Best Movies Directed By MCU Directors (That Are Not Marvel Movies)

The directors behind some of the biggest titles in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have become household names for comic book fans. However, most of them have dabbled in a wide variety of genres ranging from horror to comedy. Boasting both Oscar winners and blockbuster directors, the MCU has benefited greatly from the creative vision of these filmmakers.

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As Jon Favreau kicked off the first phase of the MCU, writers such as Destin Daniel Cretton, Chloe Zhao, and Jon Watts carry on the franchise’s legacy. Along with their large and global Marvel companies, these directors have also made other films that make viewing essential.


Jojo Rabbit (2019) Directed by Taika Waititi

Jojo and his imaginary friend Hilter in the movie Jojo Rabbit

After giving praise for Thor: Ragnarok, Taika Waititi has been selected to make another Thor film for the MCU. But before that, Waititi wrote, directed and starred in antiwar satire. Bunny Jojo. In one of his most popular films, Waiti played a parodied version of Adolf Hitler while also becoming the imaginary friend of a young boy aligned with the Nazis.

It is one of Taika Waititi’s best films, rooted in emotion and filled with the harsh realities of fascist regimes. The scenario of Waititi, adapted from the book by Christine Leunens Caged skies, has also earned him laurels such as the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Chef (2014) Directed by Jon Favreau

While Jon Favreau has been linked with big budget action movies like the first two Iron Man films, the writer-director-actor can also go down a giddy path when needed. The result is Chief, one of the best movies for foodies that boasts of a feel-good tone and a pure homage to the culinary arts

As the title suggests, Chief revolves around the main character who quits his job at an upscale LA restaurant to start his own food truck. A healthy dose of family drama is added to the mix, as Favreau’s boss hooks up with his young son as well. The film was acclaimed by both critics and the public while diversifying the filmography of its director.

Nomadland (2020) Directed by Chloé Zhao

Nomadland Fern standing by his trailer, out in the sun

Chloe Zhao landed director job for ensemble-led MCU production Eternals, but she had started her career with independent low-budget feature films. Even though his first two companies received rave reviews, he is Nomadic country who put it on the map.

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The story of a nomadic lifestyle of a working woman in modern America struck a chord with many, with all of the major awards favoring Zhao as the best director. The film not only proved her talents as a director, but also her scriptwriting and editing skills.

The Gentiles (2016) Directed by Shane Black

The nice guys

The third entry in Marvel’s Iron Man the film trilogy was written and directed by Shane Black, who also collaborated with Robert Downey Jr on his directorial debut, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

Since he had dabbled in writing action comedies like Deadly weapon, Iron man 3 was a new experience for Black. However, three years later he returned to his dark comedy character with the period comedy titled The nice guys. Set in the 1970s, the film is about a private investigator and an executor as they investigate the disappearance of a teenage girl. Their pursuit leads them to uncover a larger plot involving the world of pornography and the auto mafia.

Fruitvale Station (2013) Directed by Ryan Coogler

Michael B. Jordan at Fruitvale Station

Ryan Coogler has been linked with big budget hits like Creed and Black Panther but it debuted with the relatively small functionality Fruitvale Station. It remains one of his most acclaimed films, triggering Coogler and Michael B’s hard-hitting storytelling, Jordan’s dramatic acting prowess.

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Only 85 minutes long, the film takes place over the course of one night and features the unlawful murder of Oscar Grant at the hands of a police officer. Fruitvale StationThe claustrophobic atmosphere and the tragic true story show the reality of many Americans who are the hardest hit by police brutality.

The Suicide Squad (2021) directed by James Gunn

The team looking at the camera in The Suicide Squad

James Gunn revamped the MCU’s humor with an unlikely pair of heroes through the first two guardians of the galaxy movies. While dealing with another DC comic giant, he experimented with similar themes in The suicide squad.

This time around, the group of misfits known as the Suicide Squad includes obscure DC villains and anti-heroes who are sent on a secret mission to overthrow the government of an island nation. With Gunn also serving as a screenwriter, the 2021 blockbuster is graced with self-aware humor, over-the-top action, and satirical hits on the superhero genre itself. Even though Gunn started out with horror, he definitely established his familiarity with superhero movies.

Cop Car (2015) Directed by Jon Watts

The man behind MCU’s iteration of Spider-Man, Jon Watts has received acclaim at Sundance with his second effort Cop car. The road thriller failed at the box office but brought Watts onto Marvel’s radar as his next film was Spider-Man: Homecoming.

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Cop car revolves around two young delinquents as they steal a crooked sheriff’s car. With enough tension and a formidable lead performance by Kevin Bacon, Watts’ second film is an intense thriller. The very fact that it is far from Spider Man The light tropes of the trilogy’s coming of age only show the diversity of its filmography.

Short term 12 (2013) Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton

After the box office success of Shang-Chi and the legend of the ten rings, Destiny Daniel Cretton has confirmed directing his sequel. Cretton is known for his biopics like The glass castle and Just mercy, but his debut is what marked him as a rising talent.

Featuring Captain marvelis Brie Larson, Short term 12 Born from Cretton’s screenplay which he submitted to the Nicholls Academy Award-sponsored Scholarship (which he later won). The independent drama focused on a group home supervisor as she deals with troubled teens. Cretton based the film on his actual experiences of working in similar facilities.

Sinister (2012) Directed by Scott Derrickson

Ethan Hawke in Sinister

Before getting involved in the mystical arts in Doctor strange, Scott Derrickson has touched a lot on the horror genre. While his horror adventures have had a mixed record, the Ethan Hawke-starrer Sinister has become a cult favorite over the years.

The story involves a writer who discovers a box of cassettes in his new home. When he begins to decipher the origins of these gangs, dark forces are revealed. With enough scares and thrills, Sinister manages to be terribly nightmarish. In reality, Sinister also emerged as the scariest movie according to a 2020 study.

Mississippi Grind (2015) Directed by Anna Boden and Ryan K. Fleck

Ben Mendelsohn and Ryan Reynolds in Mississippi Grind

Director duo Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck wrote and directed the comedy-drama A24 Mississippi Grind before barring Captain marvel. Interesting way, Mississippi Grind with Ben Mendelsohn, who plays Talos in Captain marvel.

Overflowing with the delicious alchemy of its two protagonists, Mississippi Grind deals with an unlucky real estate agent who teams up with a young poker player. Eager to achieve huge victories despite everything, the duo ended up embarking on a road trip through the South.

NEXT: 10 Best Dramas From The MCU’s Directors

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