geeks, I saw it more than once. Yes, it was that good. I did not know if it was going to be good. I was hesitantly pessimistic, but after 99% glowing reviews from people I know (some of whom I actually trust), I gave it a try.
Pessimistic, I say? But how? It's superheroes. It's Joss Whedon! It's Marvel!
Exactly. Marvel has a good way of ignoring professionals who know movies and know how to make movies to do what they think the audience wants. Need examples from this decade (ignoring older disasters that are easy picking)? I give you Spider-Man 3 and Iron Man 2. Both had so much potential and both were wasted by Marvel demanding the directors do things their way, which proved not to be a very good way.
But Whedon is at the helm! This time will be different! Okay, A) the fact that he didn't leave/get fired from the project means he's playing nice, so don't think Marvel didn't have some say in the process (the alien invasion? all their doing). Moreover, is Joss as deserving of praise as we give him? I love his properties (especially Firefly), but they push the super-powered teen girl repeatedly. Can he do something like the Avengers without turning the Black Widow into Buffy?
Well, turns out, he can. Now, if you don't like Joss Whedon as a writer or filmmaker, then you won't like this movie. The dialogue is very clearly his. Yes, Stark, Cap, Banner, and Thor all have their own voices, but they are also expert witty banterers in that way Whedon excels at. I don't mind it. Some people do. It's a matter of preference.
The voice is what makes the movie worth watching, though. If you want to watch the big fightemup beatemup battle against the two-dimensional alien invaders, go watch a Transformers. If you want to watch what is perhaps the best rendition of Bruce Banner, then you have to go see Mark Ruffalo (who took my favorite character and made him the best he's ever been--even better than Bill Bixby! I'll go there). You have an ensemble cast of super-heroes that have no reason for being together that need to be together. It's a daunting task that had every reason to fail. It's master writing that made it even passable and Whedon made it awesome.
I never fully drank his kool-aid (I don't think Firefly would have been the amazing show it was without Tim Minear), but this movie really won me over to just how talented he is. I hope I can excel in my own field in a similar fashion.