Marvel’s First Misstep?

Well it’s here, and in human size, no less!

The first teaser trailer for Marvel’s anticipated “Ant-Man” hit the internet after debuting at the end of the premier episode of “Marvel’s Agent Carter” on ABC. The movie stars Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly and Corey Stoll. Originally, “Ant-Man” was to be helmed by Edgar Wright (“Shaun of the Dead”), but a creative dispute led to Wright exiting the project and Peyton Reed (“Bring It On”) taking over as director. Wright and Joe Cornish (“Attack the Block”) are still credited as the writers of the story while, according to IMDB, Adam McKay (“Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy”) and Rudd have written the screenplay.
Despite these impressive credentials, the first trailer left me feeling…disappointed. It looks like a very standard looking superhero origins movie, with the Hans Zimmer-esque booming horns in the background. In the trailer, Dr. Hank Pym (Douglas) is looking to give criminal Scott Lang (Rudd) a second chance at life by becoming the titular hero. The trailer, which clocks in at just under 2 minutes, shows quick cuts and fading transitions of Rudd looking either serious, concerned, or just generally baffled at Pym’s idea. Along with that are shots of other cast members looking stern, close-ups of guns being fired, shots of Lang’s daughter to add weight to the story, and Rudd ending the footage asking, “Is it too late to change the name?” Hardy har har, then BOOM, ANT – MAN in big red letters.
Yes, it’s the teaser of a broken man trying to protect the one he loves by doing something dangerous with big, booming music in the background…kind of like the teaser for “Iron Man 3,” or “Thor: The Dark World.” There’s also a brilliant old scientist looking to give a troubled man the chance to be extraordinary, like the guy with glasses who gave that juice to the skinny guy in, what was that movie again?…..oh yeah, “Captain America: The First Avenger.” Basically, I didn’t need to wait in anticipation for the “Ant-Man” teaser because I’ve seen it before, many times in fact, for pretty much every other Marvel movie. It’s one thing for superhero movies to be a new (and prominent) sub-genre of movies today, but now teasers and trailers are showing a repetitive pattern of things in them for people to recognize what it is. For me, it just takes the excitement away from the movie.
Take the teaser for “Guardians of the Galaxy” as an example. What did that entail? A police line-up of the main characters, Chris Pratt’s Star Lord realizing he’s not as cool as his name implies, and of course….OOGA CHAKA, OOGA CHAKA! That was exciting, cool, and something I had not seen from Marvel since I first heard Black Sabbath backing Robert Downey Jr. in a giant robot suit. The sneak peek of “Ant-Man” got the same reaction from me as Scott Lang gives to Dr. Pym when he’s asked to become Ant-Man.
But maybe I’m just being too stern about this. After all, this is just a teaser. Maybe when the full trailer is released I’ll be more invested, or maybe I just can’t see “Ant-Man” taken as seriously as Iron Man or Thor. I know nothing about the actual comic book and, given Ant-Man’s abilities, I assumed the movie would have been played as an action-comedy. Maybe it will be, especially if it has writing credits from the men who created a zombie-slaying slacker and San Diego’s finest newsman. Or perhaps I’m all hyped out from the teasers of “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” and “Jurassic World.” Regardless, “Ant-Man” doesn’t have my ticket punched just yet, but they’ve got plenty of time to change my mind. “Ant-Man” hits theaters July 17 and will conclude Marvel’s “Phase Two” of their cinematic universe.


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