If it suddenly got cold where you are, there must be some Toros in the atmosphere. After a wild, post-Wright ride to pick a director for Ant-Man, Marvel has picked a winner that absolutely no one could have guessed. Even when you tell your friends that it’s the director behind Bring It On, Yes Man and The Break-Up, they probably still won’t be able to pull his name out of thin air.
But it’s right there in the headline, so we’ve got an advantage. Peyton Reed will step in where Edgar Wright has stepped out. According to Marvel, Reed will helm the project, and the major cast is all still in place. Paul Rudd is still Scott Lang/Ant-Man, Michael Douglas is still Henry Pym/Probably Old Ant-Man.
Plus, Marvel is also reporting that Adam McKay — once thought to be in the running for the director gig — will be contributing to the script.
Reed doesn’t have big shoes to fill so much as he has to fill strangely-shaped shoes that are beloved by fans. Wright’s exit all but guaranteed that whoever got the job next would appear as a less imaginative also-ran. No one will mistake Reed for having geek cred (or even love from cinephiles), so I can already read the expletive and exclamation mark-laced thoughtitorials that are minutes away from burning through every movie website and Twitter feed.
It’s tough not to see him as a mainstream choice, and it’s admittedly hard to defend the decision (one which appears to have been made with Marvel’s back against the wall where their calendar hangs), but I will say this for Reed:
- He directed a dozen episodes of Upright Citizens Brigade so his sensibilities can’t be all that dull
- He directed episodes of Mr. Show so his sensibilities can’t be all that dull
- Anyone who allows Ian Roberts to spirit finger his way like an agent of chaos through a movie about high school cheerleaders has earned at least half a vote of confidence
On the other hand (the one not doing the spirit fingers), the marks against him are obvious. He’s not Edgar Wright, and it’s completely unclear what kind of comedic tone this movie is going for with him at the wheel. He seems more yeoman than trailblazing visionary. The fan fear is that a steady manager is what Marvel is looking for right now. Dull over dangerous. Safe over interesting. He may not be a rock star household name, but I’m not convinced Reed is dull or safe either. He’s simply closer to that corner than Wright ever was.
At any rate, there you have it. Maybe we’ll see Ant-Man next year after all.