X-Men: Dickish Dialogue
Before he was a big 'third biggest movie of all time' director hotshot, Whedon slowly muscled his way into Hollywood by polishing other's scripts. While Bryan Singer's X-Men was a veritable success all its own, there are a couple of unforgettable moments that came courtesy of Whedon's penmanship.
First, the good - nay, amazing. Whedon was able to sum up the entirety of the Cyclops/Wolverine love/hate relationship with one simple exchange. After Wolverine returns from fighting shapeshifter Mystique, he has to prove he is who he says he is.
Wolverine: "Hey hey - it's me."
Cyclops: "Prove it."
Wolverine: "You're a dick."
On the not so great side, he also came up with this amazing stinker, as Storm tries to appear bad-ass (and fails miserably) in a battle with Toad.
Storm: "Do you know what happens to a toad when it's struck by lightning?"
*dramatic pause/audience bewilderment*
Storm: "The same thing that happens to everything else."
Avengers Assemble - Shakespeare in the Park
Avengers Assemble could have been an unholy, ridiculously convoluted mess. So it's a massive testament to Whedon - who not only directed, but wrote the screenplay - that he not only balanced each character's screentime, but nailed their voices so effectively - all the while infusing them with his own trademark wit.
Case in point, the first coming together/insane fight-off between the Avengers' triumvirate of awesome - Captain America, Thor and Iron Man.
While the whole scene bristles with super-powered tension, it's his quips that make the coming together of these three seem so instantly at odds and yet familiar.
Case in point, this insta-classic line from Iron Man to Thor, which Downey Jr. nails with perfect snark:
"Shakespeare in the Park? Doth mother know you weareth her drapes?"
Serenity - Wash :(
Damn you Whedon. NOT AGAIN.
If it's one thing Whedon does better than crafting loveable characters, it's torturing them (and the audience). Knowing from his TV work that he has a habit of killing off fan-favourites, audiences were probably bracing themselves for a cast death or two in Firefly 's migration to the big screen.
But - *SPOILER ALERT* - Wash? Really?! After crash-landing the whole crew and ship safely, his victory is snatched so cruelly away from him - mid-poetic sentence! - by a violent attack by a bunch of Reavers.
Not only was it a breathtakingly brutal and shocking way to kill him off, but Wash was the undoubted heart of the TV show and movie - making the loss feel all the more devastating.
Speed - Pop Quiz, Hot Shot
It doesn't matter how high-brow your tastes go, you'd have to be dead inside not to at least mildly enjoy the bombastic ridiculousness of Speed .
While the credited writer of Speed is listed as Graham Yost, Yost himself said that Whedon wrote most of its dialogue.
And while it's never going to win any Oscars, the snappy one liners and playful banter saved the movie from becoming an earnestly po-faced (and ergo clunky) action movie.
Ortiz: "Just keep it steady."
Annie: "Oh, thanks for the tip, Ortiz."
[after the elevator falls]
Young Executive: "Jesus. Bob, what button did you push?"
Howard Payne: "Pop quiz, hotshot."
Avengers Assemble - Galaga
A key reason for Whedon's Avengers working quite so well was his ability to craft a script that retained the humanity amidst all the God-punching, Hulk-smashing, city-demolishing craziness.
While the main characters all have their fair share of surprisingly relatable moments (Cap's excitement at finally getting a pop culture reference gets us every time), it's one brief but brilliantly disarming background player who provides one of the biggest laughs.
Working for S.H.I.E.L.D and dealing with world-ending threats every day must be fun, but when it comes down to it, it's just like any other workplace. Which is why we loved the worker who was caught playing Galaga during work hours. There are only so many portentous end-of-the-world Nick Fury speeches you can sit through in one week, you know?
Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog - Every Song
When the Writers' Strike hit Tinseltown back in 2007-2008, productivity hit an understandable low. That is, for everyone but Joss Whedon who used the opportunity to make a studio-free, creator-owned musical superhero internet series (and when you put it all together, a movie of sorts - yes, we're stretching, but it's brilliant - so ssh).
Every song and scene's stuffed with catchy medleys and often hugely inappropriate gags. Case in point, the douchey 'good guy' superhero Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillion), who revels in schmooching the object of his nemesis Dr Horrible's affection right in front of his face.
Oh, and pointing out that, as for his name? Yep, the 'hammer is [ his ] penis'.
Serenity - River Owns Everyone
While Serenity and its TV prequel Firefly are full of brilliantly realised, surprising and endlessly loveable characters, it's arguable that River is one of Whedon's all time greats.
95% mild-mannered, mentally-afflicted crazy-person, and 5% super-kick-ass, deadly and kung-fu-tastic sleeper assassin, she's given two brilliant scenes in Serenity to own the floor.
And oh, how she does. Taking everything he'd learnt on Buffy , and then channelling it through a big-screen lens, Whedon directs each fight scene with style, heft and visceral awesomeness.
