The always helpful Joss Whedon talked to Vulture about “The Avengers,” amongst other things (those other things would be his deal with Marvel to do a S.H.I.E.L.D. centered series). So what did he have to say?
Well, you know that deleted Maria Hill opening sequence that was circulating this week? Here’s why they cut it:
Two factors. One: The movie was three hours long. Two: Audiences didn’t respond to it as well in the movie as I think they would as a DVD extra. Most of them didn’t know who this character was or what the context was, and they were like, Uhhh, I don’t know why I’m supposed to be personally involved in this character I don’t know.The rollout to the Avengers getting to Loki was so gradual that people were getting restless. I thought Cobie nailed it, and the reason I thought it was necessary is because I was trying to make a war movie and I wanted to give context that something bad had happened in the past. In a war movie, you don’t know who’s going to live or die, but you do know that this war happened and that [the characters] are going to be in a dire circumstance, and I wanted to create that atmosphere.
I was able to get what I needed without doing that. It was tough. I hated cutting it. I hated cutting the Captain America stuff with the waitress. At least I was able to call Ashley Johnson [who plays the waitress] and tell her that all her stuff was still in Much Ado About Nothing, since she had been cut out of Dollhouse, she had been cut out of The Avengers: “I swear you’re still in the Shakespeare movie!” You know, those bits had seemed very personal to me, and part of doing Much Ado was that I could go back to The Avengers and say, “Oh, it’s not about me. Even though its my film, it’s about the Avengers. I am less important than the needs of the film.”
Big applause for reason number one–very, very few movies need to be three hours long.
And how about this quote from Whedon?
I don’t think it’s a perfect movie. I don’t even think it’s a great movie. I think it’s a great time, and I’m proud of it, but for me, what was exciting is that people don’t go to see a movie that many times unless it’s pulling on something from within, unless there’s a need there. That’s very gratifying.
I think that’s an accurate assessment. There’s nothing wrong with being a movie that people just enjoy, with no greater meaning than that. But it’s kind of deflating for anyone who was ready to swear the movie was one of the all-time greats.
Read the rest of the interview here.