Marvel Studios and Sony shocked the geek community worldwide with the recent announcement that the two studios had reached an agreement to bring Spider-Man into the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a shared character. In the time since the announcement, there has been a lot of speculation about the finer details required to port Spidey over to the Avengers continuity, including whether the character would be rebooted; the likelihood (or not) of Andrew Garfield keeping the role; which new young actors could take over the part; and more recently, whether MCU Spidey will be Peter Parker, or even retain the same ethnicity.
Well, add to that list another looming question: which director will take over the Spider-Man movie franchise going forward?
The Amazing Spider-Man reboot films were both helmed by Marc Webb, whose previous big credit was (500) Days of Summer. While he showed some improved filmmaking approaches to things like Spidey's unique combat style - or Peter Parker's trademark combination of science prowess and smack-talk - between Webb's inexperience with tentpoles and the studio's demands, what we got were essentially two mixed-bag Spider-Man films (still waiting on that 'untold story...').
In order to avoid mistakes of the past and help get the franchise back in the proper swing of things, Marvel and Sony are going to have to choose very wisely when it comes to picking a director for the next Spider-Man film. Lucky for them, we have some great suggestions.
David Leitch & Chad Stahelski
They may not be the immediate names that come to fans' minds, but stuntmen-turned-directors David Leitch & Chad Stahelski's debut film John Wick is slowly and surely carving out a cult-hit reputation for itself. The movie brought back Matrix star Keanu Reeves for a dark and violent Noir action flick - one that many said felt like a comic book brought to life onscreen in wonderfully proper balance.
As two of the leading stuntmen in the business - with a combined resume that includes 300, V for Vendetta, The Matrix Trilogy, Constantine, Wolverine, Iron Man 2, Hunger Games, The Bourne Series, Jumper, Underworld: Evolution, Daredevil (2003), and... Spider-Man 2 - these two gentlemen are already within the inner circle of minds (and bodies) that bring these superhero movies to life. Like The Russo Brothers, they are a sharp pair of creative minds with loads of humble work experience in the industry.
What's more: John Wick showed that the pair definitely know how to create a compelling world and mythos around an iconic (and acrobatic) central character. Maybe it's time we traded CGI Spidey for some good ol' fashioned expert stuntmen in motion capture.
Drew Goddard has written a lot of hit genre films and TV shows of the new millennium (Buffy, Angel, Cloverfield, Lost, World War Z) and he followed pal Joss Whedon's path to the big screen, directing the horror satire Cabin in the Woods.
Goddard was previously slated for a director's chair in the Spider-Man movie universe; as of now, his Sinister Six villain movie is rumored to be defunct, but that doesn't mean that a talent like Goddard's need be thrown out with the muddied bathwater.
If Joss Whedon could jump in the deep end and still turn The Avengers into a billion-dollar success story, Goddard could likely do the same for Spider-Man, bringing wit, smart insight and genuine fan charm to the property. Best of all, as the director of Sinister Six and the producer/writer of the Daredevil Netflix series, Goddard is already a perfect bridge between Marvel and Sony.
We can't discuss the possibility of bringing in Drew Goddard to direct the MCU Spider-Man movie without also bringing up his bud - and proven Marvel movie architect - Joss Whedon.
The fact is, after Avengers 2, Whedon's directorial obligations in the MCU are done. Here's what he said about the matter, when asked if he'd be taking on Avengers: Infinity War after Age of Ultron:
“I couldn’t imagine doing this again. It’s enormously hard, and it [will] be, by [the time I would make 'Avengers 3 & 4'], a good five years since I created anything that was completely my own. So it’s very doubtful that I would take on the two-part Infinity War movie that would eat up the next four years of my life. I obviously still want to be a part of the Marvel Universe – I love these guys – but it ain’t easy. This year has been more like running three shows than any year of my life. It is bonkers.”
The fatigue that comes with being part of the never-ending Marvel movie machine is something we've long kept eye on, and it's clear Whedon has become creatively exhausted from it. However, Joss is a true-blue fan, first and foremost, so even in his exhaustion he still wants to be a part of the MCU. Maybe Spider-Man is the character to rekindle his passion?
Bottom line: Whedon has the humor, insight - and now plenty of blockbuster experience - underneath him, which gives him an edge over Goddard. BONUS: Whedon would also excel at introducing more badass female characters like Black Cat, Silver Sable, or Spider-Girl/Woman into the Spider-Man movie world.