So I know I'm late to this (as I tend to be with movies), but dear America, can we please agree to let Joss Whedon make all your superhero movies in future until he's dead? I saw both The Avengers and The Cabin In The Woods this afternoon, and my conclusion is that Hollywood should just put itself on a silver platter and offer itself up as a sacrifice to Whedon immediately. Watched the former in a theatre with a handful of tweenagers. The girls in the row behind me, who couldn't have been older than 14, were clearly just hoping for Chris Evans to take his shirt off. (He didn't. There was practically no skin flashed in this movie, which considering the combined attractiveness of the cast, was no mean feat in itself.) They also clearly knew next to nothing about the Avengers, which is okay, since I'm not exactly 100% clued in either (always been more of an X-Men guy), but they kept us this running commentary of bewilderment. At one point, after a classic Whedonesque scene, one of them asked, 'What just happened?' Exact same question was asked again later by another one. Just watch the damn show and look everything up on Wikipedia later like the rest of us! Although I love how Whedon basically made a superhero film that simultaneously plays things straight and parodies the genre (right down to how characters behaved and interacted), my favourite moments were pretty much whenever Robert Downey Jr. spoke. I mean, I loved him as Sherlock, but if this is what Iron Man was like in both the movies that preceded The Avengers, I've clearly been missing out.
If the parodic nature of The Avengers could sail right over an audience (and rest assured, it definitely did for many people), no one could possibly have failed to realise what was up with The Cabin In The Woods. (I experienced a brief moment of hilarity when I realised that Chris Hemsworth was in this movie too.) With The Cabin In The Woods, the slasher film basically gets deconstructed, in a way that reminded me of how Community does its genre parodies with a wink and a nod. It's all wrapped up in a wacky cross between Whedon's Dollhouse (hello, Amy Acker!) and the supernatural elements of something like Stephen King's Pet Sematary or Clive Barker's Hellraiser (I hope at least someone else in the audience with me noted the resemblance of the item Hemsworth's character was handling to Lemarchand's box, before the appearance of the Pinhead-like character in the second half of the film). A bit too much is left unexplained by the end, regarding how the whole global outfit came into being, but that was okay, I guess. My point still stands. Hollywood, bow down to Whedon. Now. Between him and Dan Harmon, pop culture could be remade into something more intelligent than the cult of celebrity, I just know it!