It’s now been a week since it was announced that Edgar Wright was leaving Marvel’s Ant-Man… and since then it’s come out that his script has left the project as well, leaving no director and a fast-approaching July 2015 deadline to meet. I would have guessed Marvel would quietly try to scrap the project altogether, but no–
According to Heat Vision, Marvel Studios already has a short list of potential directors, all of whom have a background in comedy. They also vary greatly in the caliber of their work. Who’s on the list?
Ruben Fleischer, Rawson Marshall Thurber and Adam McKay.
Fleischer directed the quite good Zombieland, which does a great job with the comedy-meets-action tone we’ll probably see in the story of a thief who steals a suit which makes him small and talk to ants. Thurber is responsible for We’re the Millers, and the prospect of him directing for Marvel thrills me just as much as that movie did. Obviously, of these three Adam McKay is the best choice. While he’s best known for the Anchorman movies, McKay is no stranger to oddball action (see the underrated The Other Guys), and he’s got a strong visual style. Not as strong as Edgar Wright, but right now it’s all about silver linings, I guess.
That’s not even where the Marvel disappointment ends, though– it’s also now been confirmed that the Captain America: The Winter Soldier Blu Ray release will not include a Marvel One-Shot short film. And Marvel is remaining coy about the future of that entire sub-genre of their cinematic universe, which I think sucks.
I get that between the movies, two ABC shows and four Netflix series, Marvel has a lot going on right now… but the shorts were great, and they, like the feature films, have really been building and improving each time out. They’re fun and cool, and add a whole new new layer to the comic booky charm of this well-established universe. I’d hate to see them die out, especially in lieu of lousy hourlong junk like Agents of SHIELD (seriously, I had more fun with the 15 minute run time of All Hail the King than I had the entire Agents season combined).
It just seems like Marvel Studios is starting to turn away from all the things that really make their brand special, and I hope we don’t see this trend continue. Kevin Feige and the brass of the studio have always had a clear and strong vision for their properties… but they’ve also always had room to experiment and provide a home for true talent in front of and behind the camera. I’m not counting them out yet, but the recent changes don’t seem to come from that same exciting, pioneering environment we’ve been following for the past half-decade.
It’s not time for doom and gloom yet… I’m absolutely dying to see for Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers: Age of Ultron is shaping up to be a killer sequel. But Marvel’s recent calls do leave me feeling slightly less dazzled by their brand of movie magic, the same way Pixar sort of lost me when they started focusing too hard on sequels.
This isn’t a case of the movies becoming bad overnight; I’m pretty confident a Wright-less Ant Man and the Spartacus guy’s Daredevil will still be solid. But what we’ve been getting is more than solid. I want to keep that special sense Marvel magic– a modern offshoot of the same thrill I got reading the Bullpen Bulletin each month as a kid– to stick around for as long as possible.