ant-man – bring it on

09 Jun

Comics, everybody!

Over the past couple of weeks, the buzz around Edgar Wright leaving the production of Ant-Man, surely Marvel’s most risky film project yet, after being with the project since 2006 over what appear to be creative differences over the direction the studio wanted to take the story, has been interesting, yet still pretty discouraging, because so many of us geeky types have been really interested to see what Wright (known for small-scale classics such as Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World) could bring to this C-list Marvel mainstay, who is, admittedly, a rather ridiculous concept.

Not having any sort of insider knowledge, I can kind of imagine the issues here; Wright’s definitely a visionary guy; his work has a distinctive style, which could definitely benefit a relatively obscure character like this, and that was probably a big selling point back when he championed the project. In the meantime, though, Marvel Films has become larger than the individual projects – a quirky Wright Ant-Man might no longer fit with the interconnected world they’ve managed to grow since. It might be the best move, it might not. I’d still love to see a Wright version of the project, but I could understand there being concerns. Many are still pretty worried about switching direction so radically so late in the development process (the film’s already been storyboarded and cast, it’s set to go in front of cameras in the next couple of weeks), and rightfully so.

Anyway – Saturday brought news that a new director has been appointed after a couple of uncharacteristically public misfires. That choice? Peyton Reed, who has produced many well done (if somewhat workmanlike) films, including Down With Love and one of my personal guilty pleasures, Bring it On. He was also originally in the running to do a 60s-based Fantastic Four film, which was a great idea, though got sidelined when the rather lackluster films from a couple of years ago got made instead.

I’m actually kind of okay with Reed at the helm – he does good work which would fit with an existing “house style”, can handle comedic material (which this movie almost certainly involves, given it’s history with Wright, and the involvement of Adam McKay being teased), and he’s enough of a seasoned professional to shoot this thing quickly and efficiently enough to make the 2015 release date and still produce a quality product (if not the auteur film Wright would have made), which I think is what Marvel’s really looking for.

All that said, I really kind of like the quickie plot summary Marvel recently released:

Armed with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, con-man Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) must embrace his inner-hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), protect the secret behind his spectacular Ant-Man suit from a new generation of towering threats. Against seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Pym and Lang must plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.

It’s not totally in line with established comics history, but it hits a lot of the rightnotes with Scott Lang’s (the second canonical Ant-Man) traditional story arc. Plus, I’m a sucker for a well-made heist movie, so call me cautiously optimistic on this one.

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