Will Ant-Man Be Any Good Without Edgar Wright?


Concept art poster for by Andy Park via Marvel

Concept art poster for by Andy Park via Marvel

Ant-Man has always held a strange role in the Marvel Universe. A little guy with a funny helmet riding on the back of a flying ant isn’t exactly the first thing you think of when you’re picturing Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Yet, he was right there at the start, along with Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, and the Wasp.

People were naturally surprised when they heard that Ant-Man was one of the movies that Marvel was working on. It was actually a project that Edgar Wright brought to the table with Joe Cornish back in 2003. Since then, it’s been that little tidbit at the back of every bit of Marvel news as the comic company’s film efforts and rights came under their jurisdiction and grew. There was always a little buzz around it, though.

The prospect of an Ant-Man film wasn’t necessarily exciting because of the title character, but rather because of what Edgar Wright could do with that character. He had the vision and energy to make Ant-Man something unique and fun, rather than Honey I Shrunk the Kids with superheroes (which still sounds pretty fun).

Look at what Wright did with Scott Pilgrim. He took a comic book property that was heavily influenced by video games and made it into a movie that doesn’t look like anything else. Scott Pilgrim is a blast. It’s a weird movie with so many bright colors that you need to watch it while wearing sunglasses. That’s not even considering how good the action is in Wright’s other movies, like Hot Fuzz. You’ve seen Hot Fuzz, right? What’s stopping you? Hurry up and watch it for the greater good.

 

 

Wright dropped out of the project back in May, leaving many to worry about the future of the film. Ant-Man had only made it this far because of Wright’s involvement. Marvel decided that they had reached the point of no return and has moved forward with the project. Can Ant-Man be any good without Wright? Let’s look at what we have.

 

Production

 

Peyton Reed is now directing Ant-Man based on a revised script by Adam McKay. Reed’s best known film is probably Bring It On, a film about race and competitive cheerleading, an obvious bridge into the world of super science and insects. Then again, his experience with The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes is probably more relevant to a project like this.

As for McKay, his best work has come with Will Ferrell in a starring role. He’s mostly stuck to comedy in the past, so it’s unknown how he’ll do writing action sequences. The fights in Step Brothers and Anchorman were pretty terrific.

 

Plot

 

Hank Pym makes a shrinking suit. His wife suffers a bad accident. Something something Pym needs to keep science away from bad industrialist people and hires Lang to steal secrets with Ant-Man suit.

The proposed plot sounds about right for a solo Ant-Man movie. His role in the comics is intertwined to the Avengers, so it’s difficult to make a proper plot without them involved. Hank Pym is best known for creating Ultron, and they gave that duty to Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark in the second Avengers flick.

Expect a ton of parental themes. Expect some hot and heavy insect size level action. Expect at least one dick size joke.

 

Cast

 

First official photo from Ant-Man production. Photo by Zade Rosenthal/Marvel

First official photo from Ant-Man production. Photo by Zade Rosenthal/Marvel

Paul Rudd is starring in the film as Scott Lang. Lang was the second Ant-Man in the comics (there’s been at least 3). He stole the Ant-Man technology to pull off a heist for the benefit of his sick daughter, and it appears they’ve used that basic origin here. Rudd is a good choice for Lang, especially if the movie is going to have a good dose of comedy. If you do a google search for “likable,” Rudd’s face should be the first result.

Michael Douglas is playing Hank Pym. Pym was the first Ant-Man, before he took on the role of Giant-Man, Yellowjacket, and a hundred other dumb personas. Presumably, he isn’t going to dress in a terrible black and yellow costume and smack his wife in this movie. The angle they’re going for with Pym is an older scientist trying to keep his technology from getting into the wrong hands. Douglas is a solid choice for this, especially if they’re trying to give the audience a little doubt as to Pym’s true intentions. Douglas has a good sleazy streak in him and can have some fun with this role.

Evangeline Lilly is playing Pym’s daughter, Hope. Nobody seems to know anything about this besides the fact that she’s not playing the Wasp despite being a dead ringer for the Wasp.

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She’ll probably be estranged from Hank and flirt with Scott Lang and all that by the numbers stuff that women are usually forced to do in these movies. Let’s hope I’m wrong. Hey, maybe she’ll end up being the Wasp anyway. Obilgatory Lost gif:

 

 

Corey Stoll will be playing Darren Cross/Yellowjacket. You might know Stoll from his role as Philadelphia’s self destructive alcoholic senator Peter Russo on House of Cards or as the protagonist with the awkward wig on The Strain. His role is a bit like Jeff Bridges’ in the first Iron Man as he’s using the hero’s technology for nefarious purposes. However, the relationship is reversed as he’s the young man making the next generational sleek suit, as opposed to a really big one where he gets to spout stuff like a boss battle at the end of a video game.

 

 

Judy Greer (glasses on, hair down) was recently cast in an unknown role. She’s probably playing Janet Van Dyne, the original Wasp. It’ll be shitty if they put the Wasp in there just to kill her off for story purposes. She was a founding Avenger, dammit! But, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Greer show up at the beginning as Van Dyne, die/disappear in some tragic accident, and serve as inspiration for her daughter to take on that role. I’m always a fan of giving Judy Greer more work, as she is delightful.

John Slattery will be reprising his role as Howard Stark from Iron Man 2. IM2 might be the least beloved of all the Marvel films, but we can all agree that the man that plays Roger Sterling on Mad Men was an inspired choice for Tony Stark’s father. I’d almost rather see a movie about Howard Stark, Hank Pym, and Janet Van Dyne running around fighting crime with super science in the 1960s. That would kick all of the asses.

 

Verdict

 

Ant-Man is aiming to be a super hero heist movie. If done right, it will be full of merriment. It could easily go very, very wrong. Peyton Reed is an odd choice for director. He is not Edgar Wright. This film is most definitely not in his wheelhouse. But, it wasn’t exactly Jon Favreau’s specialty when he took on Iron Man. This is a classic hope for the best, expect the worst situation. Favreau ended up nailing Iron Man, and now Marvel and Disney

I was going to make an Ant-Man/Giant-Man pun here, but then decided that I don’t hate the world enough to do that. Ant-Man is now being filmed and scheduled to be released on July 17, 2015.

Steve Jacot

I'm from Philadelphia but only throw a handful of batteries at hapless strangers a year. You probably know my sarcasm and dopiness from following me on Twitter.

I specialize in TV, movies, and the nerdy side of things on Untied, regularly posting about Game of Thrones, Mad Men, Star Wars, and the comic book movie of the moment.