The Marvel Cinematic Universe has managed to hook in established directors, such as Kenneth Brannagh, but also helped up and coming directors make their mark. Marvel Studios has an eye for finding such talented people and it’s only natural that these people have made some other great movies, too. Below are ten great movies from MCU directors.
1. Chef (Jon Favreau)
Jon Favreau kicked off the Marvel Cinematic Universe by introducing us to Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man. He followed up with a sequel, but passed on a third movie. However, Favreau has still been involved in producing the Avengers movies and continues to play the role of Happy Hogan. After his success with the MCU, Favreau re-teamed with some of his Iron Man co-stars on the movie, Chef. Scarlett Johansson and Robert Downey Jr both give great support as Favreau directs himself in the film. He plays a famous chef who quits his job to run a food truck with his son. It’s a fun movie with a funky soundtrack and features lots of shots of food. So, don’t watch this whilst you’re hungry.
2. The Transporter (Louis Letterier)
Although The Incredible Hulk is often considered the outcast of the MCU, it’s actually a pretty good film. Director Louis Letterier is no stranger to shooting action sequences, having directed the first two Transporter movies in the early 2000s (Corey Yuen also served as a primary director on the first movie). Jason Statham plays Frank Martin, a notorious ‘transporter’ who will transport anyone, or anything, for the right price. It features exactly the kind of action you’d expect from a Jason Statham film, but these feature him at his best.
3. Jumanji (Joe Johnston)
It might come as a surprise to you that the director of Captain America: The First Avenger was also the director of the much loved family film, Jumanji. Jumanji follows two siblings as they accidentally release several dangerous animals from a mysterious board game. As well as this, an adult man (Robin Williams) who has been trapped in the game for years is released, too. It is Williams’ performance that heightens the fun of the movie and the originality that elevates it, but Johnston’s direction is not to be overlooked either.
4. The Nice Guys (Shane Black)
Although Shane Black directed Robert Downey Jr in both Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, as well as Iron Man 3, The Nice Guys is a better film and deserves to be seen by more people. The Nice Guys stars Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe – Gosling as a feeble private detective and Crowe as tough-guy enforcer. They end up forced together as a team in order to find a missing girl. It is, without a doubt, Gosling’s best role. His comic timing is genius and he clearly has a lot of fun bouncing off of Black’s script. Crowe holds his own, too. Although his role is not as comical, his straight-man performance compliments Gosling and the two work as a good duo.
5. Super (James Gunn)
Before Guardians of the Galaxy, James Gunn helped bring a different kind of superhero into the world. Although it didn’t do particularly well at the box office, Super shows a lot of promise. Rainn Wilson stars as Frank Darbo, who dons the identity of The Crimson Bolt, in order to rescue his wife from the hands of a drug dealer. With Ellen Page’s ‘Boltie’ joining him as a sidekick, The Crimson Bolt starts a war even though he has no superpowers. It’s an ultra violent film, but dotted with moments of genuine hilarity.
6. Mississippi Grind (Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck)
The Captain Marvel duo, Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, served up something slightly different with Mississippi Grind. Ben Mendelsohn plays a gambling addict who ends up becoming convinced that his new friend, played by Ryan Reynolds, is a good luck charm. The two go on a road trip in order to compete in a high-stakes poker game. It’s quite simply a character movie, exploring the difference between the two types of gamblers. But it’s a fresh take on the genre and Boden and Fleck bring a unique style to it.
7. What We Do in the Shadows (Taika Waititi)
Easily Taika Waititi’s greatest film, What We Do in the Shadows is a mockumentary about a group of vampires who live together in a flat in New Zealand. Waititi plays one of the vampires, alongside Jermaine Clement, Jonathan Brugh and Ben Fransham. It is consistently hilarious – Waititi has great fun bringing vampire stereotypes and cliches into a modern setting. If you haven’t seen it, I don’t want to give too much away as each scene is golden. But I strongly suggest you check it out!
8. Fruitvale Station (Ryan Coogler)
Black Panther director, Ryan Coogler, first came onto the scene with Frutivale Station. Starring regular collaborator, Michael B. Jordan, it tells the true story of Oscar Grant. Grant was a young African-American shot dead by two police officers on New Year’s Day. It’s an important story, with Coogler’s intention of the movie to be a celebration of Grant’s life.
9. Cop Car (Jon Watts)
Before getting hold of Spider-Man, director Jon Watts directed star Kevin Bacon in this black comedy thriller. Bacon plays a corrupt Sheriff who makes two young boys his target after they’ve taken his police car for a joy ride. It’s an original story (Watts was also onboard for the screenplay) with a stomach-churning climax and the central performances definitely help to hold the film together.
10. Berlin Syndrome (Cate Shortland)
Before taking on the Black Widow solo movie which is set to hit theatres this year, Cate Shortland directed psychological thriller, Berlin Syndrome. The title is a play on the condition ‘Stockholm Syndrome’, with the plot centring on an Australian tourist (Teresa Palmer) who is taken hostage by her attractive one-night stand (Max Riemelt). With the majority of the film taking place in one location and featuring only two characters, the direction is integral. Shortland offers a unique take on a slow spiral into madness.