Joss Whedon gets group dynamics. He knows how to play characters and personalities off one another for maximum drama and humor because he understands his protagonists. One minute he has audiences laughing at situations or dialog that both draw from and adds to his characters (rather than handing over jokes that demonstrate how clever the writer is) and moments later he pushes crowds close to tears with indelible moments, also based on the people in the story.

The Avengers movie plays to his strengths with its array of gods, monsters and playboys. Among the menagerie, he even manages to make an acceptable character out of Scarlet Johanssonโ€™s Black Widow, making her much more than the token hot woman in leather. With Whedonโ€™s gift with female characters, perhaps this group could use a Wasp or a Scarlet Witch down the road. Or maybe a She-Hulk.

Even without the directorโ€™s guiding hand, Marvel Studios has delivered on the seemingly impossible. In a comic book, unrestrained by budgets, its easy to throw characters together and create an all-star team. But to take blockbuster franchise films and stir them all together where budgets and egos can get it the way, is something of a miracle. But Whedon takes the thrilling premise and delivers charm and dimensional characters with conflict and big battles. The talent seems to have bought in, doubtless helped by knowing the plan from the beginning, and the ultimate superhero teams comes alive. Continue reading “Film Friday: ‘Avengers’ movie succeeds despite shortcomings”