Category Archives: Joss Whedon
Long and winding and fraught with bumps and pitfalls and massive industry, cultural, commercial and familial obstacles.
Resiliently plowing through these numerous impediments, Warner Brothers has finally made good on a long-standing promise to showcase the greatest heroes of pop culture on the silver screen – the comic book visages of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg, the Justice League, together for the first time.
It’s actually not technically the first time the Justice League has been together on screen. There have actually been numerous iterations of the group over the years. But the road taken for this particular Justice League, is an interesting one indeed.
To get to here, let’s take a quick look back at there, and all the previously mentioned hazards that nearly conquered the world’s greatest superheroes.
But then 2008 happened. Iron Man came out and walloped audiences at the end with an appearance by Samuel Jackson as Nick Fury and the introduction of the Avengers initiative. Rapid announcements of a series of Marvel movies came, and the concept of the Marvel Cinematic Universe began to take shape.
Last week, “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” did phenomenal numbers in the ratings. That was coming off of a lot of hype, and a lead-in that was basically the billion dollar big screen blockbuster, Marvel’s The Avengers. This week is the litmus test. Was it just a flash in the pan, or were the glowing reviews, including one right here. We’ll see how the second episode, “0-8-4,” rates, after the jump.
Marvel Comics’ ten-issue maxi-series Age of Ultron is over by a few weeks. The massive time travel epic that had the Avengers’ greatest enemy finally winning has come and gone – but what has really changed? And will there really be any change? You can read my thoughts after the jump.
Joss Whedon’s triumphant summer of Cabin in the Woods and The Avengers follows a line of thought that leads all the way back to the good old “Buffyverse”. Buffy the Vampire Slayer is all about the inversion of horror conventions. A diminutive blonde cheerleader is chased down a dark alley by a monster… only to pause, turn, raise an eyebrow, pull out a sharp object, and invert the monster’s conventions directly. In that vein, Angel takes the question in another direction: he *is* the monster, fighting other monsters, trying to make up for more than a century of chasing blonde cheerleaders down dark alleys.
Obviously, Buffy isn’t invincible. Lots of things can challenge Buffy: high school politics, standardized tests, the Patriarchy as represented by the Watchers. Eventually, these are overcome by the use of force, the support of friends, and a firm belief in one’s self. Angel uses a similar approach, though he is also conveniently immortal, and consequently emotionally insulated by 200 years of insight into the human condition. What is horror to a vampire?
This is obviously a question Joss Whedon asked again and again, but in the fifteenth episode of season 5 of Angel, “A Hole in the World”, he may have found the definitive answer.
Find out more after the jump!
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First off, if you had asked me a decade ago, two decades ago, even three decades ago, hell, let’s go there, I’m that old, or four decades ago, if I would ever live to see such an animal as an Avengers movie – a real mainstream big screen epic summer blockbuster Avengers movie – I would have laughed at you. And I am one of the biggest Avengers fans you’ll ever know. It is just not something I would have even dreamed possible. Add in the fact that it would be preceded by two Iron Man movies, two Hulk movies, a Thor, and a Captain America movie, and that it would have its own internal continuity – my mind would be blown.
We’ve been waiting for The Cabin in the Woods for a few years, right? Filmed three years ago, its release was delayed by the bankruptcy of MGM.
For a certain varieties of geeks, it’s a bit of a dream come true. Horror fans will find it to be a paean to their favourite genre, with plenty of scares and and gore to be found. Whedonites (guilty!) will be happy to see Jay Dub’s trademark dialogue and ability to poke holes in genre boxes. In addition, that strange breed of humanity that haunts TV Tropes will probably be all over this like flies on day old watermelon.
Alliance held a screening after Toronto ComicCon in March where a sold out crowd got to watch the film with director Drew Goddard (who is very tall, let me tell you), followed by a Q&A moderated by cinema guru Richard Crouse. That’s how I got to see it. It was uber-fun.
The film is at its core about what’s on the tin. It tells the story of five college students on their way to an old abandoned cabin in the woods. When they get there, horrible things happen. That’s all pretty much common sense, and easily gleanable from the title of the film and a basic knowledge of pop culture. But what follows will be considered spoilers. You can either ignore it and come back after you’ve seen it next weekend (and, yes, if nothing else I say registers, hear this: See it next weekend) or continue on in the interests of scientific inquiry.
