If there’s a director who can be consistently said to be at the forefront, heck, bothering in the first place, to make intelligent science fiction movies, it’s David Cronenberg. Even his misfires are still more interesting, and more engaging, than a lot of movies with twice the budget.
And if there’s one thing Marvel needs, especially for its all-but-certain upcoming Doctor Strange movie, it’s an insane visionary. Realistically, the Marvel movies are good, fun, entertaining…and, really, that’s it. They have no weight. In a lot of ways, Marvel is still looking for its “Dark Knight”.
And here’s why we think Cronenberg can give them one with the Sorcerer Supreme.
#5) He’s Affordable
Hey, let’s face it. Marvel is owned by Disney and they’re all about the bottom line. Cronenberg doesn’t command the eight-digit salaries some of his fellow directors do, but he’s consistently brought in high quality work. For Marvel, which likes a talented bargain, he’s an ideal fit.
#4) He’s Already Made a Superb Comics Adaptation
If you haven’t seen “A History of Violence”, it’s worth seeing. Admittedly, it’s got very little to do with the original Parallax Press graphic novel (anybody remember DC’s foray into crime comics?), but it is one of the best movies of the last ten years, and it also happens to explore all the issues you’d need for a great, serious comic book movie: it’s all about secret identities and enemies out of the past, after all.
And, hey, the ass-kicking, while bloody, is awesome.
#3) He Takes Science Fiction and Fantasy Seriously
Cronenberg is one of the few directors to really see the potential in horror movies. “The Brood” is a pretty dark musing on the psychological damage caused by abuse and divorce. “The Fly” is a serious exploration of the body going wrong. “Videodrome” looks at how we treat violence and sex. If anybody can find some thematic weight in “Doctor Strange”, it’s this guy.
#2) He’s One of the Few Directors Who Can Translate Steve Ditko’s Art In Cinema
Whoever winds up directing “Doctor Strange” is going to be faced with Ditko at his weirdest, which is really saying something. And the guys who can do that and make it not silly are a pretty short list, and most of them don’t want the job (David Lynch could probably capture the unnerving nature of the unknown quite handily, but good luck getting him to do it).
#1) Marvel Needs to Take it To The Next Level
We’re not even going to pretend DC’s somehow turned out a string of deep movies that were also hits. “Green Lantern” or “Jonah Hex”, anyone? But that said, “The Dark Knight” has, and likely “The Dark Knight Rises” will, open the door to comics, and comic adaptations, being taken more seriously. For that to happen, though, there has to be more than one movie.
So, pull the trigger, Disney, and give the weird Canadian his due.
image courtesy Marvel