As the connected cinematic universe of Marvel Studios gets set to unveil its latest crown jewel with Avengers: Age of Ultron next week, the film that will immediately follow in the continuity, Ant-Man is still in the odd position of having to explain its place in the grander scheme. This is a fact not lost on Paul Rudd, as he attempts to illustrate where the film falls, genre-wise.
Sitting down with MTV News, Paul Rudd, who plays the titular size-shifting superhero of Ant-Man, would discuss the quandary of the film’s genre identity. While clearly showcasing some serious action/sci-fi elements, it’s also apparent that the film’s creative forces are actually notable talent in the world of comedy. Addressing the film’s comedic elements, Rudd states,
It’s not an out-and-out comedy. I think that it’s a tough one to peg. There’s a lot of stuff that’s funny, but there’s also a lot of action, and there are relationships that you’ll care about. My hope is people are surprised by it.
It may sound like a vague description, but sometimes there are just certain films that defy the kind of video store sectional labeling. The film has been compared to last year’s super-team smash, Guardians of the Galaxy in the sense that it also starred a comedic talent in Chris Pratt whose comic quips helped in easing the unveiling of the film’s awe-inspiring imagery of a grand cosmic universe. In essence, his comedic voice made these concepts accessible, which probably played a huge part in the film’s success across broader audiences. With that said, Guardians was not widely labeled a "comedy."
Likewise, with Ant-Man, what was evident from the trailers was that the agenda for the film’s serious elements are well-covered regarding destiny and the redemption of Rudd’s roguish character, Scott Lang. Yet, while the idea of Lang being an ex-con attempting to straighten out his life for his daughter is as bittersweet as it gets, the film also doesn’t appear to be making any attempt to hide its self-awareness of the seemingly absurd idea of a superhero who shrinks down in size and uses insects as allies. It’s a fantastical premise that, itself, seems to serve as a straight foil for the actor’s dry wit and comedic timing. The idea even seems reflected in the film’s unorthodox marketing tactics.
What was always apparent from the beginning, even in the years that Edgar Wright of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World was attached to the project, was that the film’s leanings were always going to avoid being mired in brooding and seriousness. The film was ultimately helmed by Peyton Reed, a complete newcomer to the superhero genre, known for comedies of the romcom and life-affirming variety, like Yes Man, The Break-Up and Bring It On. Reed worked off a script co-written by Paul Rudd and Adam McKay, known as the driving behind-the-scenes force for just about every notable comedy starring Will Ferrell, including the Anchorman films (in which Rudd co-starred).
While clearly, there’s no established genre genius like J.J. Abrams or Joss Whedon attached to Ant-Man, it might be best described as the tonally amalgamated product of some great comedic talent in their attempt to mix laughs with awes. At the end of the day, it’s a Marvel movie. That’s pretty much all the labeling it needs when the film parades its protean protagonist at theaters during a competitive summer movie season on July 17.