Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Patty Jenkins, or "Tone Setting for Tone Deaf Studios."

Patty Jenkins helming Wonder Woman after the probably uneventful departure of Michelle MacLaren is welcome news. I say "probably uneventful" because "creative differences" means a lot of things, and usually they are not nefarious. There is nothing wrong with leaving a project because your vision for something doesn't match that of the studio. And neither side is evil because of it. Referring to her departure is, in my mind, knee jerk at best.

Still, the world of the internet and begging for ad-clicks aside, I'm happy to hear this.  However, this makes me hopeful for something else.

Obviously, we all know Snyder will be directing the first Justice League movie and it will be big and in your face and have a ton of the most well known superheroes of all time and explosions will happen.

Maybe, just maybe, since we know Warner Bros. will not reconsider Snyder helming the project (and let's be fair here, Snyder has had some great moments as a filmmaker. He doesn't have the overwhelmingly obnoxious arrogance of someone like Michael Bay) we should ask who should follow him up when directing another Justice League movie.

Well, Patty Jenkins obviously. Patty Jenkins is a good director. And she's someone who knows how to shoot characters well. Monster was a damn good film. And Jenkins give us a wonderful and terrifying portrait of a real life individual.

I think what the DC movies need is something character driven. Marvel rightly leaves the character stuff to their actors and they use the very basic, but very effective tools of simple and formulaic character development to drive their movies toward the action. It works. It's fun.

But DC's brand and their characters are older. And they feel older. While we had a good and fresh take on Batman with the Nolan films, we have had some misfires, as well.

Green Lantern, whatever you might feel about it, felt like it was trying to be a Marvel movie. And I think it's a mistake. We all, as an audience, know these characters. Even where we don't know all of the minutia of their story, we have familiarity with them.

I think it would behoove DC to get away from trying to make a simple blockbuster action movies. Give them a tone that is distinctive from the Marvel movies. Do this by making their characters more complex and allowing the actors AND the directors the chance to explore that character.

A perfect example would be, oddly enough, Daredevil. The balance between the titular Daredevil and Vincent D'Onofrio's Kingpin is amazing and fun to watch and, for cinephiles like myself, a pleasure because you get something rich and rewarding.

Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, et al, have a rich history and they should be handled in a way that allows them to become more than just superheroes from a comic book page. Make them rich, interesting, and give their personalities a chance to get the focus, in addition to the punches they throw.

And having Patty Jenkins helm one of the Justice League movies would do that. It would be refreshing to see a director who cares about character give us a strong film about the characters many of us grew up loving.

No disrespect intended toward Zack Snyder. But visual flair isn't everything.

Brit W.

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