As a Joss Whedon fan I’ll fully admit that the concept lends itself to parody (and self-parody), but I am cautiously optimistic. For one thing, Robert Downey Jr. is going to make a twelve-course meal out of those snappy Whedonisms, so that alone will likely be worth the ticket price.
But beyond that, there’s another reason why I think the Whedon pick was a smart move. Making a good The Avengers movie is a tricky balancing act in that you’re dealing with two audiences: one that’s familiar with all the characters, and another who is going to be introduced to many of them–or at least their cinematic incarnations–for the first time. With the first ten minutes of the movie Serenity–based on, as most of you should know, the beloved and prematurely canceled TV space opera Firefly–Whedon demonstrated that he could introduce a bunch of previously developed characters and relationships in a way that both catches up newcomers and avoids boring fanboys and -girls with clunky exposition.
Seriously, those first ten minutes are a wonder of economical storytelling. And that’s one trait The Avengers will require in spades.
UPDATE: By the way, I should credit Shani of PostBourgie of providing some of the inspiration for this post. And while we’re on the subject of potential for self-parody, if someone spontaneously turns evil, or falls in love with a Skrull or something, I’m going to be pissed. I do, however, fully encourage Whedon to play up the homoerotic tension between Captain America and Bucky.
And Thor and the world.