Well, crap. Here we go again. We found a really great director for the first Thor and now we’ve got to find another one, because apparently Kenneth Branagh isn’t coming back for another round of mead. With no word so far on who might replace the Hamlet director it’s up to us, the film critics and fanboys (same thing, really) to put our picks out into the ether in the hopes that Marvel Studios actually reads these things and thinks to themselves, “Selves, they’ve got a pretty damned good point there.”
But who would be a good director for Thor 2? It’s important to remember that they don’t have to made movies just like it in the past, just films that hint that they have the potential to make a big, burly epic fantasy with Shakespearean overtones and crazy fight scenes. The key words there, as Kenneth Branagh taught us, is ‘Shakespearean Overtones.’ With much of the special effects and stunt work handled by 2nd Unit folks and visual effects companies, the director of Thor 2 must be somebody who can handle the actual storytelling, with sweeping storylines bolstered by smaller character moments, and a grand scale that doesn’t overpower the characters’ humanity (even if most of them are gods).
With that in mind, armed with the knowledge that a lot of Hollywood’s biggest guns are either going to be too busy or just unwilling to join a franchise already in progress (Sam Raimi, Gore Verbinski, Ridley Scott, Christopher Nolan, Tim Burton, you get the idea) here are Crave Online’s picks for the top ten directors Who Should Direct Thor 2.
10. JOSS WHEDON
YOU KNOW HIM FROM: He’s the guy who created Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly. Oh, and he’s writing and directing The Avengers.
WHY HE’D BE GREAT: Nobody’s denying Joss Whedon’s fanboy credentials. With a longstanding history in genre television, a bunch of great credited and uncredited screenplay work (Toy Story, Speed, etc.) and of course writing and directing next years Avengers movie, he’s got the support and clout necessary to knock this one out of the park too.
WHY HE WON’T DO IT: With Thor 2 currently scheduled to come out the summer after The Avengers, even if poor Joss actually wanted to make this movie he’d probably be more burnt out than the ruins of Pompeii. Besides, there’s still some doubt as to whether the director will even be able to pull of The Avengers in the first place: he’s a TV guy first and foremost, and his lone feature film, Serenity, wasn’t exactly a sci-fi classic. At least, not to anyone other than Firefly fans.
9. JOE WRIGHT
YOU KNOW HIM FROM: He directed such Academy Award-nominated historical dramas as Atonement and Pride & Prejudice.
WHY HE’D BE GREAT: Joe Wright might not capture the sweeping vistas of someone like Ed Zwick but he’s one of very few new directors with an actual interest in sweeping entertainment, unmarred by rapid-fire editing or even irony. His first features, Pride & Prejudice and Atonement, were both fine costume dramas with intense character conflicts, but after his forgettable Jamie Foxx movie The Soloist he’s started to make more entertaining films like Hanna, which starred young Saoirse Ronan as a hitwoman. The time may have come for him to pay his dues by taking on a high-profile work-for-hire gig, and Thor 2 plays to many of his strengths.
WHY HE WON’T DO IT: Frankly, we’re just not big fans. He’s a perfectly decent director but he seems more involved with his characters than the actions they take, or the often-exciting worlds around them. Atonement was a World War II movie without a single epic action sequence, or indeed just any other kind of action sequence. Perhaps bolstered by a strong 2nd Unit crew he might turn Thor 2 into a smash, but it seems a little risky to put him on Marvel’s short list.
8. ED ZWICK
YOU KNOW HIM FROM: He directed such historical epics as Glory and The Last Samurai.
WHY HE’D BE GREAT: Zwick’s Hollywood’s go-to historical epic director. With a series of large scaled, generally socially conscious dramas like Glory, Blood Diamonds and Courage Under Fire under his belt he’s definitely someone Marvel can trust to make a grand sequel, and with a modest flop like Love and Other Drugs as his most recent effort he might be willing to step off his high horse and make some good old-fashioned entertainment for a change. Like Branagh, he’s a highly respected director whose involvement would be quite an unexpected coup for Marvel Studios.
WHY HE WON’T DO IT: Zwick’s got a couple of demerits against him here. For one thing, he’s never really made a franchise picture before (not that that stopped Kenneth Branagh, however), nor has he shown any interest in such implausible genres as superheroes, sci-fi or fantasy. Zwick also has some detractors in the critical community, who are frustrated that his epic dramas about interesting cultures almost always play from the perspective of a generic white dude.
7. SHEKHAR KAPOOR
YOU KNOW HIM FROM: He directed the Academy Award-nominated historical dramas Elizabeth and Elizabeth: The Golden Age.
WHY HE’D BE GREAT: Shekhar Kapoor knows how to make stodgy period pieces seem badass. In Elizabeth he not only made Cate Blanchett an instant star but also created a stylish but never-quite-larger-than-life Elizabethan England filled with exciting characters and intense parlor room drama that holds its own against most outright action movies. He’s got the scale down pat, he knows how to make the most of an alien setting, and he’s not doing much right now despite causing quite a stir in the 1990’s. (You know, kinda like Kenneth Branagh.)
WHY HE WON’T DO IT: Kapoor is a long shot. We just happen to like him. His one attempt at a mainstream Hollywood picture – The Four Feathers – was an impressive looking picture with a thoroughly forgettable storyline, which is pretty impressive considering that it’s based on a beloved Hollywood classic. Could he pull out a great Thor movie? Sure he could. But is he a dark horse? Hell yeah.
6. BRAD BIRD
YOU KNOW HIM FROM: He’s the Oscar-winning director of The Incredibles, Ratatouille and the upcoming Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.
