So the rumours are circulating that Zack Snyder and the bosses at Warner Bros. (WB) are beginning to clash over the direction the DC films are currently taking. These rumours have extra credence to them after the recent announcement of Ben Affleck becoming a producer on the Justice League film, and acclaimed comic book writer Geoff Johns being made the new chief creative office over DC films.
WB are clearly making moves to ensure their next outing for DC is a major hit with not only the fans but also the critics. Snyder has had his fair share of criticism down the years. The most common being his obvious talent for spectacle, but not enough substance. Snyder is clearly a director that needs to be reined in. A director with a fantastic mind for set pieces and action, but lacking in the character building and emotional beats of a good writer.
Take Man of Steel, for example. In my opinion, this was almost the perfect blend for Zack Snyder. Now, I can already hear the tapping of keys from you Man of steel haters, but hear me out. I feel the first half of that movie was great in terms of setting up the character of Kal-El/Clark/Superman, whichever you prefer, which was possibly due to the fact that Christopher Nolan helped pen the script with David Goyer.
Snyder can certainly make ideas come to life with amazing imagery, but when he starts to get too ahead of himself, it can become just noise and chaos – see the second half of the film. Basically, if he’s given too much free reign he’ll be a horse that jumps the fence, the shark or nukes the fridge.
So without rambling on too long about Snyder’s shortcomings, let’s get into what I think are five possible directors for the Justice League movie and beyond.
1. George Miller
If you have seen Mad Max: Fury Road, you know this guy can do action. For an action film in 2015 to show us things we have never seen before is a remarkable feat in of itself. Before you call me a hypocrite for praising Miller and criticising Snyder for the same thing, let’s remember that Miller was originally working on Justice League years ago.
He’s clearly a man WB have had in mind for a while as a possible director for these films, and this was before the raging success of Fury Road. He must have some intriguing ideas rattling around in his mind for them to consider him, but, let’s face it, he wasn’t exactly a household name among movie goers. With his main credits mainly including the original Mad Max films, Babe (yes the talking pig film) and Happy Feet (yes the talking, dancing penguins film).
Would WB be willing to take a chance on a director who’s hardly worked down the years? On the other side of the coin, the fact Miller has branched out with different genres does show his versatility and capability to tell a story rather than just action scenes.
If WB want to continue in the same direction they are heading, Miller could be great choice for this; he could also hopefully make it a lot better. One of the main issues with Miller is his age, he’s not a young man anymore and if WB want to get him, they have to do it now. Whatever happens, I think we can all agree that if Miller did get his hands on Justice League, it certainly wouldn’t be boring.
2. Christopher Nolan
Nolan managed to revitalise the Batman brand after the embarrassment of the Schumacher films. A gifted storyteller with a talent for epic set pieces, he will have been mentioned many times at WB, I’m sure.
Nolan was always going to be on my list, how could he not be? I already stated that I thought the best parts of Man of Steel were probably what Nolan came up with. A very popular director among film lovers, which is maybe that’s what WB needs to focus on now.
They need to make sure that’s it’s all well and good having fan service, but what really matters is to tell a good story. I’m sure Nolan would do his own thing and not be too worried what the fans may think. He did it with Batman and I’m sure WB would allow him to do his own thing without having to insert this scene here, or set this up here etc.
While an obvious choice to some, he may not be easily convinced. Nolan has stated that he was done with the Batman character and comic book films in general for the time being. He spent a large section of his career in that world, would he really want to go back this quickly? I don’t think so. Of course, he has also had his criticism.
Many have called Nolan a cold director with his character’s lacking empathy and emotion. I think it’s also fair to say the hand-to-hand combat in his Batman films was put to shame by that one warehouse scene in BVS. He’s also never really tackled a project quite like this – his Batman was in a world on his own, would he be able to cope with so many different backgrounds and make them all fit into one universe?
He’s tackled ensemble casts before and done it extremely well, see Inception, but this may be just a little too much out of his comfort zone.
3. Ben Affleck
Our new Batman and director of Batman’s solo films could be our new Justice League director, too. Affleck has certainly seen it all in his career – the heights of the Oscars at a young age and then almost being ostracised from Hollywood before his triumphant comeback as a writer/director and actor.
Aside from the fact that Affleck is a huge comic book fan, he has also proven himself to be a brilliant Batman. Whatever your thoughts on BVS, you can’t deny he was one of the standout positives from that film, even if you didn’t entirely agree with the direction they took him.
With his directorial efforts including Gone Baby Gone, The Town and the critically adored Argo, he has proven himself adept at handling multiple presences on screen as well focusing on telling a compelling story.
I feel it’s only a matter of time before Affleck is handed a massive project like this, he already had his audition, so to speak, in BVS to impress as the bat. WB clearly were impressed and were probably told at length Affleck’s ideas for Batman’s next outings.
Timing is the main issue I feel regarding Affleck. Would he be able to give equal focus to both stories? Is it too soon to put so much on his shoulders? Time will certainly tell regarding Affleck and his future dealings with DC and WB, but for now, I can’t wait to see what he has in store for Batman.
4. Joss Whedon
He’s done it once before, right? Why not try it for DC this time? Another director WB have considered before for the solo outing of Wonder Woman, which unfortunately didn’t work out with Whedon of course ending up working with Marvel on The Avengers. While Age of Ultron didn’t exactly tick all the right boxes, it has its moments and you can’t deny the sheer fun and excitement of watching the first Avengers movie.
Whedon is tailor made for these projects. ever since his early days on Buffy the vampire slayer he has managed to tell great stories around multiple characters. The fact the Avengers managed not to be a complete mess was a testament to Whedon’s always witty and humorous writing.
He also certainly knows how to please the crowds with multiple moments of geekgasms from his two outings. However, with Joss admitting himself that Ultron was a much more difficult task than the first film, would he be willing to delve back into this sort of world? This could have been down to the studio not giving as much creative control as last time; see clearly forced Thor bathing scene in Ultron.
But maybe WB and DC could give him that creative freedom he needs again to give us something great. That same feeling of awe and amazement we felt from that pan shot around The Avengers in New York. Where Whedon could be the wrong choice is with his sense of humour in his writing. Some fans may be liking the more serious and dark approach DC are taking with their films.
If Whedon suddenly comes in and has Bats and Supes cracking jokes to each other, it could be very jarring. However, I’m sure Whedon is much savvy than that and understands when and how to make the lighthearted moments. Can you imagine the lines he could write for the Flash?
Again though, this all depends on what situation there is, if any, with WB and Snyder and what directions they are going to take. The dark and brooding atmosphere they’ve created so far isn’t exactly winning over the majority of fans. Maybe they will look over at Marvel and just have to bite the bullet a little, because the ‘Phases’ that Marvel have followed have been nothing but a roaring success for them.
Anyway, those are my personal thoughts on who could be our new director for Justice League and the future of DC films. Leave a comment below on what you think of my choices and let me know who you guys would want as a new director for the Justice League.