How Hollywood Killed the Director
Olivia Wilde shouldn’t be directing a Marvel movie. Here’s why.
Now is not the time to tell people that a rare piece of good news is actually bad news, but allow me to be King Asshole for a moment, won’t you? Here is the good news in question: A few weeks ago, Deadline reported that Olivia Wilde was signing to direct a Marvel movie. Not just any Marvel movie, but a Spider-Woman movie. Marvel is happy. Wilde is happy. Even fanboys and fangirls, an impossibly prickly lot, are happy, or at least as happy as that strain of humanity gets. And why wouldn’t they be? Marvel makes good movies. Wilde made a movie last year in Booksmart that had such a clear voice to it — funny and almost painfully current — that it only makes sense to imbue Spider-Woman with that same voice. It’s a perfect match. Everyone wins.
And that’s the big fucking lie. Wilde just got assimilated into the new film industry Borg. It’s a good Borg, mind you. She’s gonna get paid bank and have an opportunity to put her imprimatur onto a big-shit comic book character. Some of that imprimatur, probably in the form of a few brilliant lines of dialogue and a flash of wholesome raunch. But it’s still gonna be a Marvel movie. Marvel makes these movies, with occasional input from Reddit. No one else really gets to. I was thinking about all this because Twitter user @mappewpwellps posted this scene from Spider-Man 2 at the end of July.
That scene went viral because it’s fucking awesome, but also because you will NOT see a scene that looks like this in any tentpole superhero movie going forward. Spider-Man 2 was a Spider-Man movie, but it was foremost the work of Sam Raimi, the beloved Evil Dead director who had the good sense — and more important, the PERMISSION — to lend that movie his own affectionate B-movie stylings. Once Spider-Man 3 got laughed out of theaters, Raimi was never allowed near the franchise again. After two Andrew Garfield Spider-Man movies that Sony made essentially to keep the character its intellectual…