WHY HE’D BE GREAT: Because he’s Brad @#$%-ing Bird, that’s why. Twice now he’s delved into superheroic entertainment, with The Iron Giant and The Incredibles, and both films are now classics, possibly even timeless ones. He’s got a fantastic sense of character but also the technical know-how to put his characters into thrilling situations. Also, the guy’s made movies about gourmet rats. Making a movie about Norse gods won’t be too fanciful a concept for him.
WHY HE WON’T DO IT: Brad Bird only just made his first foray into live-action directing with Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, and while the trailer looks pretty good we can’t say for certain if it’ll make the grade or not. We have faith in him, but seeing will be believing. What’s more, he’s currently working on a dream project of his – 1906, about the great San Francisco earthquake – that he might not want to put off any longer now that he finally has the clout to do it.
5. FRANK DARABONT
YOU KNOW HIM FROM: He’s the writer and director of The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile, and the executive producer of AMC’s The Walking Dead.
WHY HE’D BE GREAT: Did you ever see The Majestic? No? Well, you’re not alone but if you had seen it you’d remember the great movie within that movie called Sand Pirates of the Sahara, which starred Bruce Campbell. Darabont may have the Oscar pedigree but he comes from a genre background, and loves both horror and classical adventure stories. He also hasn’t had a hit in quite a few years, outside of television at least, so a big A-List project like this might appeal to the guy. Plus, and this is the kicker, he’s a great director.
WHY HE WON’T DO IT: After The Shawshank Redemption, Frank Darabont earned the right to pick and choose his own projects, and might not want to join a franchise being heavily micromanaged by its parent company. He also might just be too damned busy with The Walking Dead to take the gig in the first place.
4. ALFONSO CUARON
YOU KNOW HIM FROM: He directed the first good Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. He also brought you the dark sci-fi classic Children of Men.
WHY HE’D BE GREAT: This is Alfonso Cuaron we’re talking about here. He’s one of the most talented directors in the world, with an actual interest in making genre entertainment. With an exceptional but never overbearing visual style, and uncanny knack for wringing great performances out of unusual material and a history of making great flicks like The Little Princess and Children of Men, we have no doubt that he could pull off anything Thor 2 has to offer and make it actually seem relevant as opposed to mindless, if fun, entertainment.
WHY HE WON’T DO IT: He just might, actually, if he’s not too busy with his latest sci-fi effort Gravity, which should still be filming now. Once he’s free he might just not want to dedicate a huge chunk of his life to somebody else’s franchise, but it’s not like his contributions to Harry Potter ever hurt his credibility any. He’s a better fit here than the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, which reportedly also wants him for their next sequel too.
3. DUNCAN JONES
YOU KNOW HIM FROM: He directed the critically acclaimed science fiction movie Moon as well as this year’s excellent sci-fi thriller Source Code.
WHY HE’D BE GREAT: Duncan Jones makes genre movies for the thinking man (and woman). With only two features under his belt he’s already produced two classic sci-fi flicks with involving characters and distinctive conceits, and despite the claustrophobic nature of his first film, Moon, his follow-up Source Code proved that he can make big budget entertainments with the best of them. Thor 2 would be an excellent chance to prove that he can hang with the big dogs, and would be a fine consolation prize for Man of Steel, which he reportedly lost to Zack Snyder.
WHY HE WON’T DO IT: Alas, Thor 2 might not suit Duncan Jones’s tastes, since it’s rather low on the concept totem pole and it’s soft science fiction at best. (His first two films were much more intelligent examinations of the effects that futuristic technology would have on the individual.) Also, despite its obvious quality, Source Code just wasn’t a big hit at the box office which could either help his chances (by lowering his asking price) or hurt him (because hey, Marvel likes winners).
2. DAVID YATES
YOU KNOW HIM FROM: After mucking about with several different directors, he’s the guy that Warner Bros. trusted to direct the last four Harry Potter movies.
WHY HE’D BE GREAT: If there’s anyone you can trust with a franchise, Yates would be it. Although his big first feature (after critically acclaimed TV work like BBC’s State of Play), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, was badly paced at best, all the Harry Potter films that followed just go better and better. He’s got a deft hand with character, special effects and storylines that should be ridiculous but under his watchful eye play like Shakespeare… or at least Marlowe.
WHY HE WON’T DO IT: Too soon? We like Yates but if you think Joss Whedon will be burnt out after Avengers we can only imagine the ongoing sigh of relief Yates must be feeling now that he’s completed his fourthHarry Potter movie. He’s got an historical drama coming up called St. Nazaire, though, so he might not be sick of grand productions just yet…
1. GEORGE MILLER
YOU KNOW HIM FROM: He brought you all the Mad Max movies, and for a while there was attached to direct Justice League for Warner Bros.
WHY HE’D BE GREAT: George Miller? Are you kidding us? He directed some some of the best action movies of all time, particularly The Road Warrior, and even dipped his hand into some delightful fantasy with the under-rated Babe: Pig in the City. He’s coming off of an Oscar win for Happy Feet (ugh, if we’re being honest) and came this close to directing a feature film based on The Justice League before the Writer’s Strike closed it down a few years ago. So he’s definitely interested in making a superhero movie happen.
WHY HE WON’T DO IT: Not many reasons here. He might still be distracted with his Mad Max reboot Fury Road, or he might just be a DC junkie. Otherwise, we think he’d be great.
WHO DO YOU THINK SHOULD DIRECT 'THOR 2?'