LOS ANGELES, January 10, 2015—This past Wednesday, January 7, Marvel Films unveiled the trailer for its next big blockbuster, Ant-Man. Mere days after they made people laugh with a tongue-in-cheek “Ant-Sized” Trailer, the “Human-Sized” Teaser Trailer emerged to the delight of fans, or did it?
For those of you who are not up on your obscure comic book characters, Marvel Comics’ Ant-Man made his 1962 debut in issue 35 of Tales to Astonish. Ant-Man’s superpower is that he can size-shift his body from nearly microscopic to over 100 feet tall thanks to a pivotal scientific discovery in the Marvel Universe.
The first Ant-Man, who goes by the name of Dr. Hank Pym, discovered what would later be named “Pym Particles.” These particles allowed Pym to alter his size. As the Ant-Man, Dr. Pym would also invent a cybernetic helmet, which would allow him to communicate with ants. Years later, the mantle of the Ant-Man would be passed down to Scott Lang after he stole the Ant-Man suit to help save his daughter who was suffering from a rare heart condition. After seeing the error of his ways, Lang became the Ant-Man full time with help and guidance from Dr. Pym.
Now that you are all Ant-Man experts, we can get back to the movie teaser. Ant-Man, which arrives in movie theaters on July 17, will be Marvel Entertainment’s second gamble with an obscure character and first film following the sure to be blockbuster Avengers: Age of Ultron. Their first gamble was 2014’s surprise summer blockbuster, Guardians of the Galaxy. Most of the general viewing public echoed a loud “Who?” when Marvel first announced that this rag-tag bunch of space miscreants would be on the silver screen.
Many critics believed that Guardians would be the first Marvel movie to bomb in theaters. It had the mixture of an unknown team of comic characters set in space, a semi-unknown and untested leading man in Chris Pratt, a talking raccoon, a walking talking tree, a pro-wrestler not named The Rock, and other potential danger signs to signal that the critics might actually be right. Then something wonderful happened, the trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy came out. Seeing how Guardians made over $772 million dollars at the box office, hopefully you have seen it by now. Watch it again just in case.
That was two minutes and thirty one seconds filled with not only crucial exposition to explain who the movie’s characters were, but also showing how awesome a raccoon blasting a giant gun can be. The trailer was the perfect example of selling the product. Self-deprecating humor, mid-air explosions with spaceships in a dogfight, giant green aliens slashing other aliens with sharp weapons, the aforementioned raccoon blasting things, all set to the movie’s iconic theme song, Hooked on a Feeling by Blue Swede. That song told the audience that this movie will be a groovy gun toting galactic adventure that you certainly cannot miss. Just in case you may think that is not fair to compare a full length trailer to a teaser, this is the Guardians of the Galaxy’s minute long teaser. It does its job.
Now that we have covered all our bases, onto the Ant-Man teaser!
Compared to the homerun that was Guardians teaser, Ant-Man was the equivalent of taking strike one right down the plate with the bat on your shoulder. Ant-Man needed to raise the bar that the Guardians teaser and trailer set, and sadly it did not. Now, that is not to say that Ant-Man cannot meet and exceed that bar when their full length trailer comes out.
The parts are all there for Ant-Man to succeed. Paul Rudd, who is a wonderful comedic actor, plays Scott Lang. Rudd also co-wrote the screenplay with Adam McKay. Yes, the same Adam McKay of Anchorman, Step Brothers, the HBO series Eastbound and Down, and many more films. Legendary actor, Michael Douglas lends his talents to play Dr. Hank Pym. Not to mention a suit which makes a man shrink to the size of an insect and he rides flying ants!
Of course moments after the Ant-Man teaser hit the Internet, the fans exploded in varying shades of disappointment. Most were concerned that director Peyton Reed (Bring It On, Yes Man, and The Break-Up) could not possibly match the creativity and imagination that one-time director Edgar Wright would have brought to the project.
Edgar Wright, the filmmaker behind Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, was originally to write and direct Ant-Man. One month before principle filming would begin Wright and Marvel suddenly parted ways. Wright released a vague statement that “due to differences in their visions of the film” he was leaving the project.
Rumors immediately began to come out as to the real reason why the irreverent Wright left the project he had been working on since 2006. Some rumors say that Wright had been willing to make revisions early in the film making process, but as filming was set to begin, Marvel wanted certain rewrites that Wright either did not agree to or were done without his input, and that led to Wright leaving the project.
When the Ant-Man full trailer comes out shortly, hopefully it will exhibit much more humor and excitement to quell the concerns of the rabid Marvel movie viewing public, or else this could be the first Marvel film to see its box office numbers shrink.