Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Future Of Film
The 100 Greatest Video Games
Robin Williams: The Big Interview
Kevin Feige:
My Movie Life

The Marvel supremo's pick of the flicks
Want To Be An Empire Journalist?
Find out how here
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
Click poster to enlarge
More posters to select

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Alexis Denisoff
Nathan Fillion
Tom Lenk
Clark Gregg
Amy Acker
Fran Kranz
Jillian Morgese
Sean Maher
Reed Diamond.
Directors
Joss Whedon.
Screenwriters
Joss Whedon.
Running Time
104 minutes

LATEST DVD REVIEWS
Grey Owl
1 Star Empire Rating
Glengarry Glen Ross
5 Star Empire Rating
Ghost In The Shell
4 Star Empire Rating
Child's Play
3 Star Empire Rating
Westworld
4 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Glengarry Glen Ross
5 Star Empire Rating
Goldfinger
5 Star Empire Rating
Calvary
5 Star Empire Rating
Ipcress File, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Jules Et Jim
5 Star Empire Rating

Much Ado About Nothing
Modern merry warfare


submit to reddit


Plot
While young lovers Claudio (Kranz) and Hero (Morgese) plan their wedding, family members trick warring friends Benedick (Denisof) and Beatrice (Acker) into falling for one another. But the course of true love doesn’t run smooth for anyone.


Review
Much Ado About Nothing

It's like a cultural exchange: noted Bard-botherer Kenneth Branagh makes a comic-book movie, geek god Joss Whedon adapts Shakespeare’s sharpest romantic comedy — one Branagh has already tackled, to boot. But just as Ken showed a populist heart with Thor, Whedon’s whipcrack wit proves a perfect fit for this biting love story of romantic conspiracies.

Shot in crisp black-and-white in the director’s own home, this is small-scale, but intimate, not cheap. By casting regular collaborators familiar with the play and each other from Shakespeare readings at his home, Whedon ensures everyone seems comfortable with the language. They’re so breezy and zippy, in fact, that aside from the odd archaic turn of phrase, you could close your eyes and swear this was an episode of Buffy — albeit light on monsters.

Among the cast, Amy Acker’s a perfect Beatrice, smart and foolish in equal proportion and laying a touch of melancholy under her merry war with Benedick. There, Alexis Denisof is broader and more clownish, but takes such a gleeful relish in the text that it’s impossible to dislike him. As Leonato, Clark Gregg once again steals scenes without a word, while Reed Diamond should see his stock rise a few levels thanks to an impish performance as Don Pedro. Jillian Morgese and Fran Kranz’s shining Hero and Claudio, torn apart by the evil machinations of Sean Maher’s Don John, manage to make an impact despite Beatrice and Benedick’s sparkier story, keeping a noir core to offset all the lovey-dovey stuff.

It’s in balancing these competing elements and characters that this version really shines. While Branagh’s adaptation was ravishingly sun-soaked and drunk on its own loveliness (arguably luvviness), this one is steelier — even as it’s leavened with comic buffoonery from Nathan Fillion’s ridiculous Dogberry. By giving everyone a moment to shine, Whedon creates a Shakespearean Scooby gang of fully-rounded individuals and a fizzily fresh take on this story of love, lies and love-sparked-by-lies.


Extras

Much Ado About Nothing Much Ado About Nothing
Released: 07 October 2013
Whedon commentary. High on wit, low on iambic pentameter.


Verdict
It will require no conspiring to make you fall for this one; Whedon and Shakespeare are a perfect match.


Reviewed by Helen O'Hara


Related Reviews

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for Much Ado About Nothing
Empire Star Rating

RE: Joss and William sitting in a tree

It has no importance that Whedon made a big box office hit. 'Money' box office results are inflated and not historically comparable. Birth of a Nationobably was the most successful film in history in terms of total gross divided by average (persoanl) incomes. It is approaching its centenary (in early 2015), and still being shown from time to time in those cinemas insightful and courageous enough to show it. The chance that any of Joss Whedon's films will still be being shown in the 22nd century... More

Posted by cinemike at 14:59, 12 October 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Joss and William sitting in a tree

Saw this yesterday. Well worth the effort to find a cinema showing it. Excellent stuff from Joss Whedon and of course, the script is pretty good! ... More

Posted by GCH at 17:06, 27 June 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Joss and William sitting in a tree

I've never seen Branagh's take on this Shakespearean play but I'm very interested in seeing this one. Just need to find a cinema that is willing to play it on a day I'm not somewhat busy. ... More

Posted by OPEN YOUR EYES at 12:03, 19 June 2013 | Report This Post


Joss and William sitting in a tree

How do you follow the most successful film of 2012 which became the third-highest grossing film of all time? Following the principal photography of the Marvel superhero epic The Avengers, TV extraordinaire Joss Whedon decide to spent his short vacation by shooting (in twelve days), a black-and-white indie rom-com based on William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. Formally a pair of lovers Benedick (Alexis Denisof) and Beatrice (Amy Acker), are engaged in a very "merry war" as they are ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by R W at 20:47, 14 June 2013 | Report This Post


SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
The Future Of Film: The Streaming Services Will Be Major Studios
(Or how Hollywood will have to start worrying about Netflix)

The Empire Podcast #129: Liam Neeson Interview
Plus Max Irons, Sam Claflin, Douglas Booth, Holliday Grainger and Jessica Brown Findlay drop by to talk The Riot Club

The Future Of Film: We'll Be Watching Films In Virtual Reality
Immerse cinema aims to become the must-have experience for the filmgoers of the future

The Future Of Film: Cinema Will Cross The Uncanny Valley
The future of VFX, from believable digital humans to underwater mocap

The Future Of Film: There Will Be Another Indie Golden Age
Independent producers are growing from micro-budgets to something a lot bigger

Empire's Epic Interstellar Subscribers' Cover
The countdown begins to Christopher Nolan's sci-fi masterpiece

Shut Up, World! Gary Busey Is Talking!
Strap yourselves in and meet a true Hollywood original.

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 6 Issues Of Empire For Only £15!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)