An Open Letter to the Great Joss Whedon

744349_640x640wcAvast! There be Spoilers Here! And possibly some very unpopular opinions about a current box office mega-hit! Very, very unpopular. You’ve been warned!

Dear Joss,

 

I’m such a big fan! My daughter and I grew to love your writing while watching Buffy and Angel together. Such funny, smart stuff that even a mom could appreciate the teen angst. Great characters, heroes and heroines, great fight scenes – and the sarcasm! Fantastic! Sure, there were misses. But, geez, you had a long run there, and a few misses among the masterpieces are easy to forget. Although, the Adam storyline… well. We’ll say no more about that.

And then, Firefly! Oh, I wrote my share of letters to Fox when they screwed all of us over, let me tell you. A true tragedy that we didn’t get years and years of the adventures of Captain Tightpants and his crew of misfits. You were certainly ahead of your time.

And then I find that you’re writing the first Avengers movie. I was over the moon! And you didn’t disappoint, did you? It was funny, it was angsty, it was filled with teamy goodness. I’ve been a Marvel comic book fan since my girlhood – always loved the Avengers – so this was a marriage made in heaven for me. You + Hawkeye + Black Widow + the rest of them = genius! I was sad that Hawkeye didn’t get to do much in movie #1, but I had faith. And the funny moments? No one will ever forget the Hulk slamming Loki into the floor. “Puny god.” I’m pretty sure I was not the only one snorting Coca-Cola out of my nose.

So it is with a heavy heart that I pen this letter after my second viewing of Avengers 2, or, as I like to call it, Buffy and Angel, the Greener Years.

First and foremost, I regret your clear case of retrograde amnesia. How much of your life have you forgotten? Obviously, there is some lasting damage, as you’ve forgotten that Clint had no family to worry about or ask about or be in the least little bit concerned about in A1. Or that Black Widow was wearing an arrow necklace, a token of her man, throughout Captain America 2. Or that they both are actually superheroes and not Buffy and Xander reincarnated. Or that Black Widow is not a damsel in distress whose most terrible memory/regret from the Red Room is that she can’t have babies with her man.

Your amnesia must be a horrible burden, just as you’ve burdened us with a re-do of your Buffy/Angel trope that the woman must never get to, er, consummate her romance with her man because he’ll turn into a monster. Vampire or Hulk, a monster is a monster. I hope Mark Ruffalo didn’t mind being relegated to sad faces and David Boreanaz’s re-worked dialogue. Weird that your mind keeps coming back to this teen angst, even in your tender state. You’ll laugh, but, honestly, after Natasha stared at that wall for a long time because her man done gone away, I was waiting for her to say, “Fire bad, tree pretty.” If the Hulk ends up in LA battling an evil law firm, well, won’t that be a surprise?

I was happy to see Spike and Drusilla again! They were some of my favorite bad guys who turned into not so bad guys! Sure, they have new names – Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch – but the hair and the bad accents, well, they were a dead giveaway! Although, I was a little confused – or you were – to find that the Scarlet Witch turned into Willow in the middle of the flick. What with the red eyes, red hair, magic, and total meltdown and revenge-mode when her buddy got whacked.

Then there’s Hawkeye. Did I mention that Xander was always my favorite? The heart of the team, the only one who didn’t have any super powers, just fixed the furniture and remodeled the Summers’ house whenever it was wrecked. I did have a bit of a moment when Hawkeye walked in on his very sudden family – shades of Dawn! Is Laura going to turn out to be some kind of mystical key? I have to say that I sure hope so because that would be the least depressing explanation for this madness. And, yikes, the name of the character is just a little on the nose, isn’t it? Xander, the one who “watches,” and with his one eye, and Hawkeye, the guy with the amazing vision? It is kind of a shame that The Amazing Hawkeye now is stuck babysitting and remodeling the dining room instead of actually being considered a founding member of the Avengers. Coulson must be rolling in his not-grave for recruiting the guy. Unless he did all his house repairs on the cheap.

