"Apart from being supersmart, Joss Whedon has the perfect credentials to write and direct a colossal commercial construct like Marvel's The Avengers," begins David Edelstein in this week's New York. "He plainly loves the opportunity to put these comic-book icons — Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), Captain America (Chris Evans), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) — in one room and let them hang out, spar (with words as well as hammers, shields, etc), and weigh the merits of individualism versus teamwork. Really — debate is as important to him as 'Hulk, smash!' The movie would be all over the place if not for Whedon's centrifugal seriousness. And it would be overbearingly pompous if not for his nifty ability to spoof his subjects without devaluing them. Like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and other Whedon wonders, The Avengers is both campy and reverential."
The Avengers, slated to open in the US on Friday, opened over the weekend in the UK as Avengers Assemble and in Europe under a slew of other titles, so I can point you to a batch of further reviews: Nicholas Barber (Independent), Peter Bradshaw (Guardian, 4/5), Camille Brunel (Independencia, 3.3/10), Robbie Collin (Telegraph, 4/5), Adam Lee Davies (Little White Lies), Philip French (Observer), Todd Gilchrist (Playlist, B), Roderick Heath (Ferdy on Films), Tom Huddleston (Time Out London, 4/5; Jessica Hundley interviews Whedon), Eric Kohn (indieWIRE), Kit MacFarlane (PopMatters) and Emma Simmonds (Arts Desk). And PopMatters has a new book coming out, Joss Whedon: The Complete Companion; click the title to read several sample articles.
The Los Angeles Times has posted its summer movie preview package, which includes Geoff Boucher's visit to the set of Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises, his chat with Denis Leary about The Amazing Spider-Man, Gina McIntyre's report from the set of Timur Bekmambetov's Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter in New Orleans and more. There's also Boucher's report on the making of The Avengers and another one on Ridley Scott's Prometheus, so here's the new trailer that popped up over the weekend, it's relatively long and some claim it's also slightly spoilery:
In other news. Besides adding seven new titles to the lineup, the Cannes Film Festival's also announced today that Philip Kaufman, Alexandre Desplat and Norman Lloyd will be conducing Masterclasses.
Reading. Reverse Shot wraps its Spielberg issue with Jeff Reichert on The Adventures of Tintin and Michael Koresky on War Horse.
In the works. "The English National Opera is set to stage a series of new works next year including a Philip Glass opera about the last days of Walt Disney and an experimental piece scripted by Cloud Atlas author David Mitchell," reports Nick Clark for the Independent. Via the Playlist.
Also, Oliver Lyttelton: "In an interview with the Observer, [Mia] Hansen-Løve tells Jason Solomons that her next film will be an epic romance set against the backdrop of the French music scene of the 1990s, which spawned artists like Daft Punk and Mr Oizo."