Nov 19, 2011

The Other Avengers

Dark Horizons has pointed out some interesting Avegers tidbits. I'm not talking about the real Avengers here (like I was yesterday); I'm talking about those other ones, the Marvel Comics superhero all-star squad that also includes a sexy catsuited superspy. First, Marvel has unveiled a new banner showing S.H.I.E.L.D. agents Nick Fury, Black Widow and Hawkeye, the movie's three superheroes who are also superspies. Hawkeye's sleeveless male version of a spy catsuit is kind of stupid, but hopefully Jeremy Renner, the new spy star du jour (who's also appearing in Mission: Impossibe - Ghost Protocol and The Bourne Legacy) will manage to make that work. Scarlett Johansson looks great (again) as Natasha Romanov, and Samuel L. Jackson looks... like Samuel L. Jackson. But that doesn't mean he can't be a cool Nick Fury, too. After all, the Ultimate Universe version of Nick Fury in the comics looks and talks like Samuel L. Jackson, too. Here's what writer/director Joss Whedon had to say about Fury in a recent interview with Yahoo!:
Yahoo!: Personally, I am excited for the movie just to see the character of Nick Fury come into his own, because we have just gotten these little glimpses of his function in this world. Did you want to keep that edge of mystery to him, or explore who he is underneath the patch?

Whedon: Well, he is not going to be talking about his childhood, and you do want to keep a certain mystery. Also -- and this is something that I was very pleased that Marvel actually mandated -- they were very interested in keeping him, not just in the sort of a mystery of how the organization operates, but a real moral gray area where you really have to decide, "Is Nick Fury the most manipulative guy in the world? Is he a good guy? Is he completely Machiavellian or is it a bit of both?" And that was really fun to tweak.

I felt that in the other movies, they had been cameos and he had been called upon to come in and be Sam Jackson and bluster a little bit. And I told Sam upfront that my big agenda was to see the weight on someone who is supposed to be in control of the most powerful beings on the planet. The weight on somebody who has to run the organization and the gravity of it. Not that we don't have any fun with Nick, but he definitely -- it's, I feel like a much more textured performance and at times really moving.

I like the sound of that. Whedon definitely seems to get the character (and he should; he wrote a mean Fury in his Astonishing X-Men comics), and I like the goal of prodding a Furious performance out of Jackson beyond just showing up and being Jackson. I've always loved the extreme Machiavellian side to Nick Fury. I like that the comic book character is more than just a James Bond clone for the four-color medium; he's a more ruthless version of George Smiley in James Bond's body. Now that's a superspy! One of my favorite takes on Fury is an alternate universe version by Neil Gaiman in his miniseries 1602, which envisions an Elizabethan version of the character mixed with healthy doses of Francis Walsingham who's delightfully Machiavellian. Perhaps Whedon will deliver an equally cool alternate universe version of Fury for the movies.

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