Now that the dust has settled around the huge Iron Man opening last weekend, I wanted to take a moment to give the director of the movie a little shout out. As buzz around Iron Man started to build, I heard a lot of people remark at what an odd canon of work Favreau has created as a director (even more so when you stick in his acting jobs) and that trusting him with the reigns of a giant film with a big-budget comic book movie seemed strange at first.
But just like casting Robert Downey Jr. struck me as totally inspired, I think Marvel knew what they were doing when trusting their big movie venture with Favreau. While his body of work may appear to be a bit random (Zathura: A Space Adventure, Elf, Swingers, Made, guest appearance on Friends), upon closer inspection it's clear that one thing ties it all together: a healthy respect for good old-fashioned storytelling. He knows what goes into a spinning a great yarn, and part of that is casting incredibly engaging lead actors (Will Ferrell in Elf, RDJ in Iron Man, etc.).
To read more about why I'm glad this guy was given the chance to direct Iron Man, and why I'm excited to see what he does next, read more.
At this stage in the game, it's pretty hard to freshen up the regular story arc of a superhero movie, much less create a fun summer blockbuster that isn't totally reliant on CGI, and he managed both. This is why I think we can expect a lot more from Favreau the director in the future: his heart is in the craft of filmmaking and he has a strong sense of what folks wants to see. In a recent interview with the LA Times, he reflected on arguably the most successful week of his career by summarizing the way he views filmmaking these days:
Right now is an interesting time because technology is what you're using to tell stories. Really, George Lucas was the guy who made that leap from taking the primal elements of storytelling, the sort of mythic Joseph Campbell storytelling and Jungian archetypal deconstruction of storytelling, and using modern technology to amplify that and present it to a new generation. But I contend it's not the technology that draws people to it, it's the story. It's touching something in us that's much older and deeper.
Here's hoping Favreau sticks around for a long time as I think he and his movies will help to balance out the ratio of story-to-computer generated robots in Hollywood.
Are you as happy as I am for Favreau's success?