I finally saw The Avengers this weekend; I can’t believe I managed to wait this long. It was everything I’d hoped for: Tony Stark was snarky, there were lots of explosions, and it all looked really cool. With all the hype around the film, I’m not sure I can say anything that hasn’t been said already. However, I do want to talk about Joss Whedon, because I firmly believe there can never be enough said about Joss Whedon.
In case you swim in less nerdy waters and have missed out, Joss Whedon is a genius. The creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, and Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog (to name a just a few), he’s known for his snappy dialogue, brilliant plot twists, and a nasty habit of killing characters you love when you least expect. And if you aren’t familiar with him, The Avengers was classic Joss Whedon.
Above anything, Joss writes astounding dialogue. It’s probably safe to say I was the only one in the entire
theater thinking “Wow, what a great line!” amid all the fighting and exploding. But it’s true, his one liners are witty and funny without being cheesy. He’s a master of timing, creating the perfect effect with a well timed jibe or something as simple as an omitted word (“It’s okay, boss. This was never going to work… if they didn’t have something… to…”). He can trick an audience into caring for a previously peripheral character with just a few well places details. He can switch from heartfelt to funny and back so fast you get emotional whiplash.
Now, the English major in me wants to give detailed examples, quotes with page numbers and the appropriate citations. But the spoiler-obsessed nerd in me doesn’t want to ruin anything for those who haven’t seen it yet. Plus, I’m already gushing, I wouldn’t want to go overboard. So for now I’ll try to reign in my English impulses.
However, I do want to assign some homework. If you haven’t ever seen anything by Joss before, go to Amazon or Netflix or even Blockbuster, if you still haunt its forlorn aisles, and rent something from him. Whatever your medium, you can learn a few things from Joss. Fair warning: he will break your heart and make you angry. But from the stories he crafts to his characters he convinces you to love, it’s worth it.