Walt Disney Co. via Everett Collection
Six years and nine movies in, Marvel has already payed tribute to several film genres with its cinematic universe. We’ve seen fish-out-of-water stories, political thrillers, pulpy throwbacks, and even a corporate super-villainy grace our screens, but there’s still loads of genres that have yet to receive the superhero treatment. We’ve decided to take a look at the possible genres that Marvel’s next batch of standalone superhero films could hone in on.
Iron Man 4
Iron Man 2 saw Tony Stark dip a toe in the well of self-destruction, but what if the character went all the way down the rabbit hole in his next outing? The comic book version of Iron Man has endured a long suffering battle with alcohol, and it would be great to see a superhero film realistically delve into the demons of addiction. We don’t necessarily want Requiem for a Dream: Iron Man Edition or anything, but a comic book film with a frank arc about addiction could take Marvel’s storytelling to the next level. Dream director: Danny Boyle.
Let’s be real. Hawkeye probably doesn’t get the call to “Assemble!” all that often. When Galactus comes tearing through the Milky Way, the first thought pinging through the minds of the more supernaturally-endowed members of the Avengers probably isn’t, “Hey let’s call that guy with the arrows!” A everpresent theme in the recent Hawkeye comics is that Cliff Barton also feels inadequate when standing shoulder to shoulder with his Avengers cohorts. So let’s take that stew of unfulfillment and inadequacy brewing inside the purple archer and refocus it into a genre where those feeling thrive: the indie drama. Think Frances Ha with terrorists, or Greenberg with ninjas. Honestly, when you think about it, Hawkeye is basically Hannah Horvath: a young adult living in Brooklyn, only first coming to realize that he is not as great as he’s always thought. Dream director: Rian Johnson
Survival films had a monster 2013, with yarns like Gravity and All is Lost becoming critical and commercial successes. What if the next Thor standalone hopped on this trend before it flickered out. Picture this: after a night of a few too many jars of mead, Thor accidentally bifrosts himself into a uncharted section of the nine realms. With no way home, Thor has to survive an alien wilderness full of terrifying hell-beasts, and a caustic elements. It would be the ultimate story of man against nature, or more accurately, demi-god against nature. The best part would be that they couldn’t shoehorn a Jane Foster romantic sub-plot anywhere. Dream director: Joe Carnahan
Cold War thriller
Countless vials of ink have been used up in order to tell the origin of Black Widow in comic books, but nary a drop of celluloid has been set toward the past of Black Widow’s big screen counterpart. Doing an ’80s period piece about the Soviet spy-turned-S.H.I.E.L.D. agent’s ascension to goodness could be an awesome way to give the character a proper back story. Look at all the good going back to the ’60s did for the X-men franchise with X-Men: First Class. Doing a quieter espionage film featuring Natasha Romanov defecting from the hemorrhaging Soviet Union would do much to diversify Marvel’s portfolio and give cinema goers a break from rampant city destruction which is quickly becoming an overused play in Marvel’s cinematic handbook. Dream Director: Joe Wright
The Incredible Hulk 2
Gladiator/prison break film
The Hulk is a tricky character to script an entire film around, and there’s a reason why Bruce Banner in The Avengers as a part of an ensemble, whereas he mostly floundered in his standalone outings. For a Hulk movie, it would be cool if Marvel took some inspiration from the Planet Hulk comic book storyline and told a story where aliens captured the Hulk and made him fight in gladiatorial style combat against the universe’s most destructive entities. For one thing, it would give the Hulk an otherworldly challenge unlike anything he would face on Earth, but it would also give Marvel a chance to bridge their mainline cinematic universe with their more cosmic offerings. Maybe someone like Gamora from the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy could make an appearance? The film could then end with an extended prison break sequence as the Hulk smashes his way back home again. Dream Director: Ridley Scott
Captain America 3
Conspiracy thriller/occult romp
Captain America: The First Avenger did the whole Spielberg thing already, but if the Captain America comics has taught us anything, it’s that you can’t keep a good Nazi down. The Red Skull has always been permanent fixture in Captain America’s long running mythos, and it would seem like a such a sin if he didn’t rear his ugly mug in at least one adventure set in the modern world. After Cap is finished with the political thrills of The Winter Soldier, why not embrace the pulp once more with a country-spanning adventure, full of secrets being uncovered, ancient organizations being foiled, and Nazis being clanged in the head with shields? Dream director: Brad Bird