So Jon Favreau thinks just because he's wrapped up Iron Man now he can just move on and direct an Avengers movie, huh? Yeah. Whatever. Look pal, just because you're a good writer (Swingers) who directs great, special effect heavy family films (Elf, Zathura) and just finished up a kick-ass looking Superhero film of your own (Iron Man) doesn't mean you have what it takes to be our go to guy for superhero movies. I mean, it's not like you've ever even appeared in a Superhero movie. I mean, had you played a lovable lawyer sidekick like Foggy Nelson in some Daredevil movie, then maybe.
Wait. You did? Okay, you're our guy.
Look, Favreau is the total package. He understands every aspect of the process from the inside out. He's worn almost every hat, from Producer on down. And watching his early films, you can't help but see the same kind of energy and passion as you see with the guys like Guillermo del Toro. And it's clear that he's been working up to something. Turns out it is directing superhero movies. And God bless him for it. Someone has to.
Marvel Comics' biggest problem thus far has been the fact that back in the '90s, when it was on the brink of bankruptcy, it sold the rights to make movies to all of its characters. Unfortunately, no one studio had the cash to buy them all. So instead EVERYONE bought them. The result was characters scattered about the movie-making universe who would never be allowed to meet on camera. There would be no Hulk/Daredevil team-up movie. The X-Men would never meet the Avengers. The Punisher would never stalk Spider-Man through the streets of New York. Until now.
Now they've reportedly untangled the rights to make an Avengers movie. What does that mean? Well, it means the likes of Iron Man will be in a movie with characters like Captain America, The Hulk, Ant-Man, The Wasp, Thor – maybe even Quicksilver and The Scarlet Witch, who are the children of Magneto - and who knows how many others? (The Avengers have had well over 100 members.)
Now I've met and talked to Favreau on a number of occasions, and what strikes me as his greatest asset in making these films is his approach to special effects. He describes special effects as performing a magic trick, an illusion. A common metaphor. Except that he takes it a step further. You see, when you perform a magic trick, you begin with an ordinary object. There's no trickery to be found. You give it to an audience member and let them examine it. Then you take it back, swap it out, do your trick, amaze the audience, and before they know it, swap it back for the original item. TADA!
Well, Favreau does the same thing with special effects. Whenever possible, he likes to have a practical, real-life object in front of the camera, and only use CG when he has to do something that he can't simulate with a real object. It's the same principle as magic. Have a real Iron Man suit on camera, use it as often as possible; then, when Iron Man has to do something you can't REALLY do, CG it, and then bring back the real suit. TADA!
In a time when other directors are trying to create entire characters and menaces out of CG, Favs is trying to make it look as real as possible – by making it as real as possible. And that's exactly the kind of guy I want making my superhero movies. I believe in Favreau, I think he's got what it takes. We'll find out this May when Iron Man is released.
C. Robert Cargill - - - Email Me
Austin-based Cargill, who not only loves but owns The Cutting Edge, writes on movies and DVD five times a week.