The Women Who Should Be Directing Superhero Movies Now

We've been suffering from SMOS — Superhero Movie Overload Syndrome — for several months now. It's real, and it's debilitating. There are simply too many of these films, and too few of them are actually good. I, on the other hand, have let the condition manifest itself in less elegant ways. On Saturday, I went on a too-loud rant at a barbecue about how badly the Avengers franchise needs a shakeup ("Ooh, can't wait for another movie where Robert Downey Jr. says something quippy and Chris Evans makes a sad face, and then everybody fights in extreme close-up for 22 minutes!").

We came very close to a cure this weekend, though, when news leaked that Ava DuVernay of "Selma" would direct Chadwick Boseman in Marvel's Black Panther movie. Alas, DuVernay told Essence that she considered taking on the project, but that her vision ultimately differed with Marvel's. My extremely uneducated guess? We would've liked hers better.

Because here's the thing: People will show up for these movies no matter what. It's the perfect opportunity to experiment with change, and we know the perfect people to shake things up: these six directors. Please, superhero movie powers that be. New blood is our only hope.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images, Rex


KATHRYN BIGELOW | A no-brainer. Bigelow (of "The Hurt Locker" and "Zero Dark Thirty") is the sole talent in the game right now who knows how to turn action into Oscar fodder. Ideally, she'd get to create or revamp an entire world, for that maximum mind-expanding Christopher Nolan's "Dark Knight" effect. In other words, going forward, I will only accept insanely quick remakes with Bigelow's stamp on them. Photo Credit: Getty Images, Rex

SOFIA COPPOLA | Sony is planning a vague "female-driven Spider-man movie" (oxymoron?), potentially starring Felicity Jones as her Felicia Hardy/Black Cat character. Hardy's backstory: She was a perfect cheerleader whose family had a dark secret. If that's not the setup to a Sofia Coppola character study, I don't know what is.  Photo Credit: Getty Images, Rex

DEBBIE ALLEN | The former "Different World" actress is now the go-to director on "Scandal," "Jane the Virgin," "Grey's Anatomy," and "Empire." In other words: she can wrangle an ensemble a zillion different ways. I'd love to see her take on a Justice League or Avengers installment. Photo Credit: Getty Images, Rex

JULIE TAYMOR | Yes, the Broadway legend's "Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark" was an unmitigated disaster. But Taymor (who's currently directing Anne Hathaway in the play "Grounded") has an imagination that's unparalleled, and having been through a cultural pummeling is an advantage when you're taking on a reboot of, say, "Green Lantern." A "let's try this again" take on that terrible film — it's the Gigli of Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively's relationship — is planned for 2020. Photo Credit: Getty Images, Rex

MIRA NAIR | Nair is a wizard at combining intimate character portraits with the kind of large-scale stuff that takes your breath away (watch "The Namesake" and "Amelia" back to back, and you'll see what I'm talking about). She's a true universe creator who's also comfortable telling stories that spread across decades — which makes her a perfect fit for Marvel's "Inhumans" project, slated for 2019, which will unveil a new group of supernaturals whose powers come from genetic mutations, not some sort of divine assignment. In Nair's hands, backstory never feels like exposition — she wouldn't make us suffer any two-line lab assistants dully outlining the movie's premise. Photo Credit: Getty Images, Rex

ZOE SALDANA | Yeah, I know Saldana's directed only short films so far, but have any of you spent years of your life under the tutelage JJ Abrams, Justin Lin, and James Cameron? Didn't think so. Now give her Scarlett Johansson's standalone "Black Widow" movie and watch the male and female audience quadrants explode. Photo Credit: Getty Images, Rex