Of all the properties that Warner Bros has been trying to get off the ground in recent years, no movie has had a rougher time than The Flash. The film has been burning through directors faster than its titular character wears out jockstraps, and with a recent page one rewrite taking the entire project back to the start, it seems questionable as to whether this film will ever actually get made.
The top choices are unquestionably brilliant, and they definitely show the tone that DC are aiming for here.
Robert Zemeckis had already been rumored to be in the running for this movie – he’s most famous for the Back to the Future trilogy, as well as for films like Forrest Gump and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. This is a guy with light comedy acting chops, and the ability to bring heart to a film where it’s needed.
Next up is Matthew Vaughn, a master filmmaker responsible for hits like Kick-Ass, Layer Cake, Kingsman, and X-Men: First Class. Vaughn again has a love for over-the-top comedy, and if there’s anyone who can handle big action setpieces that sparkle with originality, it’s this guy.
Finally, there’s Sam Raimi, whose biggest claim to fame is the original Spider-Man trilogy, but who first became notable for making the Evil Dead series. This is another director with warmth and heart, and a quirky sense of humor, so if these reports prove true, it looks like one way or the other, DC is looking for The Flash to be more Lego Batman than Batman v Superman.
But who should get the job?
If you’ll allow me to step up onto my own personal soapbox for a second, I’d like to solve that quandry for DC and pick the best possible director for The Flash.
First off, let’s rule out Matthew Vaughn. The Kingsman: The Golden Circle director already has a lot on his plate right now, and it would be a shame to see him divert his focus from all the wacky projects he already has on the go.
Next, let’s knock out Robert Zemeckis, for similar if slightly more nuanced reasons. While the acclaimed director made his name with wacky hijinks films, his recent works suggest a greater desire to tell powerful, dramatic stories.
His three most recent director credits are for Allied, The Walk, and Flight, suggesting that he’d much rather make something a little gritty – which is exactly what we don’t want The Flash to become. This movie needs to be light and hopeful, in order to best fit the new, more optimistic direction the DCEU is taking.
This leaves us with Sam Raimi. While the original Spider-Man trilogy hasn’t aged hugely well, it’s still considered the defining comic book movie experience, which set the tone for pretty much all Marvel movies that followed.
Raimi’s films have humor and wit, but they’re also drenched in layers of nuance and emotional power. This is the kind of this The Flash deserves – not just a straight comedy, but the kind of movie that leaves an impact on its audience.
Plus, if there’s ever a chance to get Sam Raimi and JK Simmons back together, we need it in our lives. Call him Commissioner Gordon or J Jonah Jameson, it doesn’t matter – these two working together make something special.