Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Top 10 Tuesdays - Ten Marvel B-Movies That Should Be Made

Marvel Studios have been in talks with some directing and writing talent recently to let them pick and pitch possible movies about some of Marvel’s lesser known characters. It seems like a good model to make a B/C-list movie for $20-$50 million, still put all of the talent and love into it, and then not need insane numbers for returns to be profitable, and the flick to still be decent, respectful to the character, and loved by fans. Hell, some of my favourite movies didn’t cost much to make.

So, with this in mind I think of who I would like to see become the creative talent behind certain Marvel characters. Jon Favreau has done such a good job at steering Iron Man  in every aspect onto the silver screen that I would like to see some other visionaries pick up a character and make the best for them. I'll align a character with a certain visionary, you can make of what they would create in your own mind.

1 - Spider-Woman directed by Kathryn Bigelow


If this thought hadn’t crossed your mind already then you haven’t been playing this game for long enough. Spider-Woman has nothing to do with Spider-Man, except for an unfortunate sharing of name prefixes. Jessica Drew has a horrible history of abusive parents and an international spy group brainwashing her, training her, perverting her, and then getting trashed by her as the eventual redemption comes. She goes on to become as much of a superhero as she does a costumed spy. Kathryn Bigelow is an action director who knows, as so few do, how to insert character and story into set action pieces. If anyone could give Jessica Drew the solo story that she deserves it would be this Oscar winning master. I’d pay big money to see Bigelow bring Drew to the screen and play her story for grit and shadow.

2 - Iron Fist directed by Damon Lindelof


Iron Fist is billionaire playboy with deep-seeded parent issues, Danny Rand. He’s also one of many to have wielded the title of the Immortal Iron Fist. He’s got super-charged kung-fu powers, a very large business to run, ties to a mystical city that only appears on Earth once every ten years, and he fights in a tournament between the Capital Cities of Heaven. The movie could be dense, but it could also be very awesome. Damon Lindelof has proven himself, by steering LOST for nearly its entire run, adept at handling years of continuity, mysticism, great characters, a twisted plot, and the nature of people to turn and change sides and constantly have motivation that can be altered. I think Lindelof would be perfect for this type of vehicle because he’s still only a big name in TV, and sometimes Hollywood is reticent to give a shot to the small screen players, so giving him Iron Fist isn’t too much of a gamble. But there’s plenty of room to payoff later. And to pre-empt any comments, I don’t care if you aren’t digging some of the last episodes of LOST, there’s no doubting it has been one of the greatest shows for a long time (hyperbole, perhaps) and Lindelof has always been open and available for fans. It’s a great mix. I just don’t want to hear Ray Parks’ name attached to it ever again, the dude is a stunt man, not an actor.

3 - Doctor Strange directed by Darren Aronofsky


Doctor Strange is the Sorcerer Supreme of Earth. He’s got the mystical hands and the Eye of Agomotto that can cast any spell and bind you in crimson bands of Cyttorak six ways from Sunday. He’d be a hard character to bring to the big screen because no one wants to see him fighting common street criminals, he has to go up against The Dread Dormammu (a guy with a flaming head) or Eternity (a man who is made up of the universe) and so his movie would be that much more trippy and surreal and a harder sell. Stanley Kubrick is dead, which is a shame because I think he would have been perfect to give this a crack. Instead, I’d substitute Darren Aronofsky in a heartbeat. The guy makes a movie about drug addicts seem trippier than some of the stuff Ditko did in comics in the 60’s. If you’ve ever seen The Fountain you know Aronofsky can make a gorgeous movie that means so much if you can ever figure out what it is about. So take a character who battles against villains that we sometimes don’t even know what they are, in dimensions that may never be explained, and I think he could make sense of it all for us.

4 - Ant-Man directed by Edgar Wright


There were apparently already talks about this one being made, and I loved that idea then so I won’t spend hard hours only to probably not improve on it. Hank Pym is a very smart man, he learns how to shrink himself, and then make himself bigger, and then get a stack of other costumes, and he’s very smart. But he’s never the smartest person in the room. This bridesmaid of the science world always has a chip on his shoulder, even though he’s still doing things many of us would dream of, and he’s not to0 hard on the eye, and he’s dated the Wasp, as well as later created a robot replica of her. He’s a character with many layers and Edgar Wright would be just right for the job. He always gives us smart scripts, but layered ones as well. Everything comes back to mean something and you always care. And that’s just what Ant-Man needs, someone to ultimately make us care about him. My only problem is I would have cast Chris Evans in this role, but I guess he’s spoken for now.