The bar scene is everything you've ever wanted the Star Wars cantina brawls to be, while the climatic battle with the deadly reavers is a ballet of scythe swinging, eviseration-y beauty.
The Cabin In The Woods - Sparkly Death Unicorn
While The Cabin in the Woods manages to balance the horror/comedy tonal blend pretty much perfectly throughout, there's no greater combination of the horrific, the hilarious and the flippant than with the brief cameo of one murderous unicorn, who spears one man to death before cantering off down the corridor to the tune of some magical, sparkly musak.
Toy Story - Pixar Perfection
The first Toy Story was groundbreaking for countless reasons, but the adventures of Woody, Buzz and co would never had connected so hard had they not had the character, story and dialogue to back up the then-groundbreaking visuals.
Whedon acted as one of the writers on the original movie, lending a warmth and humour that is, at times, quintessentially, undeniably Whedon-y.
Can anyone hear this classic Buzz/Woody exchange and argue that anyone but him was behind it?
Woody: "You are a TOY!"
Buzz: "You are a sad, strange little man, and you have my pity."
Avengers Assemble - Hulk Smash
Even if you were a massive fan of Ang Lee and Louis Leterrier's bi-polar approaches to The Hulk , it'd be hard to argue that any one solo movie ever truly nailed his appeal.
Whedon found a way, with a perfectly balanced role as a permanently ticking timebomb nestled within the core of The Avengers. When the id/green rage monster is finally unleashed, it's spectacular.
But it's the surprising choice to use him as comic relief that was truly inspired. The two laugh out loud/fist-pumpingly brilliant moments in the movie's climax prove Whedon's proficiency in comic timing.
Not only did he settle the argument of who'd win in a (very brief and unexpected) fight between Thor and Hulk, but he pulled the rug out from under the audience (and Loki), who were expecting a mega-climatic showdown with the devious deity.
Instead, Hulk picked Loki up and whacked him into the ground like a giant Asgardian Whack-a-Mole.
The Cabin In The Woods - The Bait & Switch
Before The Cabin In The Woods was released, the plot and its story secrets were on super-lockdown. Which is why the opening scene was so disarming, hilarious and confusing.
We knew it was a horror, with a creepy cabin in the woods where young nubile things would likely visit and then die messily.
So opening with the everyday mundanity of two office workers discussing the joy of baby-proofing kitchens was the ultimate misdirect.
As they pootle along in their golf cart, you get a hint of the weirdness to come, but it's only until the super-loud smashcut of the title that the tone is set - unpredictable and blackly humorous, any preconceptions or convention expectations you had are immediately thrown out the window.
Thor - Thor-some Post-Credits Scene
Many people don't know that Whedon was in charge of filming Thor 's post-credit scene. And while it was Kenneth Branagh who did such a good job of introducing the Asgardian beer-chugger to movie audiences, it was that final easter egg that properly got us jazzed for what a cohesive Marvel movie universe - and more importantly, the tantalising possibilities of Avengers Assemble - could bring.
The scene, where Dr Selvig is recruited by Nick Fury to investigate the power of the Tesseract is intriguing enough. And then that final, exhilarating tease - with Loki appearing in the mirror behind Selvig and pulling his puppet strings, all sneery malevolence - gave us hope that Loki could prove an enemy that could take on the combined might of Earth's Mightiest Heroes.
The Cabin In The Woods - Ditzy(?) Bottle Blonde
The Cabin In The Woods sets its intentions out pretty early, but it's testament to Joss Whedon and director/co-writer Drew Goddard's smarts that they're able to justify and rationalise pretty much every horror convention you've ever seen along the way.
The reason the ditzy bottle blonde always makes the dappiest, most anti-Darwinian of decisions? She's being made stupider with IQ-sapping hair dye. The reason the two hot ones get it on at the least appropriate time? Pheromones are being pumped into their environment to make them get their horn on.
The Lion King 2 - A Sing-Song Sign of Things to Come
Here's your random Whedon fact of the day (well, according to IMDb anyway).
Whedon has gone on to win plaudits aplenty for his musical prowess (not only did he write, direct and score Buffy's infamous musical episode and the hugely acclaimed Dr. Horrible's Sing-a-long Blog, but he also scored his forthcoming adaptation Much Ado About Nothing ), but here's a little known fact…
His first foray into zeitgeist tune-tinkling came courtesy of writing the lyrics for everyone's favourite Lion King *cough* 2 *cough* classic, 'My Lullaby'.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer - The Introduction
Sure, the movie may have been a camp, schlocky mess - but that was never Whedon's fault.
What we should be thankful for is that he took the chance to introduce the world to the creation of a character that would go on to redefine genre TV.
A strong, ass-kicking lead woman who riled against the pop culture conventions, she laid the groundwork for geek TV and movies to come.