About halfway through your trip down memory lane, I was honestly wishing Faith would appear. You know, like in Season 7? The one with all the Potentials and the time-outs for speeches? For long, boring monologues on the part of the main characters? And then Faith calls Buffy on it, rolling her eyes and taking everyone out for tequila?? Yeah, I really missed that character, because you sure made time for the speechifying, didn’t you? And, frankly, we all could have used that tequila. Adam, er, I mean Ultron made speeches. Spike/Pietro made speeches. The Vision made speeches. Giles, er, I mean Fury made speeches. Yikes.

But, hey, Buffy was a wonderful era, so I don’t wonder that your mind is kind of stuck back there. I hope you get help, soon. Especially as this was supposed to be Avengers 2, so somewhat of a sequel to the first movie. The movie where Black Widow didn’t get kidnapped so that her man could rescue her, she got kidnapped as a plan of her own to get information out of her targets and then managed to beat them to a pulp and rescue herself. Where Fury was a badass and not a kind, gentle mentor who truly “cared” about his team. Where mind control was used against the team by a sarcastic, larger-than-life bad guy. Where Tony and Steve argue and fight until they realize they are, after all, on the same side. So, been there – done that.

The loss must be very painful. I hope all the money you’re making from the fans who were actually hoping for a sequel, with grown-up men and women – superheroes – not shabbily re-written teen angst eases your pain.

Still a fan,

 Me

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4 thoughts on “An Open Letter to the Great Joss Whedon

  1. Benjamin Elliott says:

    Hi Mary! That was a well-written review. It gets you thinking.

    You mentioned that Black Widow wore an arrow necklace in The Winter Soldier, but in Age Of Ultron she knew all along that Hawkeye was married and her romantic interest was in Bruce Banner, with no sign that she carried a torch for the Arrow (Your Continuity Has Failed This Movie!).

    While Marvel claims that It’s All Connected and Joss Whedon was in charge of all of the Phase 2 movies, I wonder if he and the Russo Brothers (who were making Winter Soldier, and will be making Civil War and Infinity War) actually compared notes very often. Could everyone have been too busy making their own movies to check on the other movies? Should the person overseeing continuity be a person NOT making the films, to let the film-makers avoid burnout?

    I’m reminded of the Doctor Who stories School Reunion and The Girl In The Fireplace. School Reunion (the one with the return of Sarah Jane Smith and K9) had a subplot where Rose and Mickey were bickering, barely a couple, setting up their breakup 3 episodes later. In The Girl In The Fireplace (the one with Marie Antoinette), they are a well-adjusted couple, without bickering beyond normal plot busines. Bickering and resentment returned the next week in Rise Of The Cybermen. The writer of Girl In The Fireplace (Steven Moffat – now in charge of Doctor Who) said then that he was unaware of the Rose/Mickey plotline when writing his episode. He would have included it had he known. Was it the responsibility of Russell T Davies (guy in charge of Doctor Who then) or the writers of the episodes to figure out Who’s Continuity Is It, Anyway? Or do we just go “it’s okay” and move on? (The more expensive it is, the more nitpicking seems okay.)

    I did wonder through Age Of Ultron “why didn’t she come up when Hawkeye was mind controlled” and “wouldn’t she be annoyed by his habit of sleeping upside down from the rafters instead of in bed”. And of course “is she in the movie so that Ultron can kill somebody in a tragic manner who won’t return from the grave”.

    One final opinion – even if Ultron filled the role of Adam the monster from Buffy, he was more enjoyable to watch and his monologues were better.

    BFE

  2. marzipan77 says:

    Benjamin, it’s the Continuity Wheel of Fortune! Granted, these movie makers have a lot of different comics worlds to draw from, but let’s have a little mercy on the viewers! Hawkeye’s wife comes from the Ultimates Universe which is much darker and nastier than these fun-filled frolics. But we know we’re heading for Civil War in A3, a universe of it’s own. If they’re going to keep pulling from here and there to make whichever writer/director is at the helm happy, we’re going to be spinning on our ears. And Ronin!

    BTW, not sure if I agree about Ultron being better than Adam, except in the special effects department. Both were overweening speech-makers who wanted to annihilate mankind. Yawn.

  3. I haven’t seen the movie yet but i may just do it after reading this. Outside of that alien movie joss whedon has never disapointed.

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