5 - Luke Cage directed by The Hughes Brothers


Luke Cage was born on the streets, man (metaphorically, you know) and he learnt his lessons from the correspondence school of heavy blows, and eventually he went to prison for something he didn’t do. Then it all changed as he was given indestructible skin and he broke out to prove his freedom. He’s since become a champion for the streets of his birth, yet was stupidly enough cast as one of the few heroes who required payment for his actions. He’s become a lot more important to the Marvel U now, but an origin movie should focus on his beginnings, silk shirt and tiara and all. Now, The Hughes Brothers are two black men, and I’ve paired them with one of only two black characters on this list. That might seem like something a white guy should not do but I do it with all knowledge of the Hughes Brothers. Their two best movies were Dead Presidents and Menace II Society, which both dealt with black people on their own terms and on their own turf. The Hughes Brothers, if anybody could, might be the very best men to give Luke Cage a decent creation in film, a credible past, a character base that isn’t as one-dimensional as it always has been on the page. I love the Coen Brothers but this flick isn’t for them. This flick could be a triumphant addition for both Cage and the Hughes Brothers and I’d love to see it, brutality and all.

6 - Nick Fury directed by George Clooney


Nick Fury is the ultimate superspy. He’s been in World Wars, he’s seen it all, he’s got gadgets, he’s got a few girls, he’s got some old war buddy sidekicks, and he’s got all the time in the world to plan to take you down. He’s made for the big screen and we need someone with the brains of George Clooney to do it right and the certainty of stature to not be swayed by the executive notes for more spider-robots or robot sidekicks. Clooney usually gives his movies a more subversive flair, but also a very humorous tint on the side. The only kicker would be, and hold onto your butts, I want Clooney to also play this director of S.H.I.E.L.D. I know, Marvel Studios have already put a stack of money into Samuel L. Jackson playing Nick Fury in Iron Man, etc, but that’s not the real Fury, that’s the lame Ultimate version and I cannot believe they thought that’s what we wanted. I also cannot believe that no one else has kicked up a stink about this in the time he’s been up there in lights. Clooney would be a great, real, Fury, not so much comical but more real world. I would much prefer to see this, and I stand by my decision.

7 - Black Panther directed by Steven Soderbergh


A revolutionary leader taking to the jungles and fighting for his people. You might not have seen Che (Parts 1 and 2) but you might see it if that leader donned a black suit and kicked ass like T’Challa does. Black Panther rules his kingdom of Wakanda like a fair and loving leader. His African country manages to stay abreast, and sometimes even lead, with technological advances by being one of the only Vibranium sources (a rare and precious metal) to be mined and sold. Steven Soderbergh could create a Wakanda that was dense and relevant to out current world. He could paint a portrait of a leader who we are in awe of, a leader who steps above the normal tropes of superheroics and truly defines what it takes to lead a country in our world. I think that Soderbergh, who isn’t averse to tackling varied projects, might be an inspired choice who would deliver a superhero movie unlike any other. It’s one of the few genres he hasn’t given a go, yet.

8 - Ares directed by Mel Gibson


This one might be my longest shot, but it could work. Mel Gibson is a masterful filmmaker; I don’t want to hear anyone deny this. He is a man who understands men, and he knows how to portray them on screen, or get others to do so. Ares is a character who is pure testosterone. He’s a walking fight, he’s a breathing dragon, he’s the god of war. Ares is also smart when he needs to be and his movie needs to be large. There must be massive battles and epic moments and a creative director who is willing to go the extra mile to create something worthy of a god, and won't shy away from the bloody that must litter a war field. Mel Gibson is the one man who could blow your expectations for an Ares flick right out into space, don’t forget he did create Braveheart, a movie that will be timelessly perfect.

9 - Black Tarantula directed by Abel Ferrara


Black Tarantula, Carlos La Muerto, is a sad and desperate figure of a man with power and attitude but not the knowledge of where to use them. He toes the fine line between villain and hero with delicious aplomb that can be seen as vicious at times, and poignant at others. He was originally billed as a bit of an ersatz Spidey-as-a-villain character but more recently, through the hard work of scribe Ed Brubaker, he has come into his own. He is a figure of power within his community on the tough streets and one that is now trying his best to use his abilities for good. Abel Ferrara is a character who knows how to deal with characters who toe the line between good and bad, and create their own grey area of sickness in between. A Ferrara produced Tarantula would certainly be a hero unlike any other, and thus would be as most real to his difficult background as we could get. This movie would possibly need to have a hard R rating, but then we don’t have enough superhero movies cross over with the ultra-violence like they should, and I mean real violence, hard violence, nothing slick. This would be the character, and director, to see it done.

10 - The Inhumans directed by Christopher Nolan


A royal family that lives on the moon and were given extreme powers by an experimental mist. Inject this group into any scenario on Earth and you’ve got an interesting story. The group are an eccentric bunch from the stoic and silent leader to their immensely smart pet and you could either play the group for laughs, in a childlike way, or you could have a very smart and critical mind turn them into a story that makes the audience think. Paul Jenkins wrote a relaunch of The Inhumans to critical acclaim and Christopher Nolan directed two Batman movies to critical acclaim. To mix the two seems like a very good idea. And it seems that Nolan should be looking for a challenge and this would be it. I’d love to see him shoot some very real looking set pieces involving the true scale of a family who live on the moon.

Conclusion

These are only ten characters, and ten creative talents behind them (well, eleven if you could that there are two Hughes brothers), so feel free to tell us which characters you feel should get a B-style movie from Marvel and who you would love to see make it.


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23 comments:

Anonymous said...

