Who Should Direct The Avengers Movie?

Jon Favreau recently let it be known that he will not be directing The Avengers, Marvel's super-powered mashup of Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor, which is being planned as THE summer movie event of 2012. That news dashed the hopes of some, but has thrown the door of possibility wide open for others who are wondering:

Who Should Direct The Avengers?

It's been pointed out by Favreau, current Avengers writer Zak Penn and even a few directors who have already tried to toss their hats in the ring to direct The Avengers: Making this movie is going to be like riding a unicycle across a tightrope while juggling plates on chopsticks. We're talking about a film that has to give equal weight to three characters - Cap, Thor and Iron Man (and maybe more) - who are all (best case scenario) going to be blockbuster movie divas in their own right.

(Ok, so I'm making a joke about comic book characters being divas, but seriously, I could just as well be talking about the actors playing the roles, by the time The Avengers rolls around.)

Along with three super divas, there are the (multiple) storylines and subplots of the individual films that will likely factor into the narrative arch of The Avengers:

What happens when Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) lays eyes on Thor (Chris Hemsworth) or Captain America for the first time? Does she go all ga-ga? How would Thor's girlfriend (Natalie Portman) feel about the competition for her man-god? Will Cap and Thor get cozy in Tony Stark's plush pads and leer jets - or will Thor prefer the Mjölnir express for his flying mileage? How will Cap deal with Tony's boozy charm? How will Thor deal with Cap - a mere Midgard mortal - trying to tell him what to do? How will Tony deal with a grandstanding old-timer and a guy who thinks he's a Thunder god without reaching for a drink?

None of those questions I just asked are even relevant to the central plot of Avengers - they're all themeatic and tonal threads that need to be woven together into just the right braid for Avengers to work. On the comic book page, a team-up is usually just the geekgasm of seeing a bunch of heroes getting together to kick ass - it's purely a novelty. When an unprecedented event like The Avengers - a mashup of individually profitable movie franchises - happens, it's more than a novelty - it's three cinematic worlds colliding. Hard to do that without breaking something.

Once the ideas have been fleshed out, and the details of the story settled on, there still remains the task of essentially making three movies in one, while simultaneously making it all look revolutionary and epic. Avengers could potentially reset the bar for superhero films, action films and how the movie biz builds its franchises. For that feat you need more than a director - you need somebody who has the vision to see what could be and make it into a reality that will blow our collective socks off. Any less than that and this movie slips right off the rails into the quagmire of disappointment.

So, who's up for the job?

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