Get To Know New Spider-Man Director Jon Watts (Through His Work)

By  · Published on June 24th, 2015

When Sony and Marvel announced that Jon Watts would direct the new Spider-Man movie, twelve people recognized the name, and half of them were lying. It was the exact kind of situation that calls for IMDB. While Marvel has kept up its tradition of pulling directors for their massive properties from different levels of obscurity, this combined move with Sony is even more curious than when Marc Webb was hired for the Amazing reboots.

At the time, Webb had a genuine indie darling on his hands with 500 Days of Summer (which went on to gross over $70m worldwide), and while Watts has gotten a slight Sundance bump this year, his most visible movie, Cop Car, hasn’t been tested in theaters yet and didn’t exactly burst forth like a rocket from the festival bubble. (The notoriously stingy Rob gave it a B- in his review.)

The only other feature film Watts has directed, Clown, never got a US theatrical release despite getting Eli Roth’s attention (it came to life after being a fake horror trailer) and having a hellaciously interesting premise involving a clown suit that doesn’t come off because it’s the skin of a child-killing demon. He also wrote and produced The Fuzz, a Yahoo-released webseries about a puppet cop and his human partner busting crime.

So, he shares a tiny bit of Sundance DNA with Webb and a tiny bit of horror comedy DNA with Sam Raimi. Otherwise, he just won the filmmaking lottery.

It seems like Marvel and Sony have plucked Watts off a street corner in Millberry, Ohio and asked if he wants to helm their latest run at global franchise dominance, but his non-feature resume is lengthy, and the 47 videos he has on his personal Vimeo page paint the picture of a modestly accomplished filmmaker with a twisted sense of humor, a heart for horror and a hinted at talent for action.

In other words, a name everyone had to Google may make a nice tonal fit for Tom Holland’s Peter Parker. Naturally, he’ll also come with the manageable nature that all yeoman commercial and music video directors graduating to the biggest league possess. To be blunt, it’s highly likely that we’ll go from a corporate-flavored Spider-Man with touches of Webb’s personality to a Marvel-specific corporate-flavored Spider-Man with touches of Watts’ personality. Also, Sony will somehow be in the mix, too.

Nevertheless, take a few minutes out of your day to get to know Watts through his work. Check out his control, his style and his comic timing. For me, it all adds up to something that could make Spider-Man a lot of fun.

Two of many music videos:

For the Onion News Network:

The movie stuff:

What do you think?

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Movie stuff at VanityFair, Thrillist, IndieWire, Film School Rejects, and The Broken Projector [email protected] | Writing short stories at Adventitious.