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Is it me or does little bit more we see of The Avengers just make it appear to be that much cooler? The latest trailer is out, but this one is from Japan. In it, we get even more glimpses at the alien invaders, Hawkeye, the Helicarrier and more. Check it out and then check how many more days we’ve got until May 4th!
As madness goes, this is a sad one. When Andy asked me to put forth some suggestions for those in popular culture whom I found interesting and stark-raving mad, the first person who came to mind was the pixie-ish River Tam.
For those who don’t know the cult favourite science-fiction western Firefly (and its later feature-length film, Serenity), River Tam is the genius and psychotic sister of Serenity’s doctor, Simon Tam. Simon risked his life and destroyed his standing in society, as well as divorcing himself entirely from his family, in order to save his sister from the clutches of a corrupt and monstrously bureaucratic government. She was supposed to be at a school for the gifted; she was supposed to be safe; everything was supposed to be wonderful for the young woman’s future.
Apparently “supposed to” means nothing in the universe of Firefly. Instead of being sent to a school for gifted children, River is instead experimented on time and time again because she displays some psychic ability. Read the rest of this entry
In 2005 Joss Whedon, the mastermind behind the iconic Buffy The Vampire Slayer, was sent to write and direct the first big screen adaptation of the one and only Wonder Woman. Sure, the most powerful woman in the world has been brought to life before on television, portrayed by the lovely and talented Linda Carter, but never had the Amazonian princess made it to the movies. Seeing what Whedon had accomplished with the girl power friendly Buffy Summers, it seemed as though he would be the perfect guy to finally make a Wonder Woman film. But after two years of work without any sort of finished script, Whedon left the project. According to an interview with AV Club, the powers that be at Warner Brothers didn’t like the outline he presented for the film. Said Whedon “The lack of enthusiasm was overwhelming. It was almost staggering, and that was kind of from the beginning.” Subsequent screenwriters have taken a shot, and while Wonder Woman continues to be viewed as a priority for the studio, it seems as though nothing is forthcoming.
While it would have been interesting to see what Joss Whedon would have come up with, it’s not surprising that Wonder Woman has had such a tough time getting her story off the ground. One of the main problems is that there just isn’t a defining villain or storyline that makes for a compelling Wonder Woman tale. Can you name anyone in Wonder Woman’s rogues gallery? Non-comic fans know who The Joker is, they know who the Green Goblin, Doc Ock, and The Sandman are. Me, I don’t have a clue who Wonder Woman’s arch nemesis is, and I read comics all the time. Add in the fact that on the surface Princess Diana appears to be a fairly one dimensional character, and it’s easy to see why few can muster up much enthusiasm for the film project.
And then I watched the recently released Warner Brothers/DC straight-to-DVD animated feature Wonder Woman. Cue angels and trumpets, because there’s your movie, right there, under our noses and on our tv screens.
Written by Wonder Woman comic scribe Gail Simone and Michael Jelenic and starring Keri Russel as the voice of Wonder Woman, the animated film tells the story of Princess Diana’s first meeting with pilot Steve Trevor, who crash lands on the Amazon’s island of Themyscira, which has been hidden from the rest of the world for centuries. Diana must bring Trevor back to man’s world, where she must also battle Ares, the God of War, who has escaped from his prison back on Themyscrira and is determined to rule the world.
As the Queen and I watched the 75-minute film the other night, I kept commenting to her “this would make an awesome movie!” And it really would. It had it all. Conflict between the sexes, conflict between the Amazons. A badass villain in Ares, with a special trip to Hell to mingle with Hades. Simone and Jelenic did an amazing job of making Wonder Woman’s world a compelling one to visit. In fact, while it may be the fourth in DC’s animated features (following Superman:Doomsday, Justice League: The New Frontier, and Batman: Gotham Knight), there’s no question in my mind that Wonder Woman is the best of them all. The voice work is solid, the animation is flawless, but it’s the story that makes it all worth watching. And who would have thought that about Wonder Woman.
For those that have been waiting for Wonder Woman to make it to the big screen, fear not, for the ingredients for a great live action film are all there in the animated feature; it’s just waiting for the right person to come along and give the Amazonian princess flesh and blood.