Translated by George Hyde
Looking back at George’s last film reviews over the past year, it’s clear that he’s a bit of a Marvel nut. It’s the closest thing to an ongoing “series” that he’s really into, and just about every Marvel film he’s covered since “The Avengers” has been covered with a ton of enthusiasm. But why?
I think it’s a surprise to no one that superhero movies are a hot ticket right now. “Avengers: Age of Ultron” is one of the most highly anticipated films in recent memory, and “Guardians of the Galaxy” is right around the corner.
In fact, it was when George and I saw the “Guardians of the Galaxy” trailer in theaters that we thought, “Just how popular could a relatively obscure source like this be?”
George grew up in a household in love with comic books. His father raised him on the likes of Batman and Superman, and the whole family has fond memories of that old comic shop they used to run. So his family is pretty well-versed in the “Avengers” mythos, and they’re all really excited for what Marvel has in store when it comes to films. But what about others?
“Geek culture,” as the hip kids call it these days, is pretty much pop culture at this point, but it wasn’t always pop culture. While George certainly wasn’t the only one who was raised in a nerdy home, his case also wasn’t that common.
And when George left the theater one day, he saw a person in front of the “Guardians of the Galaxy” poster, pondering just what on earth this movie is supposed to be based on.
See, everyone knows Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and the Hulk, but get any deeper than that, and the average Joe with little comic literacy starts getting confused.
So why, then, are these movies still anticipated? Because they obviously are.
Well, for that, I offer two words: Joss Whedon.
Joss Whedon, also known by many as a writing and filmmaking god among men, has produced cult hits like “Firefly” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” Those are all well and good, but he didn’t really hit the big time until he directed “The Avengers,” which the entire world fell in love with. And now, every Marvel film tries to emulate his style. And it really works.
Think back to before “The Avengers.” The only real memorable film in the “Avengers” saga at that point was the first “Iron Man” film, and most Marvel films between that and “The Avengers” have been seen as generally mediocre. They took themselves a tad too seriously, and the characters and plots felt a bit cliche.
And now, along comes Whedon, with his well-written characters and excitement-inducing action, and it becomes a monster hit. And every film since then, whether they had anything to do with Whedon or not, has borrowed from Whedon’s style. And they’re all great now!
Whedon’s style revolves around characters. Every one of his works, from “Firefly” to “Buffy,” and from “Dr. Horrible” to “The Avengers,” is memorable because they all feature well-written and sympathetic characters. That’s why Marvel is successful when other features like the upcoming “Batman v Superman” are seen with skepticism. Audiences know that when they go to a Marvel film, they can expect that Whedon style, whether Whedon is involved or not. And they often get it.
And that’s why I think “Guardians of the Galaxy” is going to do very well at the box office when it comes out. Audiences aren’t going because “Guardians of the Galaxy” is a recognizable name or anything. They’re going because they expect great characterization and writing, and that’s likely what they’re going to get.
Aaaand it looks like I’ve spent a whole article ranting about how awesome Joss Whedon is. This is what happens when you hang around George for too long. I guess I can’t complain, though.
RESISTANCE IS FUTILE. EMBRACE THE SEAWOLF SLUG.