EDITORIAL: 10 Directors Who Should Be Attached to Comic Book Movies

EDITORIAL: 10 Directors Who Should Be Attached to Comic Book Movies

With comic book movies becoming increasingly popular, I decided to take a look at some of the movie industry’s contemporary directing talents and match them with projects best-suited to their skills.

With comic book movies becoming an increasingly popular sub-genre in Hollywood, I decided to take a look at some of the industry’s greatest contemporary directing talents and match them with projects best-suited to their skills as storytellers. Here are my top ten directors who should be attached to comic book movies.


John Hillcoat


Notable Works: The Road, Lawless

Projects He Would Be Suited For:

  • All-Star Western
  • Old Man Logan


With John Hillcoat’s inclination for gritty, southwestern period pieces (The Proposition and Lawless come to mind) I’d think All-Star Western featuring Jonah Hex would be a no-brainer. Considering the shameful treatment he’s been given by the movie industry in the past, I’d say the character deserves a proper adaptation. The project I would most like to see Hillcoat attached to, however, is an adaptation of Mark Millar’s Wolverine story “Old Man Logan.” With Hugh Jackman hinting that he’ll soon be hanging up the claws for good, I think that story would be his perfect swan song with Wolverine.


Steven Spielberg

Notable Works: Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T. the Extraterrestrial, Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List, The Adventures of Tintin

Projects He Would Be Suited For:

  • Shazam!

Steven Spielberg is arguably one of the greatest directors of all time. So why do I think he’s best suited to adapting a comic book that’s childish by its own definition? Because ... well, who else would make it work?

Spielberg has made timelessly endearing family movies like E.T. and Raiders of the Lost Ark, heartbreaking dramas like Schindler’s List, and even modern gems like The Adventures of Tintin. Is he overqualified? You bet. But you can be pretty much certain he’d make a great movie out of the treacherously goofy source material. 


Paul Thomas Anderson

Notable Works: Magnolia, There Will Be Blood, Punch-Drunk Love, The Master

Projects He Would Be Suited For:

  • Superman

Paul Thomas Anderson is one of the most fascinating and ingenious directors working today. All of his projects, though particularly There Will Be Blood and Magnolia, are so intricately made it feels like he’s not just making a movie -- he’s recounting the events of his stories as if they actually happened. His storytelling is so rock-solid in these films that they almost seem real.

Superman is a character that just brings a tear to my eye when I think deeply enough about him, and I think that Paul Anderson would be able to convey the gravitas, the power, the restraint, and the gentle lovingness of the character better than any other director.



Joe Cornish

Notable Works: Attack the Block, The Adventures of Tintin

Projects He Would Be Suited For:

  • The Flash
  • Deadpool

This is a bit of a risky one seeing as Cornish is really only known for one film, and that’s Attack the Block. However that’s still a very strong movie in itself, especially considering that it’s Cornish’s first directorial attempt. He’s got a flair for visual effects and a witty, screwball sense of humor that would make him a prime candidate for Fox’s long-developing Deadpool movie. And if that doesn’t work out, I think both those qualities would work equally well for DC’s super-speedster the Flash.


Sam Mendes

Notable Works: American Beauty, Road to Perdition, Jarhead, Skyfall

Projects He Would Be Suited For:

  • Captain America

Do I really need to explain this one? After returning Bond to form, Mendes has officially proven himself to be one of the strongest directors in Hollywood today, capable of creating both exciting thrillers (Skyfall) and stirring character pieces (Jarhead). It’s not really a stretch that he would be able to make an action-packed, politically relevant espionage story with Steve Rogers and the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

With Marvel/Disney seeming pleased with the work of the Russo brothers on Captain America: The Winter Soldier, it’s unlikely that we’ll see a Sam Mendes-directed Cap movie any time soon. But we can dream, right?



Paul Greengrass

Notable Works: The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum, Captain Phillips

Projects He Would Be Suited For:

  • Green Arrow

I think Green Arrow is recognized for two things: one, he is one of DC’s more prominent “street-level” heroes. Two, many of his most memorable stories contain some sort of political bent or social commentary; since the 1970’s Oliver Queen has become somewhat of a left-wing political activist. This might be a touchy subject to sell to general audiences in America, but Paul Greengrass managed to meld subtle political commentary with hard-edged action in The Bourne Ultimatum and its predecessor, The Bourne Supremacy. I believe Greengrass would be able to provide Green Arrow with both gritty realism and intelligent social commentary.


Also, his name is Greengrass. Get it? Ha-ha. Ha.



Nicolas Winding-Refn

Notable Works: The Pusher Trilogy, Bronson, Valhalla Rising, Drive

Projects He Would Be Suited For:

  • Daredevil
  • Punisher
  • The Sandman

Winding-Refn is a peculiar filmmaker. His roots begin in the Pusher trilogy, an interwoven series of crime stories set in the grimy underbelly of Copenhagen, Denmark. From there he’s gone on to direct the unsettling biopic Bronson starring Tom Hardy, the bloody Viking epic Valhalla Rising, and most notably, Drive starring Ryan Gosling. His films are not only beautifully shot, but jarringly and disturbingly violent.

For these qualities, I think Refn’s talents would be best suited taking on some of Marvel’s darker characters such as the Punisher or Daredevil. Or, if not them, maybe something more fantasy-based such as Neil Gaiman’s “The Sandman.” That may seem to come out of nowhere for people who haven't seen his films, but they all have a really lucid, trancelike feeling I think would work well for "Sandman."



Bennett Miller

Notable Works: Capote, Moneyball

Projects He Would Be Suited For:

  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

This is more of an experimental choice. I’ve always liked Alan Moore’s “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” graphic novel, particularly its first volume with Professor Moriarty. The book has already been adapted (horribly) which may put studios off from attempting to remake it -- but I think with an Oscar-nominated director like Miller, a “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” movie could be made that both respects the source material and the books it draws inspiration from.


Tomas Alfredson

Notable Works: Let the Right One In, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Projects He Would Be Suited For:

  • Hellblazer

Another experiment, but one that I think could pay off. Alfredson is probably best known to American audiences for directing espionage thriller Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, although his past directing achievements include the creepy vampire romance Let the Right One In, about a young boy in Sweden who falls in love with a centuries-old vampire girl. That might sound a little reminiscent of Twilight for those who haven’t seen it, but Let the Right One In is less a vapid teen romance and more of a disturbing classical fairy-tale. For that reason I’d choose Alfredson to direct a proper adaptation of “Hellblazer” starring John Constantine.

With Constantine set to premiere on NBC, a “Hellblazer” movie seems unlikely. However, if the powers-at-be choose to revive the character on the big screen, they could do worse than Tomas Alfredson as a director.


James Cameron

Notable Works: The Terminator, Aliens, Titanic, Avatar

Projects He Would Be Suited For:

  • Aquaman

Thank you, Entourage, for this hilariously inspired choice of director. James Cameron is one of the most successful film directors in history, with record-breaking blockbusters such as Titanic and Avatar under his belt. You can argue about the quality of those films all day, but you can’t deny that Cameron is a visionary capable of appealing to mass crowds. And Aquaman? Any comic book fan would tell you he’s been the butt of far too many jokes, and that he deserves a bit more recognition than “the guy who talks to fish.” Imagine the man who brought us the world of Pandora, bringing us leagues under the sea to the mystical city of Atlantis. I can already see the massive undersea battles Cameron could bring to the big screen with an Atlantean civil war at his disposal.


And for those who still claim Aquaman commanding sea life is lame, I have two words for you: “pet Kraken.”


So what do you think? Leave your thoughts in the usual place, and thanks for reading.

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