These days Joss Whedon is known as the clever writer/director behind Marvel’s giant, over-produced “Avengers” But before all that, he was known to fans as the mind behind Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the DIY viral sensation Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. Much Ado About Nothing, Whedon’s present-day adaptation of the Shakesperean play, sees the director return to his roots with a film, which relies not on a huge budget and, admittedly, well-executed action scenes, but on sheer wit and goodwill. We see some familiar collaborators of Whedon’s – Clark Gregg, aka agent Phil Coulson, plays governer Leonato, while Nathan Fillion does a hilarious job as Constable Dogberry.

The film opens with the brave and accomplished officer Benedick (Alexis Denisof) arriving at the home of governor Leonato (Clark Gregg), whose daughter Hero (Jillian Morgese) soon comes into the sights of Benedick’s comrade, Claudio (Fran Kranz). Benedick himself is quite the ladies’ man, however he meets his match in Hero’s witty and willful cousin Beatrice. And, as the phrase “meets his match” usually bids, it doesn’t take long for the two to fall in love. It’s a classic Shakespearean tale, retold in Whedon’s incredibly appropriate style. What’s more, Whedon’s adaptation finds poetic resonance with many current issues. Modern society’s rampant abuse of technology, for example is satirized by way of the messengers delivering plot twists via iPhones instead of scrolls, and the occasional clever wordplay (“Forsooth! A Bluetooth!”). Whedon manages to take good ol’ Shakespeare, put him through the mill of his own humor and what comes out is, unsurprisingly, a brilliant, if low-key, adaptation.

Check out pictures from the premiere of Much Ado About Nothing here.

Joss Whedon, Much Ado About Nothing Premiere
Whedon does Shakespeare - and it works.

Joss Whedon, Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Much Ado Premiere
Much Ado is as much about the writing, as about its cast - from left to right: Whedon, Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof.