Marvel Studios has things on lock. Since Iron Man in 2008 they have put out hit after hit without any signs slowing down. More importantly they have created a cohesive cinematic universe that not only covers film but also television and soon Netflix. With Easter eggs and references they have opened up a world with unlimited possibilities. Marvel seems to realize this with the recent news that they have movies planned up to 2028. Far be it from me to question a company that clearly knows what they are doing but this is my blog and I feel like playing arm chair booker. Well arm chair booker without saying that Joss Whedon should direct everything.
Iron Fist directed by Wilson Yip
Now I know that Marvel already took a chance with a foreign director before and it brought us Ang Lee’s Hulk. Unless you are a fan of mutated poodles this didn’t turn out so well. Since then Marvel has developed a clearer view on what they want their universe to be. With game plan set I think it’s time to look outside of the States again to sit behind the camera.
While first noticing his work with the horror/comedy Bio Zombie he really grabbed my attention with 2005’s SPL (Kill Zone in the US). Since then he has been on a roll with movies like Flashpoint and the two great Ip Man movies. Yip has proven countless times that not only is he a good director but has a good eye for martial arts action. Add the fact we could possibly get some Donnie Yen or Sammo Hung fight choreography and you have the next great martial arts movie.
Black Widow/Hawkeye directed by Peter Berg
While the Marvel cinematic universe is developed fairly well there are still some spots that need to be fleshed out. The most obvious are Avengers members Black Widow and Hawkeye; particularly Hawkeye. As the only powerless humans on the team it is easy to dismiss them on a team that literally has a monster and a god. I think we can change that though. Throughout the first Avengers movie the two talk about a mission that went bad in Budapest. There’s even an extremely brief clip of the two fending off lord knows how many forces behind a minimal amount of cover. What happened? Were there more people? How did they survive? All excellent questions and I would love to see answered. It could be like the Marvel version of Black Hawk Down.
Now I’m sure you’re wondering who Peter Berg is. Why he’s the genius behind the cinematic masterpiece Battleship. Now I realize all film cred I have just died (again) but hear me out. Besides Battleship he has directed The Rundown, The Kingdom, Hancock, and most recently Lone Survivor. While these movies have their problems I never really put it on the directing or the action scenes. To me the main issue was bad writing and wasted potential (looking at you Hancock). Time and again Berg has shown that he can do action, particularly in a war/military setting. Add in his experience with making a superhero movie and you have the perfect candidate for a movie based on these overlooked Avengers.
The Punisher directed by James Wan
Despite enjoying them quite a bit there is no denying that the two Punisher movies are imperfect. I think that despite the changes in origin the 2004 movie did a good job in capturing who the character is. Also no offense to Ray Stevenson but Thomas Jane has the perfect look and voice for The Punisher. Unfortunately the movie was saddled with some of the worst villains in comic movie history. I also think 2008’s was able to get the insane ultraviolence of the comics but delved a bit too much into comedy for my liking. Again these two movies had the puzzle pieces but just couldn’t quite put it together. If you took the characterization of the 2004 and added the violence of War Zone you would have the perfect Punisher movie.
Enter James Wan. At first glance this is a bit of an odd choice. Breaking out with Saw he went on to terrify audiences with the Insidious series, The Conjuring and have us collectively ignore that Dead Silence exists. What most forget is that in 2007 he directed Death Sentence. Starring Kevin Bacon it was loosely based on the Death Warrant book and series of films. It was the type of gritty, blood soaked action thriller we just don’t get nowadays. It was the kind of action thriller that would be perfect for Frank Castle. Since The Conjuring was released Wan has been working on Fast & Furious 7 and been in talks for a variety of other action movies. I think it’s time Marvel Studios gave him a call.
