Oh, look, it's Ant-Man.
Actually, more accurately, it's Scott Lang, and it's a lovely foggy San Francisco day, and it's the first picture to prove that, yes, they are indeed in production now on Marvel's “Ant-Man,” with Peyton Reed now directing.
I didn't realize San Francisco was the setting of the film, or any part of the film. I knew they were gearing up to shoot in Atlanta, so I guess I assumed that's where the film was set, or that they were using Atlanta to double for somewhere else. Right now, though, the production is here in California, making effective moody use of the Bay Area, and I like that first still.
Does it answer all my questions and instantly assuage all my fears? Of course not. By now, “Ant-Man” is as well known for its behind-the-scenes turbulence as for anything else, and I have big questions about how Marvel's going to pull everything together. The press release the studio released today has a list of many of Reed's collaborators, although I notice there are no screenwriters listed at all. Not Edgar Wright or Joe Cornish, who spent eight years working on their drafts. Not Adam McKay, who has been actively engaged now for a few months. Not Gabriel Ferrari or Andrew Barrer, who were brought in to be the on-set guys while the film shoots in Atlanta. I know there will be an arbitration at some point, so Marvel is hedging their bets, but I still think there's something gross about issuing this long glowing “isn't this amazing?!” press release and not mentioning the screenwriters whose work got you onto that set in the first place.
More than anything, I'm curious how the people who stepped in at the last minute are handing a production where so many creative choices were made before everyone was hired. I like Russell Carpenter as a cinematographer, but Bill Pope spent several years working with Edgar Wright on how to shoot this film and really sell the visual effects and the scale and the “size-fu” fighting style, and Carpenter's going to have to shoot a lot of those boards. I doubt they put the entire film back up on blocks and told everyone, “Let's just start from scratch.” Whether it's costuming or production design or the action scenes, many of these things were already set in stone by the time this team came aboard, which is a really weird place to start from on a film.
Fingers crossed, though. I like the people making this one, and I want the film to work. There are some really interesting big pieces of Marvel movie universe lore that are being introduced in this film, and I'd love to see it snap neatly into place with the rest of the movies.
We'll find out when “Ant-Man” arrives in theaters July 17, 2015.