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With the news this week that Julie Taymor has been replaced as creative force behind cursed Spider-Man musical Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark, many have started to wonder what could be next for the acclaimed musical and movie director. The answer is obvious: Superhero movies.
It’s clear from anyone who knows anything about Turn Off The Dark that Taymor sees something in superheroes – and the comic book medium in general – that few others do. That sounds more sarcastic than it’s intended to, I admit, but even though the images released from Dark – and the reviews from those who’ve seen the previews – look mindboggling to me, I can’t deny that Taymor definitely has a particular vision when it comes to the material that you don’t see in too many places these days.
A large part of the problem with Dark has been that Taymor, in trying to replicate the action and excitement of Spider-Man’s comic book adventures, has been trying to push live action theater to places that it possibly can’t go on a regular, ongoing basis – but imagine that same drive placed into a movie, where special effects can fake everything and make the impossible seem entirely convincing on-screen. With technology to match Taymor’s ambition, who knows what could be possible?
I’m biased, of course; as much as Dark seemed to be doomed from day one, I actually have a soft spot for Taymor’s Beatles musical Across The Universe, and I think it shows that she has a real talent for visual spectacle in cinema. Yes, some of the visual metaphors are clumsy and forced, but there’s an imagination and talent there that can’t be denied. And whatever Taymor would come up with would certainly step outside of the dominant gloomy visual style that superhero movies have displayed since, what, X-Men in the late 1990s? With only the occasional exception, superhero movies all tend to look alike, and that seems ridiculous when you consider the stylistic differences – or even the importance of visuals in general – in superhero comics. Clearly, someone needs to come in and do something new… so why not Taymor?
Of course, maybe the whole Dark experience has put Taymor off superheroes for awhile. I wouldn’t blame her, considering the public humiliation it’s brought. But I also wouldn’t be too surprised if it’s just left her frustrated that she couldn’t bring her vision of superheroes to life properly, and wanting to show the world that it was worthy of all the work, pain and time. Turn Off The Dark may end up going in an entirely different direction, but I hope that someone – probably not Marvel Studios, considering – realizes that she could probably bring a lot to the superhero movie genre if given a chance. Is a Taymor-directed Wonder Woman movie really that horrible a possibility, as much as it seems unlikely?