Well, Ant-Man certainly has an uphill battle, doesn’t it? With the release of the first trailer for the Peyton Reed directed Marvel movie, not to mention the build-up for it, I have to confess: Marvel aren’t doing themselves any favors.
Marvel’s marketing for Ant-Man up to this point has been puzzling. The “ant-sized” teaser for the teaser was cute, despite comitting the cardinal sin of actually being a teaser for a trailer in the first place, but the similarly scaled “poster” that they released barely even qualified as a joke, especially not when the “real” first look at Paul Rudd as Ant-Man was saved for an Entertainment Weekly cover. It just hasn’t felt quite right.
This first teaser doesn’t do much to distinguish itself, either. We’re talking about just over 90 seconds of footage, so it’s best not to get carried away, but it almost seems like Marvel chose to play this one as safe and as straight as possible, rather than risk looking like they were aping the offbeat approach of Guardians of the Galaxy. Hopefully, there’s some weirdness to come. They had best figure this one out quickly, though. Avengers: Age of Ultron will be a tough act to follow, and it would appear that the internet already have their knives out for Ant-Man.
Nevertheless, we noticed quite a few interesting things about the Ant-Man trailer, and figured we’d share them with you. Some of this may be considered spoiler-y, so read on at your own peril.
So, right away, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) isn’t your typical superhero. Marvel characters are known for their human flaws, and I suppose being a convicted felon certainly qualifies. The Scott Lang of the comics did the time for his crimes, too. I’m assuming this next shot (from later in the trailer) is of Lang learning how to fight by, y’know, not getting killed in prison:
Now, Scott Lang wasn’t the first guy to wear the Ant-Man helmet, and he sure didn’t invent the tech. That brings us to…
Meet Henry Pym, a character who has been around longer than Spider-Man and the X-Men. You might have heard of Michael Douglas, though. It’s nice to see him looking and sounding so well. Ant-Man is a legacy story, and Pym has been sitting on his incredible shrinking technology for decades. In fact, check out these next two images, yanked from different points in the trailer:
Pym clearly favors a “low tech” approach to his high technology. I wouldn’t be surprised if the above photo is from a flashback. Pym was active as an inventor (and possibly a superhero, but we still have no evidence to support that) in the unexplored “middle era” of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, that time after the Agent Carter TV series (the late 1940s) and before Iron Man came on the scene in the 21st Century.
Even (what I assume is) Pym’s master control room is a mix of modern flatscreen monitors clustered around a control panel that looks like something you would see in footage of Space Shuttle launches in the early ’80s. I really hope to see more of this aesthetic in the movie. The idea of Hank Pym as an aging techie, clinging to and repurposing the things he’s familiar with, not to mention the fact that he doesn’t have Tony Stark’s resources at his disposal, could help set this one apart.
While we’re on the subject of Pym’s labs, check out this sequence:
That’s probably the interior of Pym’s old company, a slick, ultra-modern scientific facility. You know, the kind you see in every big budget movie these days. But then there’s that weird underground cut, followed by this, seemingly super-secret workshop. Not exactly subtle, but it’s telling.
That’s Cassie Lang, Scott’s daughter. In the comics, it’s her poor health that makes Scott turn to crime in the first place, ultimately stealing Pym’s Ant-Man gear, and the rest is history. I get the feeling the movie is going to stick pretty close to this. Cassandra has a heroic history of her own in front of her, but we’ll get to that in another article. Seriously, the whole legacy of Ant-Man characters is a book in itself.
Speaking of stuff from the comics…
The Pym Technologies logo sure does look like something that Ant-Man co-creator Jack Kirby would have designed. Here’s a better look at the logo:
See those lines and circles? That was like Kirby’s universal symbol for unfathomable technology. For comparison, here’s a Jack Kirby image from The Eternals (who had a quiet reference in Guardians of the Galaxy, too), positively loaded with the same abstract circuitry:
I feel like there’s a little of that classic Marvel Comics DNA in this high-tech chamber that the film’s villain power struts into, as well:
Speaking of the villain…
That’s Corey Stoll as Lex Luthor Darren Cross. Cross will use the Pym-tech to become Yellowjacket, who is a dick. You can get a look at the Yellowjacket villain design here. In the comics, Darren Cross became a rather different supervillain, but if you do a little digging, you’ll see how the broad strokes comic book story probably fits quite well into what we’re going to see on screen.
That’s Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly). Hope might also be Hope Pym. Either way, she’s the daughter of Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne, and she may be doing some sneaking around of her own in her Dad’s company. Janet Van Dyne, of course, was The Wasp, a founding member of the Avengers in the comics. Hope is sporting a pretty Van Dyne like hairstyle here, so I really do hope that she gets to do some shrinking and flying around in this movie. I wouldn’t put it past her because…
…she’s pointing that gun like someone who knows what she’s doing. Maybe she’s a SHIELD agent? Also…
…she kicks the crap out of the film’s hero. Clearly, she’s got superhero chops. Two genius parents, and possible SHIELD training. Just give her the wings, Marvel! Speaking of costumes:
I have no idea what to make of this film based on this teaser, but I do know this: that is one cool superhero costume. It’s like a cross between the Silver Age design and something out of Super Sentai. If I could draw worth a damn, it’s the kind of thing I would have doodled in notebooks instead of doing homework. This is going to sound cynical, but I honestly don’t mean it that way: this should sell some action figures.
I included another image of the (really cool) costume because I feel it shows off the lines of the helmet a little better. Ant-Man’s helmet has always been, erm…clunky. This is streamlined, to be sure, but that mouthpiece and the general vibe of the helmet isn’t that far off from Jack Kirby’s original design. It’s just a little more practical. Check it out:
And that brings us to…
Ant-Man’s preferred method of transportation has always been hitching a ride on a friendly (or not so friendly) flying insect. This is a fairly iconic moment, at least as far as Ant-Man has iconic moments. Some source material for comparison:
This one gives a better sense of scale:
Now, for some miscellaneous debris…
Can anyone make out what that logo on the banner is supposed to be? Those vehicles look old, too. Could this take place during one of the flashback sequences? Possibly something that a younger Hank Pym had to deal with?
It’s a nice shot, and it’s a little different than the occasional visual sameness we’ve seen in Marvel flicks. There’s no context for this, but in terms of what this movie might look like, and some of the different things that might be on display, it’s something I’d like to see a little more of. It does, however, seem like it would feel at home in another movie…like Scott Pilgrim, perhaps.
If you took the Marvel name off this trailer, there’s really nothing to explicitly link it to the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. That may be a bit of a holdover from the project’s development, where the now-departed Edgar Wright was adamant that Ant-Man shouldn’t have to bend to the whims of other movies. While a certain amount of Marvel world-building is inevitable, it will be interesting to see if Peyton Reed was able to hold the line on that front. Ant-Man will come on the heels of the biggest Marvel movie to date with Avengers: Age of Ultron, a little ironic considering that Ant-Man was a founding member of the comic book Avengers, and the inventor of Ultron!
Ant-Man opens on July 17th.