If you were Joss Whedon, coming off Marvel’s The Avengers (the third-highest-grossing movie ever), what would you do next? Shakespeare, of course. Whedon talked a few actor pals into his Santa Monica home and spent 12 days shooting a shoestring update of Much Ado About Nothing, in black-and-white, yet. Did his management team not stage an intervention? Luckily, no. Much Ado might make fans of Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and Firefly think they’ve wandered into the wrong cabin in the woods. But lovers of the Bard are in for an exhilarating surprise. Even iambic pentameter can’t trip up Whedon. Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof make quick-witted sparring partners as Beatrice and Benedick. Nathan Fillion mines comic gold as Dogberry, the prototypical dumb cop. And Jillian Morgese is innocence incarnate as Hero, a bride-to-be for Claudio (Fran Kranz) until the evil Don John (Sean Maher) sullies her virginal rep. Love is tested by threats of death. If you want more details, grab Cliffs Notes. Better yet, check out the movie. Whedon, without skimping on the tale’s tragic undercurrents, has crafted an irresistible blend of mirth and malice.