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Comic Books, Film
Adam McKay recently revealed in an interview with Crave Online that his involvement with Marvel Studios might entail more than just doing an Ant-Man rewrite. The Anchorman writer/director/producer teamed up with Ant-Man star Paul Rudd to cook up a new draft of the 2015 super hero movie; McKay even flirted with sitting in the director’s chair before Peyton Reed filled the void left by departing helmer Edgar Wright.
But could the man behind such oddball comedy movies like Talladega Nights and Step Brothers really direct a hard-hitting action movie for Marvel? The pairing may seem a bit odd at first, until you remember that Captain America: The Winter Soldier was directed by Joe and Anthony Russo — two guys previously best known for directing dozens of episodes of Arrested Development and Community. The timing and precision needed to make jokes land on film apparently helps jokes land too; McKay doesn’t seem like such a weird choice for a Phase Three film now, does he? If McKay signs up for more Marvel action, here are the movies we want to see him make.
If the Marvel Cinematic Universe needs an oafish roustabout like Anchorman’s Ron Burgundy, then Hercules is the guy to go to. Marvel’s take on the demigod Hercules is a hero that takes carousing and imbibing as seriously as he does saving the day. While he’s definitely not as big of an egomaniac as Burgundy (and he probably can’t play jazz flute as well as the Will Ferrell character), any live-action adaptation of Hercules needs to have unearned gravitas and over the top confidence — and that film needs big gags to put the leading man in its place. Of course, McKay would need a Hercules that could alternate between being jovial and intimidating; if Guardians of the Galaxy’s Chris Pratt give his Parks and Recreation co-star Nick Offerman some tips on how to develop abs on abs on abs, there’s your Hercules. And really, any movie starring Ron Swanson in a green mini skirt needs a comedy master like Adam McKay behind the camera.
Marvel proved that they can take a team of no-name aliens and rocket them to superstardom with Guardians of the Galaxy. Now it’s time for them to do that with a group of quasi-reformed ex-super villains. The original Thunderbolts concept by Kurt Busiek and Mark Bagley, which saw the Masters of Evil undergo a heroic makeover to act out Baron Zemo’s master plan, was pretty light on the comedy. The more recent run by Jeff Parker, Kev Walker and Declan Shalvey featured the exact right amount of one-liners, odd interactions and inept camaraderie that McKay proved he can handle in both Anchorman films. The snarky Moonstone, goofy Boomerang, earnest Songbird, creepy Ghost and devilish Satana would all come alive under McKay’s direction, as they all try to outsmart and one-up each other while begrudgingly going on government-backed missions. With Thunderbolts, McKay would get to put the big action skills he honed on The Other Guys to work for Marvel.
NBC’s McKay-produced sitcom Bad Judge might be getting less than favorable reviews, but it proves that the writer/director has an interest in legal procedurals — and it means that he will have learned some lessons should he decide to bring Marvel’s premier ass-kicking and quip-spouting lawyer She-Hulk to life. As evidenced by the witty writing of She-Hulk writers John Byrne, Dan Slott, Peter David and Charles Soule, Jennifer Walters needs a creator that can pack a script with equal parts one-liners and punches. McKay also showed with the script that he co-wrote for The Other Guys that he can turn real world issues — in that case the criminal acts perpetrated by big banks during the financial crisis — and use them as a basis for an action-packed and hilarious movie. That type of social commentary would fit right in with She-Hulk’s life as a lawyer, and McKay would get to call out even more real world evils if he pitched “She-Hulk” as a Netflix series as opposed to a feature film. Big screen or small, the Jen needs an actress that can pull off action, comedy and smarts all at once. There is no one better suited for the role than six-foot-tall comedian and action enthusiast Aisha Tyler.
If Marvel really wants to let Adam McKay loose in all of his non-sequitur-filled absurdist glory, then they have to give him control of Nextwave, the modern day satirical masterpiece by Warren Ellis and Stuart Immonen. Every adventure this team went on, whether they were fighting a giant dragon in big purple shorts or the Broccoli Men, was used to lovingly and bitingly skewer the Marvel Comics Universe. Unlike solo heroes such as Ant-Man and Doctor Strange, and even teams like the Guardians of the Galaxy, the team featured in Nextwave only have twelve issues of story to their name. They lack the decades and stacks of back issues that sometimes make adaptations difficult; McKay could cram in a lot of Nextwave’s nonsense into one film and still have room left over for oddball detours — you know, like the entire shark subplot in Anchorman 2. Nextwave also has a few characters that Marvel fans have been clamoring to get on the big screen, namely Monica “Everyone Keeps Stealing My Codenames” Rambeau. It should go without saying that Sleepy Hollow’s Nicole Beharie would destroy as Captain Marvel/Photon/Pulsar/Spectrum.
Of all the big screen Avengers, Hawkeye is the one that has had the least amount of screen time. Clint’s also had zero live-action appearances since Matt Fraction and David Aja reinvented the character to wild success in their offbeat and award-winning Hawkeye ongoing. Fans love that series and they would probably really love to see a bit of it injected into Jeremy Renner’s version of the archer. McKay could make his Marvel directorial debut handling the solo debut of one of the core Avengers, which would be a big high profile gig fitting with the seasoned director’s lengthy resume. Fraction and Aja’s take on Clint Barton included a lot of snappy dialogue, self-deprecating humor and meme-worthy moments — all things that McKay has proven himself a master of. Just imagine how GIFable a scene of Jeremy Renner re-enacting the now infamous “Hawk block” would be. A McKay-directed Hawkeye would give the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s version of the character the dark wit he so desperately needs — and he should definitely get it in his own solo film, which should only come out after Black Widow gets one first.