SAN DIEGO – Marvel Studios began their Saturday panel with an opening preview reel that was basically a refresher as they ran through all ten of the films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, wrapping up with new footage from “Guardians Of The Galaxy,” including a truly awesome shot of Thanos. It was great seeing a visual reminder of just how each of the puzzle pieces was dropped into place, how they've become more adventurous with each new film, how they've started playing with style and tone. Wrapping it up with Chris Pratt snarling, “We're the guardians of the galaxy, bitch” drove Hall H wild, which was a heck of a way for Team Marvel to take the stage.
Kevin Feige told the completely packed hall that the first film they'd be highlighting was 2015's “Ant-Man,” which has been the subject of some intense controversy so far. New director Peyton Reed was on-hand to talk about his longtime love of the material, and I can vouch for him. The first time I met Reed was at Comic-Con about a decade ago, and he was just sitting in the audience at a panel, there because he was excited about whatever it was we were seeing. Michael Douglas and Paul Rudd were joined onstage by Corey Stoll, who is playing The Yellowjacket, and Evangeline Lily, who is playing Hank Pym's daughter in the film. When they finished talking about “Ant-Man” a bit, they rolled a special piece of footage that they prepared just for the con.
It starts with a long tracking shot through Pym's personal lab. We hear the conversation between Scott Lang (Rudd) and Hank Pym (Douglas). Pym is trying to convince Lang to help him steal something. Lang protests that he's not a superhero and Pym tells him that's exactly the point. “You're not an egomaniac.” Lang keeps trying to wiggle out of it, and Pym growls at him, “Jesus Christ, Scott, it's like you already shrank your balls.” In the end, it sounds like he talks him into it, promising, “It's just a small job,” just as the camera stops on a shot of the Ant-Man helmet.
What followed was a really lovely little glimpse at the actual suit in effect. It's just after Lang breaks in to steal some of the tech that Darren Cross managed to take from Pym in his business take-over. He's running from the building, shrunk down to ant size, and he can hear Pym talking to him through the earpiece in the helmet. Pym tells him that he's got to get to the edge of the building, where there will be a ride waiting. That ride turns out to be a flying ant, and Pym tells him to just use the helmet to command it.
Good advice, but then Lang trips and falls, and the helmet starts to sputter and spark. As security starts to close in, Pym tells Lang to just jump off the edge of the building, and when he does, a group of ants swoop in beneath him. He manages to saddle up, get some control, and then fly directly into an air vent in a building, as the title treatment came up.
Look, I get some of the complicated feelings and the disappointment that people feel right now about the “Ant-Man” project, and I think I'm pretty clearly on the record as being a massive fan of Edgar Wright's work. I am dying to see any film from Edgar, but this particular Marvel film would have been a blast. There are going to be lots of things in the movie that are there because of the work done by Edgar, Joe Cornish, and cinematographer Bill Pope. Their ideas are going to be in the film, and there will be scenes and sequences that are directly out of what they wanted to do. But it looks to me like the team that's in place, including Reed, is going to do their very best to bring these characters into the Marvel Universe in a way that's going to keep the hit parade marching along.
“Ant-Man” is in theaters on , 2015.