When you think of Joss Whedon, chances are you don’t think of Shakespeare, especially in light of the fact that his last feature happened to be the box office bonanza that was The Avengers. But all of that gets turned on its head in his follow-up, Much Ado About Nothing, a modern, black-and-white retelling of the Shakespearean play that preserves nearly all of the original text. The stuff of mass popcorn entertainment this is not.
The story is about sparring lovers and the wackiness that ensues as they try to reconcile their fractured relationship. It is, as most will testify, much ado about something that feels in the end like nothing. And that is precisely the way the movie is played. Shot in just 12 days and with no recognizable marquee stars, Whedon plays homage to the words, walking the audience through the scenes hand-in-hand. He is able to convey not only the power of emotion, but of speech. This is admittedly better than even the Oscar-winning Shakespeare In Love.
The cast is in fine form, but how could they not be when they’re reciting Shakespeare in one of his most beloved plays? Whedon has become an expert is making movies with multiple major characters, be they super heroes or medieval misfits. And that is reason to ado very, very much.