Before we start this column, I offer a confession: I am a total geek.
Whew. It feels good to get that out there. What, you don’t believe me? I’ll enter my 2006 ComicCon badge into evidence.
And I am certainly proud of my confession, as 2012 is truly the year of the geek. This year, film geekiness has officially shed the characteristic of being shared by a dedicated but small following. Need proof? I offer two words and one name: Joss Whedon.
It doesn’t get much geekier — or better — than Joss Whedon. Chances are that name didn’t ring a bell for you before this summer, so here’s a little bit of background: For years, he’s been my favorite television and film writer. The man has a knack for writing the most pristine, on point, and genuinely hilarious dialogue in Hollywood. You probably heard of his past television projects, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Angel” and “Firefly” and dismissed them because, well, you’re probably not a geek. However, I recognize them as probably three of the best TV shows in history. Rent the DVDs. It’s never too late.
If you would have told me years ago that in 2012, Whedon would be responsible for a $1 billion blockbuster sensation — “The Avengers,” which he wrote and directed—and the best reviewed horror film in years — “The Cabin in the Woods” — I would have scratched my head. But here we are in the year of the geek, and Whedon is king.
You’re probably thinking a monkey with a comic book could have directed “The Avengers” and it would have made money. With Robert Downey Jr. and enough superheroes to fill up a basketball team, that’s hard to argue. But it was Whedon’s signature dialogue and gift for characterization that nailed the film, making it not only one of the best reviewed comic book movies in history but also a movie people were genuinely excited to see — multiple times. I heard people rave just as much about the dialogue and humor as the actio- packed climax, arguably the most exciting 45 minutes I’ve seen on film.
And in the case of “The Cabin in the Woods,” if you saw it and didn’t like it, you probably didn’t “get it,” and this includes the crew with which I saw the film. It’s OK. You just need to up your geek game.
Let’s jump back to “The Avengers,” and expand to its place in the summer as a whole. It, along with “The Amazing Spider-Man” and “The Dark Knight Rises,” are the biggest films of the summer. Does it get any geekier than that?
“The Dark Knight Rises” and “The Avengers” also help with the validation begun with Christopher Nolan’s earlier two “Batman” movies, as well as “Iron Man,” that comic book movies can be something more than popcorn entertainment; they also can be relevant pieces of art and earn the respect of critics.
Not to mention in 2012, Ridley Scott also released the “Alien” prequel “Prometheus,” we’ll have another James Bond entry, and the first of two “Lord of the Rings” prequels will be released. All mainstream movies originating from a source thought to have a "cult following."
We geeks have known for a long time that it’s good to be a geek. The rest of the world is just now catching up to us.