Comic book movie fans may still be coming down from the blockbuster high that was delivered earlier this year in the form of Joss Whedon’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron, but Marvel Studios isn’t wasting any time giving movie-goers another taste of their Marvel Cinematic Universe. In less than a month, the company will be delivering Peyton Reed’s Ant-Man - and while that date may still seem far away, the good news is that we have some amazing coverage to satiate your hunger.
In addition to visiting the set of Ant-Man late last year with a small group of other film journalists, last week I also had the opportunity to go to the edit bay for the movie at Industrial Light And Magic in San Francisco, and there I got to watch about 30 minutes from the film. Introduced by director Peyton Reed, co-producer Brad Winderbaum, and ILM VFX Supervisor Russell Earl, the various sequences shown gave us an extended peek at the unique and great new elements the feature has to offer, and has gotten us even more pumped to watch the full thing. So what did I get to see? Read on and find out!
The Opening ScenesSimilar to Guardians of the Galaxy, the film doesn’t open with the Marvel Studios logo, but instead with a flashback to 1989. We see what is clearly a S.H.I.E.L.D. facility, and sitting/standing around a table are some of the most important members of the organization, including John Slattery’s Howard Stark (last seen in Iron Man 2, Hayley Atwell’s Agent Peggy Carter (who has once again been aged up beautifully), and a character played by Martin Donovan (who the filmmakers/studio wouldn’t identify). While they are working on something together, they are interrupted when a young Dr. Hank Pym – played by a digitally de-aged Michael Douglas and looking amazing – storms in calling Stark’s name.
While the S.H.I.E.L.D. founder attempts to distract Hank by telling him that he is supposed to be in Russia, Hank explains that he instead discovered something in the defense labs: an attempt at recreating the Pym Particle serum that allows him to shrink (shown as a small tube of red liquid). The group debates the proper applications of the miracle technology, with Hank accusing S.H.I.E.L.D. of making him their "errand boy" and stealing his research. It’s at this time that Donovan’s character decides to make a snide remark about Hank’s deceased wife, Janet, and his inability to protect her – which leads Hank to slam the guy’s face against the table.
Hank takes this moment to tender his resignation, swearing that as long as he is alive, nobody will get his formula. Howard tries to make him change his mind, but it’s too late, and Hank gets out the door. It’s debated that they shouldn’t even let the genius scientist leave the building – which Peggy violently protests against – and Howard agrees. He explains that he has known Hank a long time and that he won’t be a security risk… unless they turn him into one.
The Marvel Studios logo rolls, accompanied by some salsa music, and the audience is not only transported to the present day, but also into the story of Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), who is still in prison. It appears as though he’s pissed off the wrong guy, as our future hero is in the midst of fighting a guy twice his size (Robert Crayton). Scott’s punches do very little against his opponent, and it looks like he is in big trouble – but it turns out that this is merely a friendly ritual being performed because the film’s protagonist is being released from prison.
As he gets out of the gates, Scott is greeted by Luis (Michael Pena), who was his former cellmate and has made space for the future hero in his apartment. Luis begins to talk about how he has some interesting people that he wants his friend to meet, hinting at a connection to the crime world, but Scott adamantly refuses. Now that he has spent some time in prison, he is changing his life and going on the straight and narrow for the sake of his young daughter (dropping in the fact that he has a Masters in electrical engineering). He’s fully confident that he can get back on his feet, but he also underestimates how easy it is to get a job after a prison stint…
Smash cut to Scott working the counter at a Baskin Robbins, where we see him dealing with an idiot who is attempting to order a burger – or at least something "hot and fresh." Bad as this is, the situation escalates when he is called into the manager’s office. It’s revealed that Scott lied on his resume to get the job, and while the boss actually thinks that it’s really cool how Scott stole from billionaires and fought the system, he fires him anyway.
Scott walks home to the apartment he shares with Luis – a building with downstairs neighbors playing thumping dance music at high volumes – and when he gets in he’s introduced to a number of new supporting players: David Dastmalchian's Kurt - a Russian described as being a computer whiz - and T.I. Harris’ Dave. When they bring up what’s referred to as the "Vista Job," complimenting the "robbery," Scott gets defensive and explains that it was only a burglary, as he despises violence and that robbery implies an act of threat. Luis then tells the story of Scott’s big job, which involved him whistleblowing on his old company for overcharging customers, getting fired, and then hacking into their system to redistribute millions to the company’s victims. Scott realizes that the group is attempting to recruit him for a job – one involving a "perfect Scott Lang mark" – but our hero steadfastly refuses. Of course, we know he’ll break eventually, and we’ll get to that on the next page
In a span of five scenes, this opening covers a whole lot of ground, and establishes a lot of information that will surely be important for the rest of the film – though I will admit that the pacing of it all felt a touch rushed. We’ll have to wait and see how it plays with the rest of the film, and the good news is that the rest of the footage we saw was chock full of stuff that you should be very excited to see for yourself.