The original “Ant-Man” is one of the biggest tragedies of the MCU.
The movie is fine. There’s nothing specifically wrong with it.
In a slightly different world, though, it would have been amazing.
The movie was made during the period when Marvel bosses were opposed to directors showing any kind of originality or personal vision. Everything needed to be homogeneous and familiar, and no Marvel movie could stand out from the pack.
Edgar Wright, the original director for “Ant-Man”, disagreed with this practice, and after spending the better part of a decade developing the movie, he walked away. Peyton Reed was brought on to essentially Paint by Numbers his way through directing “Ant-Man”, using Wright’s work as a template.
The result is fine, but it’s hard to deny that it could have been a lot more interesting.
In spite of never really feeling all that overwhelmed by “Ant-Man”, I am super on board for the sequel.
I’ve watched the latest trailer about four or five times on repeat now, and I’m eager to make a bold prediction.
I expect that “Ant-Man and the Wasp” will be better than the original, precisely because Edgar Wright isn’t involved.
To be clear, I’m not saying that Wright couldn’t make a good Marvel movie. In the current climate, his particular talents would likely be welcomed, as the studio has learned a lesson or two about making distinct, director-driven auteur comic book movies.
Thanks to this environment, though, I expect that Peyton Reed will have more of a chance to shine, with a story that he’s built from the ground up, and a series of elaborate setpieces that take better advantage of the weird shrinking world of Ant-Man.
This is apparent throughout the new trailer. We’ve got Evangeline Lily showing off as The Wasp; throwing around giant salt-shakers and taking advantage of her unique powers and special training.
Everything here is more impressive than what we’re seen with Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man thus far. The character of Scott Lang has always been muddling his way through the use of his powers, so I’m really looking forward to seeing the Wasp give us some more elaborate stunts.
The Edgar Wright Problem
This even improves on one of the biggest problems with all of Edgar Wright’s films. While Wright is a very talented director, he really struggles to write women in a meaningful way. Female characters in his movies are often simply the object of the male lead’s desire, rather than developed entities in their own right.
From the trailer, this almost looks like this new movie could be called “The Wasp and Ant-Man”. It’s pretty clear who the star of the show is, and considering that Marvel also struggles with putting women front and center, I’m excited to see what happens. So long as the movie avoids the Strong Female Character tropes, this could be good.
So, to wit, Peyton Reed has the freedom to do his own thing, without simply copying Edgar Wright’s ideas. He’s also been able to develop a leading female superhero, in something of a first for the MCU as a whole.
Plus, there’s an ant playing the drums. Awesome.