The Avengers

How many superheroes does it take to change a light bulb? Umm, never been tested. How many does it take to change the face of comic book movies forever? Roughly six (plus a few friends), if The Avengers has anything to do with it.

“Marvel Studios are going to take all their top superheroes and put them all together in The Avengers?!” guffawed Robert Downey Jr. at this year’s Comic-Con. “That’s the most ambitious movie [concept] I’ve ever seen!” You don’t say. Uniting the iconic figureheads of Marvel’s best-loved stories was always going to be a tough task – damn near heroic in itself. Which perhaps accounts for its tentative slouch toward inception.

With Avenger stalwarts Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and Hulk all being introduced in their own individual movies (with helpers Nick Fury, Black Widow and Agent Coulson in the mix), Marvel’s plan was to ultimately smash them together in a tag-team big-screen blockbuster. But like the jazzy plotlines that said heroes spring from, the creation of the super-flick was never going to be straightforward.

Even Downey Jr. was dubious. “If we don’t get it right, it’s really going to suck,” he vexed in ’08. “It has to be the crowning blow of Marvel’s best and brightest, because it’s the hardest thing to get right. It’s tough to spin all the plates for one of these characters.”

Like DC’s long-winded hunt for an individual to reboot Superman (and they arguably didn’t get the movie they expected from Bryan Singer), Marvel struggled to land somebody who could boil so many clashing egos – not to mention hammers, metal suits and anger management problems – into a satisfactory two-hour film. But this July’s Comic-Con finally brought with it the announcement that Buffy man Joss Whedon had taken the throne.

“The thing that made me excited to do it was just how completely counterintuitive it is,” Whedon revealed. “It makes no sense. These people should not even be in the same room, let alone on the same team. And that, to me, is the very definition of family.”

Not only will Whedon be directing, he’ll also be polishing Zak Penn’s script. Meanwhile, the geek guru revealed his feelings on the sticky issue of 3D. “Honestly, I’m totally into it. I love it,” he enthused. “I think the technology is really good. It kind of puts you in the space. The thing is, if you are making an action movie, 3D lends itself to that anyway.”

Not content to simply divulge he was directing the film, Whedon also united his entire Avengers cast on stage for the first time at the Con. Alongside the expected regulars, he also wheeled out Jeremy Hurt Locker Renner as Hawkeye, while Mark Ruffalo confirmed that he is to tag the role of Bruce Banner from the departing Ed Norton. “I have had a dream all my life,” frothed Whedon. “And it was not this good!”

Which just leaves the villains. Is there even room for any? Onliners are currently debating whether The Skrulls (mean E.Ts) or Loki (Thor’s bad bro) will be stirring up trouble for the Avengers. Meanwhile, Whedon seems wholeheartedly up for the challenge. “When I write Tony Stark, or Steve Rogers, or any of these people, they sound like them, particularly because I already know who’s playing them.” So, Iron Man, Black Widow, Hulk, Captain America, Thor, Hawkeye… How many superheroes does it take to change the face of comic book movies forever? Six. Definitely six.

Via Total Film