When I dislike a Whedon film or project, then I’ll write a long, rambling post about it. Because I expected to, and did in fact, love Much Ado About Nothing, I feel a meandering rehash is unnecessary. Unless you’d like me to synopsize Shakespeare…
If you’re concerned this film won’t be accessible, worry not. The acting is strong enough that, even if you have trouble following the language, you never feel overwhelmed or out of sorts. The comedic elements are genuine and simple. Much Ado feels organic and totally unforced. Simply put, it’s a lot of fun.
It’s no secret I’m a Whedonite (yup, I used it, and may also use “Whedonverse”), so it’s difficult for me to view this film through an objective lens. I think it’s a successful adaption. I think it’s a successful film. I hope many film fans will enjoy it. But I’m also aware enough to know that it feels like Whedon, and for some, that’s enough of a deal breaker to keep them away. But there’s more here than a gimmicky film by a man with a ready-made fan base. I implore you to give it a chance before you write it off.
Now, for the squealing and flailing. This film is stuffed with familiar faces. Amy Acker (Fred in Angel, Dr. Saunders/Whiskey in Dollhouse) is outstanding. Whedon knows how to use her and she shines every time she’s on screen. Fran Kranz (Topher in Dollhouse, Marty in Cabin in the Woods) is also mesmerizing. I don’t understand how such charismatic, talented young actors can be all but unknown outside of the Whedonverse. It’s sinful. Another under-appreciated gentleman is Tom Lenk (Andrew in Buffy, that intern that made me shout when I saw him in CitW). Here he is teamed up with Nathan Fillion (Mal in Firefly, Captain Hammer in Dr. Horrible) and they make one hell of a comedy duo. I could keep going: Sean Maher (Simon Tam), Alexis Denisof, (Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, and one of the most often reoccurring actors in Whedon projects), Reed Diamond (Dollhouse), Clark Gregg (Coulsooooooooooooooooooon!), and this is me shutting up.
It’s like a greatest hits package of people I love. These actors are like undiscovered treasure that only Whedon knows how fashion into something gorgeous and wholly original. Seeing these familiar faces together is like a gift. And seeing them all together on a stage mere feet from me is something I won’t soon forget. Look at some pictures from what was an immensely enjoyable panel filled with lovely people responding to questions with genuine answers.