So there’s been much inter-web insanity about the Edgar Wright exodus from the Marvel Phase 3 movie Ant Man. There’s nothing new to report here, just some opinion. First a recap on the film and the character. Ant Man in the comics is a “hero” created from science. To make it short and sweet basically Dr. Henry Pym created technology that not only allowed him to shrink to the size of an ant but to also communicate with ants and control them. He’s kind of like the Aquaman of the big world. There’s been plenty of drama surrounding the character throughout the years. He’s been an Avenger but more often he’s been an outcast, not necessarily a villain just an outcast. At one point because he felt inadequate compared to the rest of the Avengers he created new technology that allowed him to become Giant Man and even later he made gauntlets that gave him a completely different ability and he named himself Yellow Jacket. Also, at one point a different person utilized Pym’s technology to become the Ant Man too.The character’s most significant contribution to the Marvel Universe is that he built the robot Ultron, a machine that would eventually become one of the Avengers toughest villains.
It’s pretty well accepted that the Ultron of the cinematic universe will not be crafted by Henry Pym but more likely by Tony Stark. For the sake of simplicity the decision to have Ultron crafted by Stark makes a lot of sense especially since The Vision will also make an appearance in the films. The Vision is an artificial intelligence also built by Stark but that’s another story altogether. Anyway, the Ant Man movie is a project that has been gestating for years at Marvel Studios. For a long time it didn’t seem like the film was going to happen but when director/writer Edgar Wright singed on things started looking up. Wright is the man that brought us Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz so obviously he would have a comedic take on the character. Wright began assembling script drafts with writer Joe Cornish and working with Marvel to build the film. Wright even debuted test footage at Comic Con to show the technology being used to create a cinematic version of the mini-hero. Next Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas signed on to play different generations of Ant Man. Michael Douglas would play the original Henry Pym with Rudd playing Scott Lang from the comics, the man that would take over the insect hero later on. More cast signed on including Evangeline Lilly (LOST, The Hobbit The Desolation of Smaug) and Patrick Wilson. The movie was given a 2015 release date.
Now, as of last week Wright has left the film with both he and Marvel citing creative differences as far as where the movie was headed. The split apparently happened amicably and Marvel has said there’s a replacement in mind already and the release date will not suffer. Honestly this is a movie I have yet to be excited for an a character I never found interesting in comics. So Wright’s leaving the project didn’t bother me so much. In fact, contrary to most of the internet it made me happy. If Ant Man is to be a comedy my reaction is: “didn’t we already get an entire franchise that started with “Honey I Shrunk the Kids”? Now I have learned with Marvel that my mind can be changed on a project. I was not excited for Guardians of the Galaxy either but now it’s one of my most anticipated films of the summer, so there is precedent for changing my mind. As much as I like Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz though, wright just wasn’t doing it for me.
Much of the fan boy outcry has been directed at Marvel because it seems like Marvel had at least a template for Ant Man’s arc that would tie him into the overall cinematic universe and it’s possible that those story requirements got in the way of what Wright wanted to do with the character. While this is just speculation it does make sense. With that said though Marvel studios had made no bones about their process and if you choose to jump onboard and direct one of their films then you know what you are signing up for. I can’t feel bad for Wright in this situation because the requirements for making this movie was surely clear to him from the get go. Marvel Studios has a very unique process for crafting their films and you are either cool with it or you aren’t. If aren’t cool with adding to their growing universe don’t sign on the dotted line. It appears that Marvel is allowing many different genres of film to exist within their overall framework so there’s plenty of creative freedom there; the finality of the story probably just needs to tie into the larger scope. Captain America: The winter Soldier is a political espionage riff on a super hero film. That movie could have easily exited in the Bourne universe, minus the winged sidekick and unbreakable shield of course. Guardians of the Galaxy appears to be a campy sci-fi comedy, the Thor movies are low brow fantasy, and the Iron Man movies sci-fi action. I’m sure future movies will dip into other genres too, so there is plenty f room for a director to flex his creative muscle in the Marvel U with some story requirements of course. So if Edgar Wright can’t exist within those parameters it’s good that he’s stepping away to make room for someone who’s interested in being a part of this innovative world building. So, cry me a river fan boys but I just can’t care about this loss. Hopefully the new director coming onboard will find some way to get me excited about this lame character.