Let's be honest before we begin:  whoever directs this film is walking into a situation where they are going to be in service of someone else's vision, and that vision is going to consist of dozens of people's visions, all of them combined into whatever that script ends up being.  Before they have a director set, they're going to have a script that they are committed to, that they've paid for quite dearly at this point, and that director is going to have to be willing to make that movie.

There are names that people always like to throw out for everything, names that are preposterous because they just aren't going to do it.  Instead of picking non-starters today like Terry Gilliam (no studio on Earth is pulling the trigger on a $150 million film with Gilliam at the helm), Lana and Andy Wachowski (they're not interested and would much rather focus on their own material), or even Steven Spielberg (not gonna happen), we're going to name ten artists we would like to see given free reign to make the material whatever they want to make it.

Some of these names you might expect based on my reviews and reportage over the years.  Some of them you might not expect at all or even agree with.  But all of these are people whose "Justice League" would get us in a theater opening weekend.  Let's see how many of these names you like, and who I'm overlooking, both of which I'll expect plenty of in the comments section below.

Brad Bird

Remember that moment in "The Iron Giant"?  You know the one I'm talking about.  The big guy has decided to make a sacrifice for the boy he's come to love, and he takes off, determined to meet a missile far enough away to avoid hurting anyone in the city, and as he rises, secure in knowledge that he has made a choice, and he is not a gun.  He is not a weapon.  He is something with a soul, a being capable of choosing, a machine with a moral compass.  And that knowledge, that self-realization, fills him with faith and strength and, yes, love, and he closes his eyes.  And he leans into it.  And, practically giddy with the courage of knowing he is doing the right thing, he allows himself to invoke the name…


Goose bumps, right?  An amazing moment that says everything about the journey of this remarkable being, this Iron Giant, and a great example of how good Bird is at the Big Moment.  He understands the superhero genre innately, and "The Incredibles" is further proof that he's the right man for the job, but it goes deeper than that.  Bird has an impeccable story sense, and when he made the jump to live-action with "Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol," he proved he can create the same sort of excitement as in his animated work, and that he can handle a group dynamic.  After all, much of "Ghost Protocol" is about the team, how they get cut off from all their support, how they trust each other and each contribute something particular, and ultimately, how they win as a team.  That seems like a perfect warm-up for "Justice League" to us.

Juan Antonio Bayona

I have no idea how much "The Impossible" cost to make, but if you told me it was $100 million, I'd believe you, and if you told me $10 million, I'd also believe you.  I'm sure it's somewhere in between, but the reason I'm so confused is because the work he does in recreating a tsunami that sweeps in and destroys the Thailand resort is seamless and persuasive.  Basically, it looks like he just staged a real tsunami and destroyed a small Southeast Asian country in the process.

More than that, though, is the way he uses the effects and the practical work and the combination of techniques to communicate emotion.  The tsunami is incredibly upsetting because he makes it an experience, puts you in the midst of it.  A "Justice League" movie has got to be about scale, and you want someone who won't lose the human details in the midst of that kind of mayhem.

Joe Cornish

If he can take a group of muggers from threatening an innocent woman in the street to being unlikely saviors of the world and genuinely win over the audience in the process, then I would imagine he can figure out how to make the members of the Justice League look like the golden gods they are.  He speaks fluent blockbuster, and even if "Attack The Block" is a small film, the way he solved the film's visual questions, including the design of the aliens, is enough to suggest that he would give us a dynamic take on the familiar characters.

Guillermo Del Toro

Oh, the things I've seen.  Look, Guillermo's had a handle on comic book language since he began, and "Blade II" was his chance to prove that he was ready for big mainstream jobs.  He did a great job of staging big-budget action on a fairly restrained budget.  Both of the "Hellboy" films stretched their money as far as was humanly possible.  But until you see what he's doing with "Pacific Rim," you have no idea what sound and fury he can summon.  He is staging fights on a level we've never really seen from a giant studio movie, and that's one of the things that could help distinguish a Justice League movie.  If anyone can create a threat that would require Superman and Batman and The Flash and Green Lantern and Wonder Woman all concentrating their full attention on it, Guillermo can.

And I have a feeling Warner Bros. is going to be loving Guillermo when next summer rolls around.  Here's your chance to keep him in the family.

A respected critic and commentator for fifteen years, Drew McWeeny helped create the online film community as "Moriarty" at Ain't It Cool News, and now proudly leads two budding Film Nerds in their ongoing movie education.