I have been a fan of Joss Whedon for a while, and it has come to my attention that a lot of people haven’t known much about his work until his recent success with The Avengers. While I absolutely loved his work in the movie, it kind of makes me sad that some people only know him for that when he has done so much more amazing projects worth mentioning.

Some people may notice that The Avengers was above and beyond the usual super hero movie, but unless you’re a geek like me, you might not go home and think about that for days and try to pick apart every nuance of it. So here are a few reasons I came up with why this director surpasses many others.

1. He cares about his characters.

Character development is key in almost any Joss Whedon film/tv show. He pushes and stretches them until they are about to break and then he does it some more until they do. At that point, something real and true shines through that people can connect with.

In The Avengers, it’s obvious that he took the time to figure out each of these characters’ journeys individually. They spring to life on the film as conflicted human beings, much like ourselves. It’s easy to identify with their struggles, even though I’m sure none of us have actually been in any of their situations.

My favorite season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is season 6 when Buffy feels misplaced in her world. She battles apathy and does anything she can just to feel something, even if it’s not something that is good for her. I think that Joss Whedon really strikes a nerve there with a lot of people. That is a place in life that we all reach at some point, and he conveyed that experience brilliantly. Buffy is an awesome superhero, but it’s her struggles in her humanity that really set her off the charts.

2. His use of humor to lighten dark situations.

As a writer, let me just tell you how awesome this quality is. When I start writing a dramatic scene, I sometimes can get carried away with darkness of it. But Whedon is brilliant. I think it’s kind of his way of stepping back and not taking himself too seriously. It’s always at the most perfect moments.

In Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, one of the first scenes is of Billy (or Dr. Horrible) doing an evil laugh. Most people would just stop after that and let it chill you to the bone, but this character clumsily states “So that’s..you know…coming along.” I laughed so hard because immediately I could identify with this geeky character.

The Avengers had some really intense moments followed by a one liner that always sent the audience into hysterics. I won’t mention them in case you haven’t seen it.

3. He creates lovable villains.

Spike, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, is one of my favorite TV characters of all time. He comes across as really selfish, but he is hysterical in doing so. You love to hate him. But then he unveils this hidden complexity buried deep in his vampire heart, and he is completely redeemable in his undying love for Buffy. Plus, he is very comfortable as a villain, portraying himself as confident and cocky, two characteristics everyone loves in a good villain.

Loki from The Avengers was my favorite character in that film. He was so despicable that I found myself loving him every time he came on screen. Plus, his broken past gave his character an interesting depth. I hate when villains are just nasty. I like them to have a reason for being so, and Whedon never disappoints.

I couldn’t address all the amazing projects that Joss Whedon has worked on or all the amazing characters he has painstakingly crafted, but YOU can!

Who is your favorite Joss Whedon character? Which of Joss Whedon’s films/TV shows are the best?

Rachel M Taylor

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Rachel is a writer/director. She loves character driven movies and really good cheese.

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