Jon Favreau announced today that he won’t be returning for Iron Man 3 which seems just as well. Iron Man 2 was a mixed bag, and Favreau already seems to be moving onto the next stage of his career with Cowboys & Aliens.

Unfortunately, the man leaves a large director’s chair to be filled – a chair that comes with a lot of expectations and responsibilities alongside what must be a cave-full of fun to be had playing around with Tony Stark.

There’s no secret formula for choosing the right director for a project, especially when its the third in a series. We here at FSR wouldn’t recommend Brett Ratner or Joel Schumacher based on past performance in taking over franchises on the third film, but finding names that actually make sense is a little more challenging.

We’ve done our best to come up with at least six individuals that would be up to the task in one way or the other (or because we’re infinitely interested in seeing what triumph or train wreck they would come up with). Without further ado, go ahead and read our list of six directors that should take over Iron Man 3 so you can get started on violently explaining why we’re wrong.

Shane Black

The Pitch: Anytime a discussion of smart, funny, action films arises so does the name Shane Black. Or at least it should. The man practically invented macho banter with the Lethal Weapon franchise, The Last Boy Scout, and The Long Kiss Goodnight. He made his directorial debut five years ago with the very choice Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, and he’s overdue for a return behind the camera.

Black’s resume shows he’s more than capable of mixing solid action with loose and wildly entertaining characters, so Tony Stark seems like a natural fit for his style. And speaking of Stark… Robert Downey Jr. owes at least part of his resurgence this past decade to his hilarious and whip-smart team-up opposite Val Kilmer in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. And who could argue with Iron Man facing off against Dieter Von Cunth?

The Caveat: Black would have to write the script himself to maintain dialogue integrity. -RH

Neill Blomkamp

The Pitch: Blomkamp’s name automatically rises to just about every list after District 9. He’ll be busying himself with Elysium, so it’s difficult to see whether he’d fit into a realistic schedule, or whether he’d give Tony Stark an alien arm, but his version of the Iron Man universe would be a sight to see for several reasons.

One, he can stretch a budget like few can. Two, he can make a sympathetic main character out of a complete asshole. Three, he might be able to convince Guillermo Del Toro to come on board to play Fin Fang Foom, and if he does, we’d all be winners.

The Caveat: The test here would be one of scope. District 9 was large in many ways, but not nearly as large as the Iron Man universe demands – especially when its about to take its third lap. -CA

Peter Berg

The Pitch: Some directors become a franchise unto themselves with movie titles preceded by their name while others are more workhorse types who make consistently solid films with little to no name recognition. Peter Berg is in that latter category. He’s made one tense, exciting, and kick-ass thriller in The Kingdom and one fun-as-hell action romp in The Rundown. He’s currently working on the epic Navy vs aliens flick Battleship so clearly studios aren’t afraid of handing him big budget reins.

As with a few of the names on this list Berg’s biggest draw is his ability to mix strong action with solid humor. The Rundown is the best example, but even the much maligned Hancock has some well done, humorous action set pieces. And if you go back to the beginning of Berg’s filmography you’ll find a wonderfully black little film called Very Bad Things which starred… Jon Favreau!

The Caveat: Berg can’t let the movie end with Pepper Potts revealing that she’s also a superhero who was once a god or some such shit. -RH

Rian Johnson

The Pitch: There once was a young man who wrote a little indie called Swingers and then directed a little indie called Made. That man, Jon Favreau, was once also an assistant on Joel Schumacher’s Batman Forever. These things come around. Now, in almost an identical position (except for the martini-drinking in limousine back seats with Vince Vaughn), Rian Johnson has created Brick and The Brothers Bloom. They’re two very different films about to be joined by a third very different film called Looper.

Johnson would be the dark horse candidate much like Favreau must have been when he was hired on to direct the flagship for Marvel’s major foray into independent producing. Brick, like Swingers and Made, relies heavily on character and dialog while Bloom proves a flair for comedy. He’s already escaping the B-based alliteration with Looper (and attempting to prove his sci-fi prowess), and all of the best things of his movies would come together in a big action comedy adventure with a one-liner spitting billionaire.

The Caveat: Johnson would need to drink way more martinis. -CA

Ben Stiller

The Pitch: The guy from Zoolander? Yes. The guy who directed Tropic Thunder. He’d obviously have to avoid pulling so hard on the absurdity lever, but he’s already worked with Robert Downey Jr in that capacity, and he’s in need of breaking away from the Focking franchise he’s in now. Plus, he’s got a Favreau-esque indie cred with Reality Bites.

He’s not an obvious choice, but he’s a director who would churn out a solid exploration of Tony Stark. As a bonus, it gives Iron Man a chance to team up with Shoveler, Spleen, and Captain Amazing.

The Caveat: Stiller is not allowed to cast himself as the villain. -CA

Danny Boyle

The Pitch: This choice is a bit left field to be sure, but a Danny Boyle-directed comic book movie could be all kinds of awesome. the man has energy and enthusiasm to spare and those traits carry into his films. Even more than Rian Johnson he’s shown himself to be quite capable of jumping between genres and film types defying expectations more often than not. From the blackly comic thrills of Shallow Grave to the kaleidoscopic examination of life that is 127 Hours, Boyle is not a man to be pigeonholed.

Boyle has a fantastic eye, and even when his films sag in the narrative they’re kept alive with cinematography and visual excitement. A superhero film from the director of Trainspotting could very well be a gift to film lovers worldwide.

The Caveat: Boyle would have to promise to leave his recent taste for schmaltz behind. -RH

Who do you want to direct?


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