You only read marvel, huh?

Ryan K Lindsay said...

@Anonymous1 - Yeah, man, when writing an article about MARVEL and it stems from news that MARVEL is in talks to get creators to pitch and choose movies for MARVEL characters then I tend to get pretty MARVEL specific. Hope you don't mind...?

Rol said...

Some really interesting combinations there, Ryan. Like the suggestion of Aronofsky for Dr. Strange; I reckon Michael Gondry would do a good job with that character too. It'd certainly take someone of Nolan's ability to make the Inhumans work on screen.

Anonymous said...

great list. I'd like to see machine man done by the coens and mi13 by guy Ritchie.

Anonymous said...

Not a fan of Black Nick Fury ,huh.

Terry said...

Wouldn't Ang Lee be more appropriate for Iron Fist? Not sure how you think a writer on 'Lost' makes them qualified for a kung fu movie.

And since when does Ares hate Jews? Because they worship another god?

Dickey said...

Man, Gibson directing Ares and bringing in a scene ripping from the third Savage Axe story would be epic. And by epic I mean everything Clash of the Titans wanted to be, but failed at.

Didn't Clooney direct Michael Clayton? 'Cause that movie definitely had some of the sneaky aura I can see a proper Fury movie needing.

Klep said...

Aronofsky is an inspired choice for a Doctor Strange movie. I don't know about Lindelof on Iron Fist. I'd want whoever tackles Danny Rand to have a great respect for the pulp and kung-fu genre films whose influence are so clearly pervasive throughout the Brubaker/Fraction run. I almost want to suggest Tarentino for it, but he might be a little too over-the-top.

al said...

Runaways, X-Factor, Generation X, New Warriors, She Hulk, 2099... even Howard the Duck could get a second chance. The possibilities are endless. But the one I want the most is Great Lake's avengers.

Can't you see Owen Wilson as Mr. Immortal, Kevin James as Flatman, Ellen DeGeneres as Squirrel Girl. It would be epic.

Frank said...

Fun list! I'd have to say though, Inhumans by Chris Nolan would be anything but a B movie. There's enough drama here to rival any of the great superhero movies.

McE said...

I can think of a dozen Hong Kong directors that would rock an Iron Fist movie. John Woo, Johnnie To, Yuen Woo Ping, Andy Lau, The Pang Brothers, etc. A guy who directs a slow-moving TV serial where virtually nothing happens from week to week would not be my first pick.

Other than that ;-) good list.

mrpeepants said...

always a fun topic. you know your directors well too, nice choices.

brandon said...

Kingpin by Brian De Palma

Ryan K Lindsay said...

Interesting that Lindelof gets the most vitriol. To give my explanation...the man is a fanlad (he wrote Ultimate Wolvie V Hulk, and I actually liked that series a lot) and LOST is very nerd heavy, so he gets credits there. I also like the way that he's worked with dynasty and legacy in LOST, it would be this aspect that would make me want him on Iron Fist, sure, there might be better directors out there, and if we were going for true B-Movie grit I could probably offer up plenty of Hong Kong Fooey directors to take charge, but that's not what I want, I want the flick to have Danny Rand as well. I want the Capital Cities of Heaven to have depth and I believe Lindelof could bring that. I would NOT say Tarantino because as derivative as Iron Fist is we don't need to keep making him so, Frubaker proved that to a degree.

@Anonymous5 - I am impressed by your ability to derive subtext and meaning from implied statements. Go to the head of the class.

Brandon Whaley said...

Nolan on Inhumans is inspired. I agree with Lindelof on Iron Fist just because he is good at working with a deep mythology. Basically I agree with everything you've said here except for the implication that LOST was ever a good show, haha.

Daryll B. said...

Runaways done in the style of the movie Kids (sans the explicit sex and over the top violence of course)

Power Pack done in the style of The Incredibles

and here's my big storyline stretch for you folks:

Annihilation done in the style of Star Wars' original trilogy by Lucas or Spielberg....

Of course that might blow the budget out of the water...but come on Nova, Quasar, Drax, Thanos, Annihilus.. you know we'd be speaking about it for years on end....

Ivan said...

Black Tarantula? Who is this guy? I only knew the latino Tarantula and the Batman villain.

Kirk Warren said...

@Ivan - He'sa newer version of the old Tarantula that showed up in Spider-Man around thet ime Norman Osborn returned. He's been showing up more and morein Daredevil latelyand is helping DD with the wholerunning the Hand and upcoming Shadowland event.

Space Jawa said...

I'd love to see the Guardians of the Galaxy, personally. Probably with a mindset of getting 1 or 2 movies with the classic incarnation and then using that to build into perhaps an Annihilation movie of some kind followed by the modern Guardians. Though if they were to keep it to a lower budget, I'm imaging they'd have to do it in animated form. Either way, I'd probably pick Peter DeLuise as the director.

While I'm not sure on whether I'd actually want it as a movie, my mind is also connecting Nextwave and...Michael Bay. I don't dislike Bay, but all the same I've got a feeling he probably wouldn't be the best guy to lead it. But on the other hand...

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