When news over Ant-Man started heating up, a collective eye-roll swept through Marvel’s fan-base.
Because let’s be honest, does anyone actually care about Ant-Man?
On the other hand, before last summer most people didn’t know or care about Guardians of the Galaxy either. $772 million later, we’re all hooked. So it’s fair to say that Marvel fans were ready to give this underdog a chance.
But after the first Ant-Man trailer came out last week, it became clear that as much as fans didn’t really care too much about the movie, Marvel cared even less.
It looks more like a high school film student’s final project than a real movie trailer. And after months of behind-the-scenes drama, a director that decided to quit, and Marvel Studios insisting on rushing the release date – only one thing is clear about Ant-Man: it’s probably going to suck.
The first comic I ever read was “Young Avengers.” My idea of ‘going out’ clothes still sometimes involves an X-Men tank top. And if I could start camping out for Age of Ultron right now, I would buy a tent and some Oreos and get camping.
But, I’ll be the first to say that what killed Ant-Man is the fact that Marvel Studios has become an assembly line of making cookie cutter movies that put quantity before quality.
The proof is in the past. Whether or not people cared who ‘Ant-Man’ was, it had a lot of potential to actually be a really cool movie. Edgar Wright – who’s known for the comic book-ish style behind the Shaun of the Dead ‘trilogy’ and Scott Pilgrim vs The World – was originally onboard to direct it and had been working on the thing since 2003. But when Marvel decided Wright’s style didn’t fall in line with what they wanted, they basically kicked open the door and handed him a re-write.
When that happened back in June – it ended with Wright flipping his desk, flipping Marvel off, yelling “see ya!” (maybe not exactly like that) and becoming no less than the fifth Marvel creative pushed until they were out the door.
[quote_center]Marvel Studios has become an assembly line of making cookie cutter movies that put quantity before quality. [/quote_center]
According to Ant-Man’s Evangeline Lilly in an interview with Buzzfeed, the reason for the not-so-ant-sized drama was this:
“They’ve established a universe, and everyone has come to expect a certain aesthetic, a certain feel for Marvel films. And what Edgar was creating was much more in the Edgar Wright camp of films.”
Here’s the thing about that Marvel aesthetic – what creates the consistent feel of a “Marvel film” is the fact that there really only is one “Marvel film.”
Why? Because they’re all basically the same exact movie.
The Avengers collection, Big Hero 6, Guardians of the Galaxy….you can plug pretty much any of the past dozen Marvel films into the same “someone-dies-but-they’re-not-really-dead” formula, and it’s going to fit. They just fill out the same Mad Lib template and substitute different characters.
That’s why directors and creative are so stifled by Marvel; it doesn’t matter how great their vision is. Because whatever that vision is, Marvel’s already got their story – and they’re stickin’ to it. That, above all else, is what mutated Ant-Man from a unique comic book movie with promise to just another “Marvel film.”
True, when you have a multiverse as big as Marvel’s, being a stickler about style makes the connected films believable. But they’ve turned this into a mentality of “if we film it, they will come,” no matter how crappy the movie. And if that’s truly how Marvel Studios operates, that’s beyond insulting to loyal fans.
Whether or not it ends up actually sucking, Ant-Man will fade in with the rest before being forgotten. And it will have Marvel Studios to thank for that.