Blade directed by Gareth Evans
In the history of comic book movies it is easy to overlook Blade. Released in 1998 the movie was a surprise hit. Earning more than double its budget it impressed comic and non-comic fans alike with its martial arts action and one of the greatest opening scenes in movie history. Not only that but it took a floundering character and made him bigger than ever. With Guillermo del Toro behind the camera Blade 2 was an even bigger hit not only doing better at the box office and but also with the critics. Then Blade: Trinity came out. A pale imitation of the movies that came before it took a relatively fun idea and ruined it with a weak villain, a huge supporting cast and problems behind the scenes. To add the icing on the cake Wesley Snipes would be going to prison a year or two after. It is easy to why the franchise has been dormant for the past decade. With Marvel Studios regaining the rights it would be a good time to give inject the Daywalker with some fresh blood.
Gareth Evans has more than proven himself with some of the best action movies of the past decade including Merantau, The Raid: Redemption and The Raid 2. He also excels in the one aspect that I think the Blade movies has neglected, horror. Last year he made his horror debut and delivered the strongest segment of V/H/S 2 in Safe Haven. In 20 minutes he was able to build up a frightening, action filled atmosphere. Heck you could just change the villains from The Raid: Redemption and you would have a survival horror movie similar to the Rec series. Whichever way you want to play it, straight action or horror, there’s no doubt in my mind that Gareth Evans is the man to bring the vampire hunter back from the dead.
Spider-Woman directed by Pierre Morel
From bloggers to screenwriters the one big issue with the Marvel movies seems to be the lack of female heroes. It’s easy to see why when out of the nine movies so far the only female superhero has been Black Widow. Now the name I’ve seen bandied about has been for a movie starring Carol Danvers aka Ms. Marvel/Captain Marvel. And I absolutely agree with this sentiment. She’s a character that’s as powerful as Iron Man and dissimilar to Black Widow in pretty much every way. With all that said I would go in a different direction and introduce Spider-Woman. While it may not be allowed due to the Sony rights to Spider-man I think she would be a cool character to introduce. A member of SHIELD she is not only a skilled fighter but she also has the powers of super strength, super agility, flight and “venom” blasts.
With her ties with SHIELD I can easily see her introduced through that group like Hawkeye was. She would be featured in a world faring, international type of action setting like Skyfall. I also imagine a quick, almost parkour-esque style of fluidity in the fight scenes. Who better for that than the director of District B13, Pierre Morel. The cinematographer for Louis Leterrier on Unleashed and The Transporter he delivers the fluid style of shooting that I think would benefit the movie. The style of action movie that Europacorp and Luc Besson movies are known for. Again the rights may be an issue but if there can be two different versions of Quicksilver why not Jessica Drew: Agent of SHIELD?
Thunderbolts directed by Michael Davis
By far the most far-fetched of my wish list but hear me out. As the Marvel universe grows we not only get more heroes but many more villains. While the main baddies seems to die there always seems to be some lesser villains left around. For every Alexander Pierce there is a Crossbones still around. This is where I think the Thunderbolts can come in. After Onslaught killed most of the big heroes (Avengers, Fantastic Four) the Masters of Evil have a brilliant idea; to fill the void left by the deaths by posing as heroes. Not only would they gain the public’s trust but hopefully gain the same level of access as the Avengers. While we may be a few more years away from this concept working I think it would be a perfect way to not only remember the past but bring back some great characters like Sam Rockwell’s Justin Hammer.
Clearly this wouldn’t be your typical superhero action movie. It would be, for lack of a better term, the Dark Avengers. Where the violence is a bit crazier and the humor a bit darker than everything else out there. Who better than the Michael Davis? The writer of Double Dragon and the Prehysteria! sequels his grand opus is the criminally misunderstood action satire, Shoot ‘Em Up. It was a living cartoon complete with Bugs Bunny (in a sense), explosions and a seemingly invincible baby. This black comedy had the perfect tone for a movie about convicted killers trying to play superhero. I know this route would be a bit of a risk and could alienate some of the audience. But if the company is open to James Gunn (Super, Slither) with a big summer blockbuster I could easily see them being open to a villain’s movie.
And I think I just wrote the geekiest, most self indulgent piece I’ve ever done. Obviously the ideas are a bit pie-in-the-sky and would require A LOT of leniency from Disney’s side of things. Especially when a few of these would obviously get hard R-ratings. But if I want you to take away something from this it would be one thing. The Marvel Cinematic Universe would really benefit from more Sam Rockwell.