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Could Ant-Man Be Marvel Studios’ First Flop?

Last week during the premiere of Agent Carter, Marvel debut the teaser for Ant-Man, a film that was originally developed by Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish (Attack the Block) back in 2001. However, when the film comes out in theaters on July 15, 2015, it will be directed by Peyton Reed (The Break-Up). If you combine the movie’s turbulent development with the fact that Ant-Man isn’t a beloved character even within comics, Ant-Man is a risky film and could be the first disappointment for Marvel Studios.   Ant-Man   There are a few reasons to be concerned about Ant-Man, but one of the most important is the departure of Wright, who left the project last May, reportedly over disagreement with Marvel on the creative direction of the movie. Wright is known for his films that combine humor and action, such as Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World’s End. He also successfully adapted a comic series with Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Wright’s trademark funny and exciting tone would seem to be a great fit for Ant-Man, who is not a household name and possesses power with potential for humor.   It’s unfair to make too much of a judgment of a movie from a short clip, but the teaser for Ant-Man does not look like a fun mix of humor, adventure, and action. It appears to be a straight-up dramatic action movie. There is only one real joke in the entire clip. This seems especially strange since the lead actor is Paul Rudd, who is very likeable and does have dramatic range but also has done his best work in comedies. Rudd seems like a great fit for Wright movie but less so for a regular action movie.   Ant-Man   If Marvel Studios has decided to make Ant-Man a straight super hero flick, I think it will be a mistake, especially considering what a big smash Guardians of the Galaxy was. GotG proved that Marvel could set a funny but action-packed movie within their cinematic universe. New Ant-Man director Peyton Reed is best known for comedies and romantic comedies like Yes Man, The Break-Up, and Bring It On. I’m not saying that Reed isn’t capable of producing a fun movie, but he will not get a lot of time to work on it. Hopefully, this isn’t reminiscent of when Brett Ratner was brought in last minute for Matthew Vaughn on X-Men: The Last Stand. Let’s just say that it didn’t work out.   Ant-Man is also a tough sell for a solo movie because he hasn’t even had a long history of a successful solo comic book. Furthermore, the Ant-Man movie isn’t even showcasing the most popular version of Ant-Man, Henry “Hank” Pym, the original Ant-Man. Pym has an important role in the Marvel Universe as one of the founding members of the Avengers, creator of Ultron, and one of the smartest people in the Marvel Universe.   Ant-Man - Avegers #1   Hank Pym would seem to be a perfect fit for Avengers: Age of Ultron. However, perhaps because Ant-Man was already in development, Marvel Studios decided to change Ultron’s origin in the second Avengers movie (he will be a creation of Tony Stark) and shifted Pym to Ant-Man. However, Ant-Man is focused on the 2nd Ant-Man, reformed thief Scott Lang (there is a 3rd Ant-Man in the comics named Eric O’Grady) with Pym being an older, supporting character, as played by Michael Douglas.   So we have a comic book character that doesn’t have a long history of a solo comic book, a movie that is following the less well-known version of Ant-Man, and the departure of a well-respected director who has a history of making quirky action-comedies and a built-in fan base. Ant-Man could work out great. At the same time, these things are why there is a chance that if early reviews for Ant-Man are negative or even just tepid, the movie could fail at the box office, especially with the tough summer blockbuster schedule.   Ant-Man   Marvel Studios has released many films since Iron Man and while not all were beloved, none has really been a real commercial failure. It’s true that Guardians of the Galaxy was not based on well-known characters, but even early teasers of the film showed a great tone mixing sarcastic wit and a strong cast. Though Rudd and Douglas are very good actors, it remains to be seen if the movie and the script (which is credited to Rudd and Anchorman writer/director Adam McKay) will strike the right balance in order to make Ant-Man another success for Marvel Studios.


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