5 Best Films Directed by Jon Favreau
It’s almost annoying how insanely talented Jon Favreau is. Whether he’s writing, directing, producing or acting, Favreau can seemingly do no wrong. He has directed comedies, dramas, action films and more and, in his spare time, he likes to appear in movies like Spider-Man: Homecoming, The Break-Up, Swingers and more. The dude can do everything, yet it still seems like we’ve barely scratched the surface of what he is capable of.
When Favreau directed Elf, we realized he could tell a good story. After Iron Man, we knew we could trust him with our beloved superheroes. When he “returned to his roots” and wrote and directed a low-budget film called Chef, we applauded his humility. He made Jungle Book and we begged him to make The Lion King. Then, he made Lion King and he can pretty much do whatever he wants now.
Honorable Mention: The Lion King (2019)
5) The Jungle Book (2016)
We wouldn’t make assumptions about The Lion King if it wasn’t for what Jon Favreau showed us with his take on The Jungle Book. In 2016, Favreau released a live-action version of the beloved animated Disney classic. At first, audiences were skeptical. We get that way about things we hold close to our hearts. But, once again, Favreau proved he knows what he’s doing.
The Jungle Book is about a young orphan named Mowgli who was raised by wolves and goes on a journey of self-discovery, meeting an incredible cast of characters- all of whom teach young Mowgli valuable life lessons.
Audiences learned a valuable lesson too, which is that we should never, ever sleep on Favreau’s Disney movies.
4) Iron Man 2 (2010)
To compare Iron Man 2 to the original Iron Man is unfair. Iron Man was a sleeper hit that kick-started a revolution. Favreau is literally responsible for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it all started when Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark declared himself Iron Man.
In Iron Man 2, the world reacted to Stark’s announcement and new threats presented themselves. While some were quick to pan Iron Man 2, it was only because nothing could compare to the original. It still had a great story, great characters, a great villain AND Mickey Rourke. It also featured the on-screen debut of Sam Jackson’s Nick Fury (besides the post-credit scene from the first film) and Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow.
3) Chef (2014)
One can’t help but think that Chef was a deeply personal film for Favreau. Fresh off the success of his Marvel outings, Favreau wanted to make a movie that was more intimate. Nothing is more intimate than cooking, which is why Chef was such a big success.
Favreau wrote, directed and starred in this film about a hot-shot chef who quits his position at a high-end LA restaurant and opens a food truck. That’s the basic premise, and it doesn’t sound like much. In lesser hands, Chef could have been a pretty boring film. But Favreau knew the story he wanted to tell. Chef was never about cooking. It was about family, self-worth and the important things in life.
…but also it was totally about cooking. Favreau did the majority of the on-screen cooking himself and dude made a grilled cheese look like mana from Heaven.
2) Elf (2003)
It’s a Wonderful Life. A Christmas Story. Home Alone. Elf. These are the movies that must be watched at Christmas time. They are seminal classics and Christmas doesn’t truly feel like Christmas if these films aren’t watched at least a hundred times each.
Nobody expected Elf to be as big of a hit as it was. A comedy starring Will Ferrell as a human raised in the North Pole sounded extremely dumb on paper. But when the actual film came out…it was magic.
David Berenbaum wrote an excellent screenplay and Will Ferrell gave arguably his best performance ever. Favreau took this film to a whole ‘nother level and delivered a film that could rival any other holiday movie as THE Christmas movie to watch each year. Elf is the perfect combination of heart, laughs and a little faith, which is what Favreau gained a lot of while making this film.
1) Iron Man (2008)
Speaking of faith, it took a lot on Marvel’s part for trusting Jon Favreau with their first entry into the MCU. If Iron Man failed, the entire MCU would fail. Luckily, it didn’t. In fact, it succeeded more than anybody thought was imaginable. It started a franchise that is going on 10 years now and it helped redefine comic book movies, along with Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy.
If Iron Man is what fans choose to remember Jon Favreau by, they could do a lot worse. But we have a sneaking suspicion, based on his history, that audiences ain’t seen nothin’ yet.