Joss Whedon fans rejoice! The creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the director of The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron, is returning to comic book movies, and will be helming an upcoming Batgirl movie for DC!
So what’s not to love? Fans of Joss Whedon’s sarcastic wit and his attention to comic book detail make him a perfect fit for the new movie about Barbara Gordon, which will be adapted from the New 52 version of the character that aimed to make Batgirl more relatable and human.
DC are no doubt thrilled at nabbing Joss, who has seemingly burned his bridges with Marvel after studio interference on Age of Ultron left the director feeling frustrated. This points towards DC’s plan to become more like Marvel in terms of their filmmaking tone, and the movie will likely reflect a lighter, more comedic tone for the DCEU.
But before we get too excited, it’s important to remember that in the age of the internet, no good idea goes unpunished. As many fans as Joss Whedon might have (we’re definitely among them), some fans are already noting some key reasons why this movie might not be the fantastic adventure we’re hoping for.
Sorry, Joss. Here are five reasons why your movie is bad for comic book films as a whole:
1. It Hurts Female Directors
You can say what you like about DC, but at least they’ve beaten Marvel to the punch in releasing a female-led, female-directed superhero movie. Interestingly, Wonder Woman, which will release later this year, was directed by Patty Jenkins, who was initially intended to helm Thor: The Dark World – it seems DC likes grabbing slighted Marvel directors for their female-driven movies.
Joss Whedon is a feminist who has created some of the most iconic superhuman female characters in pop culture, including Buffy, and River Tam from Firefly. So why does his appointment hurt female directors?
This tweet probably sums it up best:
"film about woman hero from male-dominated comics, ideal to be directed by a woman in this male-dominated film industry"
Joss Whedon: pic.twitter.com/4CnGrMTuJ5
— Laura Sneddon (@thalestral) March 30, 2017
The Batgirl movie is a project which could have gone to a female director who needs attention to help build her career. Instead, it’ll be just another notch on the belt of an already incredibly prolific male director.
Joss’ success is hardly his fault, but that hasn’t stopped some comic book movie fans from crying foul.
2. No New Joss Whedon Stuff
Not a day goes by that someone, somewhere on the internet wishes that Firefly would come back. Similarly, people are still discovering Doctor Horrible’s Singalong Blog and are joining the growing fan community who are desperate for a sequel. Then there are those of us who’d love to see some fresh new ideas from a creator who’s proven capable of reinventing genres whenever he stretches his grey matter a bit.
Seeing Joss tied down to another established comic book character, in a universe designed by Zack Snyder, means missing out on all the fun, quirky, new ideas Joss could be producing instead.
And speaking of Zack Snyder…
3. Joss Doesn’t Fit the DCEU
DC have made it as clear as they can that their grimdark, overly gritty, washed out movie universe is going to take a right turn into colorsville soon. With Lego Batman director Chris McKay tackling a Nightwing movie, and Dwayne Johnson waxing lyrical about how his Shazam! movie will be “optimistic and FUN”, it’s clear that DC is about to make some changes.
But steering from the dour, nihilistic stylings of Zack Snyder, into the colorful, campy, over-the-top comedic joy of a Joss Whedon movie is going to be a bit of a stretch. It’s not like Matt Reeves’ The Batman is going to be a walk in the park thematically, either, which means that the DCEU is about to end up even more tonally confused than ever, as disparate directors all bring a mishmash of different styles to the table.
You can say what you like about Marvel, at least their movies are consistent. Throwing Joss Whedon into the DC mix is like getting Taylor Swift to sing as the warmup act at a Metallica concert.
4. Joss Has Been Burnt Before
Joss Whedon seems like a sucker for punishment. After Firefly was cancelled by Fox, Whedon swore he’d never work with the company again – until a few years later, when his new show, Dollhouse, was cancelled too.
Now, after ditching Marvel over concerns that the studio messed with Age of Ultron too much, Whedon has moved to another studio which has an even worse reputation for belittling their directors. The Flash has had three directors at different times, The Batman is on its second director, and David Ayer was reportedly booted from Suicide Squad when the studio wasn’t happy with his work.
Unless Whedon manages to secure creative freedom on the project, Batgirl may end up frustrating him even more than Age of Ultron.
5. Actually, I’ve Run Out Of Bad Things To Say
I give up. Who am I kidding? I’m absolutely thrilled by the prospect of a Joss Whedon-led Batgirl movie.
Fans of the director’s work will similarly be hugely excited by seeing Whedon return to comic book movies, and with a property that matters so much to the future of the DCEU. Among those who truly appreciate Whedon’s work, this new movie seems like the perfect opportunity to rethink our hesitancy about the DC movie universe.
It might be the case that Joss opens the floodgates for directors, creators, and actors to move more freely between Marvel and DC, allowing for less restrictive competition between the two studios, and helping to make all comic book movies better.
Either way, for those of us who enjoy Whedon’s work, this is a dream come true – despite all the ways this could go horribly wrong.