Serenity it turns out, was the perfect job application for The Avengers. To wit:
If there is one element that consistently drags down the superhero genre it’s the endless explanation, name-checking, and origin story backtracking. As the mothership of all franchise movies The Avengers seemed doomed to collapse under the weight of all these properties, but after witnessing the elegant way Whedon handled getting the movie audience up to speed on Firefly history I’m more optimistic.
It’s hard to think of many moments from the spate of Avengers origin stories that made the viewer take a step back and go “Wow. That was cool.” But Whedon has that quality guys like Brad Bird or Tarantino share that never settles for the familiar. They need something special in the execution that takes the standard action and twists it into something memorable.
If there is one thing The Avengers movies have lacked so far - including the first Iron Man if I'm being brutally honest - it is this sense of grandeur. The idea that its characters are bigger than life. Thor's a demigod for Chrissakes, yet there is nothing in his film that can touch the level of awe Whedon summons in images such as this. If he can grant this odd, damaged waif onscreen presence that borders on Batman, surely he can invest Hulk and Capt. America with the gravitas they've been sorely lacking.