Warner Bros. seems to be serious about a Lobo movie, because the studio is close to signing a director. According to recent reports, Michael Bay is in talks to bring the Main Man to life on the silver screen. It sounds like, well, the most ridiculous Michael Bay thing imaginable.
Thanks to Bay’s very particular set of skills, he just may be the perfect choice for this film. At the same time, though, he’s also the absolute worst director the studio could have picked for a live-action Lobo movie.
Michael Bay’s Wheelhouse
On the surface, Lobo is very much in Michael Bay’s wheelhouse. He’s a big alien monster biker who is basically as strong as Superman, but with the personality of a truck driver. He can heal from any wound, allowing him to take some pretty horrifying damage, and he has a built-in personality, in much the same way Raphael or Megatron ooze personality and charisma. If that doesn’t scream MICHAEL BAY MOVIE, we really don’t know what does.
The Main Man is typically seen as a rather abrasive character, often hovering somewhere between anti-hero and almost straight up villain. Given his rather crass attitude and the lack of a large fan following like TMNT or Transformers (though he does have a pretty rabid fanbase of his own), a Lobo movie will have to be a very entertaining spectacle if it’s going to bring in anyone outside the character’s small orbit.
That means Lobo needs to be set on a massive scale, one that perhaps only Michael Bay is capable of delivering. He has shown an ability to turn seemingly lame franchises into relatively “cool” multi-million dollar film series. Giving Lobo — a relatively dumb character, if we’re being honest — some stupidly fun stuff to do is exactly how this movie is going to succeed. This means huge explosions, giant CGI aliens, and a massive amount of destruction in some heavily populated area.
In a word, only by not taking itself too seriously can a movie centered around Lobo actually make any kind of sense. If the Transformers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchises are any indication, Michael Bay can offer that — in spades.
The Worst Case Scenario
Of course, the other side of the Michael Bay coin is that he’s hardly ever created a film that people can collectively sit back and say is actually good. Bay has perfected the art of the blockbuster movie over the past 20 years by putting the most recognizable actors in front of an excessive amount of explosions, but what happens when he’s given a character that requires a little more nuance than, say, Optimus Prime?
Armageddon was certainly entertaining and Bad Boys II was fun, but nobody would argue that either was the pinnacle of American cinema. Lobo doesn’t really have to be either, but you’re already operating at a loss when you’re dealing with someone less popular. Transformers and TMNT essentially came with their own built-in audiences, so he really didn’t have to try that hard to make them successful. How do you make Lobo successful if you’re not trying to actually make a legitimately good movie?
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