Over the past 14 years, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has grown into a massive multimedia franchise that has brought together iconic Marvel superheroes in a shared universe. From 2008 Iron Manthe MCU introduced audiences to beloved Marvel Comics characters through individual films that would soon culminate in 2012 The Avengers and beyond.
As new characters are welcomed into the vast cinematic universe, several directors have been brought in to bring their unique style and vision to the MCU. While many of these directors had solid careers before joining the popular franchise, some had humble beginnings as independent filmmakers who found their big break at Marvel.
‘Chef’ (2014) — Jon Favreau
Having started the MCU with the years 2008 Iron Man, Jon Favreau is a prominent big-budget director who has excelled in front of and behind the camera. But after directing many big budget films, Chief saw Favreau go back to basics in his charming film about chef Carl Casper (Favreau), who, after losing his job at a well-regarded Los Angeles restaurant, starts cooking in a small food truck with his family.
With appearances from notable Marvel actors Scarlett Johansson and Robert Downey Jr., Chief Beautifully balances the appeal of big-budget names with a small-scale story with lots of heart. In many ways, the parallels between Favreau’s directing career and his character Carl in Chief show the unique charm of going back to basics and finding a new joie de vivre in the simplest way.
‘The Nice Guys’ (2016) – Shane Black
Known for his distinctive style and flair for stories where two unlikely characters become friends and better people along the way, Shane Black went from 2013 iron man 3 just as wacky and quirky The good ones.
Following the private detective Holland March (Ryan Gosling) and tough guy Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) in the 1970s in Los Angeles, The good ones is a neo-noir action comedy that reunites the unlikely duo to investigate the disappearance of a young woman. A little like iron man 3black people The good ones creates seemingly problematic characters with plenty of genuine flaws and a depth that strikes a unique balance between comedy and compassion.
‘Great’ (2010) – James Gunn
Before his Marvel debut in 2014, guardians of the galaxy, james gunn made his first foray into the superhero genre with his dark comedy Great. After being abandoned by his wife for a drug dealer, Frank Darbo (Rainn Wilson), determined to eradicate the city of crime, transforms into the superhero, the “Crimson Bolt”.
Although he possesses no superhero abilities, the Crimson Bolt disguises himself all over town, stopping petty thefts, drug dealings, and people waiting in line at the movies. He is soon accompanied by comic book store clerk Libby (Elliot Page) as “Boltie,” and the two become an unlikely duo fighting crime in small towns. A little like guardians of the galaxy, Great brings together a ragtag group of unlikely superheroes who hide behind their dubious motives a big heart.
‘Down with Love’ (2003) – Peyton Reed
With his penchant for comedy, Peyton Roseau was precisely the kind of director who could bring the small-scale, underrated superhero Ant-Man to the MCU in his 2015 film The ant Man. But before his playful take on the insect-themed incarcerated hero, Reed brought his eye for detail and comedic prowess to his rom-com. I’m done with love.
movie stars Ewan McGregor as Catcher Block, a 1960s playboy. He set out to instigate a conspiracy by sneaking into the love life of famed feminist advice author Barbara Novak (Renee Zellweger). Reed pastiches many of the tropes of early 1960s romantic comedies, a talent he would later bring to his parodies of the action and crime genres in The ant Man.
‘Boy’ (2010) – Taika Waititi
As a director notable for bringing a different kind of comedy to the MCU, before Thor: Ragnarok, Taika Waititi had already made a respectable career as an independent New Zealand filmmaker. With big hits like his 2014 mockumentary What we do in the shadows and 2016 Wilderpeople Hunt to his name, Waititi’s previous films also uphold his distinctive comedic style.
Boy follows an 11-year-old boy named Boy who grows up in 1980s New Zealand and is obsessed with michael jackson. Blending traditional Maori culture with plenty of pop culture references, Waititi strikes the balance between comedy and heart in an endearing story about family.
‘Fruitvale Station’ (2013) – Ryan Coogler
Before he made the hit Black Panther, Ryan Cooglerhis directorial debut Fruitvale Station had already cemented the director as a key figure bringing true representation to cinema.
Based on a true story, Fruitvale Station depicts the last day of Oscar Grant’s life (Michael B. Jordan) before being needlessly murdered at the hands of a police officer in the early hours of New Years Day 2009. A real-life event that sparked multiple protests against racism and police brutality, Coogler’s film is a harrowing insight into the injustices faced by the black community.
“Cop Car” (2015) – Jon Watts
Two years before he helped bring Spider-Man to the MCU, Jon Watts directed the 2015 road thriller cop car. The film follows two young boys who steal an abandoned police car, only to be chased by its murderous owner, Sheriff Kretzer (Kevin Bacon).
Whereas cop car has an entirely different tone than Watts’ more upbeat Spider Man trilogy, there are few similarities between the two films. As the two young boys go from having a fun ride to dealing with the reality of their consequences, Watts has a knack for stories of minors getting into dangerous situations.
‘Drag Me to Hell’ (2009) – Sam Raimi
Upon returning to Marvel, Sam Raimiit is Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was able to showcase Raimi’s distinctly dynamic horror style. While the director was well known for his debut Spider Man trilogy featuring Tobey Maguire and its campy horror franchise diabolical deathRaimi has many lesser-known movies that also show off his distinctive style.
drag me to hell is a supernatural horror film following Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) as a determined career woman trying to climb the ranks of her bank loan office. But after being cursed by an elderly woman whom she had previously refused a loan from, Catherine must deal with the consequences of her actions as she battles the evil spirits who are intent on dragging her into hell. With his wicked sorcery and a comically possessed talking goat, it makes perfect sense that Raimi was brought in after drag me to hell to direct the utter madness that is Multiverse of Madness.
‘Short Term 12’ (2002)
Before Destin Daniel Cretton became known for directing the first MCU superhero movie with an Asian lead in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten RingsCretton had established his space as a filmmaker working with emotional character-driven stories. Short term 12 follows Grace (Brie Larson) as a compassionate supervisor working in a foster home helping at-risk teenagers.
Beyond his accomplishments as an empathetic vision of foster care, Short term 12 also features incredible early performances from actors who went on to become big stars –Rami Malek, Stephanie Beatriceand Brie Larson, the latter joining the MCU as Captain Marvel.
‘Half Nelson’ (2006) – Ryan Fleck
Directing the first female-led MCU movie Captain Marvel, Ryan Fleck had already collaborated with Captain Marvel co-director Anna Boden in their early days Half Nelson. According to the idealistic professor Dan Dunne (Ryan Gosling) dedicated to the middle schoolers in his class, he secretly leads a life struggling with an addiction unknown to his students.
Half Nelson offers an unsentimental portrait of loneliness that is transparent in its truthful depiction of addiction. Fleck and Boden launch into blockbusters with Captain Marvel haven’t given up on the heart and seriousness they brought to their previous films. Their collaborative debut in Half Nelson gives an underrated first glimpse into the unique and emotional style of these filmmakers.
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