With the end of the semester on the Titans’ doorstep, the summer blockbusters are quickly hitting theaters, but what appears to be the one to beat this summer is Marvel’s The Avengers, which has made over $1 billion worldwide in a little more than a week and has set North American box-office history for the biggest opening debut with a weekend gross of more than $207.4 million.
The vision behind the film comes from none other than television and movie director Joss Whedon.
The Avengers tells the story of a team of super humans brought together by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., an international peacekeeping agency.
Well-known characters Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans), Dr. Bruce Banner/the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) make the Avengers team.
What’s very different about this film is that each one of these characters has their own respective plot line outside of this production, their own films and many years of being used as comic book characters. The team itself made their first appearance in September of 1963 when The Avengers #1 was published, originally created by writer/editor Stan Lee and artist/co-plotter Jack Kirby.
After nearly 50 years of devoted fandom, Whedon was entrusted with the task of bringing this story to life. Having already worked on Thor (2011) and Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), he said that melding into the brand of other Marvel Studios directors for this film wasn’t too far off from his own style.
“There’s no way you could make a movie that looked like a Jon Favreau, Kenneth Branagh, Joe Johnston, Louis Leterrier movie. You have to take from each of them the thing that is useful and will jive with the rest of them,” Whedon said. “I tend to be a tiny bit florid with my camerawork and my dialogue, but hopefully in a way that feels like a realistic version of a comic book universe.”
But at the end of the day, the real version that mattered was that of Whedon’s. His vision was ultimately how Marvel came to pick him to direct The Avengers, he said.
“I think Marvel has a great nose for a director who has a passionate vision, who’s not famous for turning out big-budget hits, but will bring something a little bit fresh to the concept of a hero movie. It’s one of the things that I respect the most about them,” he said.
And for those who aspire to sit in the director’s chair one day, Whedon offers this piece of advice.
“We live in an age where anybody can make a movie. If you have a phone, you can make a movie. OK, maybe not a huge movie, maybe phone-sized, but it’s there,” Whedon said. “Things are different now, and the best way to get your work out there is not just as an offering to somebody else to hope they’ll make it, but to show yourself as a filmmaker, and to learn as a filmmaker is just (to) make movies. There’s no excuse not to now.”
With inspiration and passion on his side, it is no wonder Whedon was able to create such a huge film. The Avengers is available in 2-D and 3-D viewing nationwide.