3. Talent behind the camera
The Russo brothers seemed like a really left-field choice for Winter Soldier, but delivered one of the very best Marvel films we’ve seen to date. They have very little else to point to in terms of their feature film experience, but Marvel clearly trust them, having lined them up for Infinity War parts 1 and 2 on the strength of what they’ve seen.
The little we’ve seen of Civil War so far (of which more later) looks to be pretty impressive, but one excellent film does not a track record make and so we cannot say that we are definitely in safe hands.
Beyond who is at the helm, we have screenwriters in Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely who have delivered on Winter Soldier, Dark World and The Chronicles of Narnia and again, it is only reasonable to assume that they won’t abandon the talent they have shown thus far and suddenly turn in a poor script after a solid run.
Batman vs Superman is of course directed by Zack Snyder, a Marmite proposition if ever there was one.
Dawn of the Dead, 300 and Watchmen was an excellent starting run for him, but he then decided to soil his rep with that weird owl movie and the (to put it mildly) problematic Sucker Punch.
He undoubtedly knows what he’s doing with comic book and graphic novel material however and Man of Steel was very much a return to form after his trip off the rails. What is potentially at issue is whether Zack Snyder can resist the seemingly relentless slide towards “darker, grittier”. The source material for Watchmen is bleak and mostly takes place in a somewhat dystopian alternate history, so the tone of the film was spot on, but after Man of Steel’s muted colour palate, what we have seen of Batman vs Superman so far looks like representing a quest by Snyder to outdo Seven in the “always raining, always night-time” look.
That doesn’t mean it will be a bad film, nor does it imply that Zack Snyder is a poor choice of director, or destined to screw up this lynch-pin mash-up, but the main behind the camera is the primary determiner of what we will eventually see on the big screen and question marks remain as to whether the right choices have been made by Snyder.
Script-wise, we have Chris Terrio (Argo) and David S. Goyer. Argo is a great calling card, given how supremely effective a film that was, but Chris Terrio doesn’t have the longest of CVs. Having said that, Goyer is an undeniable ace in the hole. Blade, Blade 2, Dark City, Batman Begins, Jumper, Man of Steel – this is a writer who lives and breathes comic book adaptations and always to a high standard. Of course he has dud notes in his resume (Blade: Trinity, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance) but then who doesn’t?