Whether at your local theater (now showing Thor: The Dark World in 2D and 3D) or in the comfort of your home (with Agents of S.H.I.E.LD. airing Tuesday evenings), there’s plenty of room for anyone/everyone to play in the Marvel Cinematic Universe right now. This sandbox is going to get even bigger over the next two years, with Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man joining Marvel Studios’ movie lineup. Meanwhile, the hard-hitting superhero residents of Hell’s Kitchen – Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage – will each get their own Netflix series, culminating with a teamup on The Defenders mini-series.
With so many aliens, super-powered humans and men/women armed with cutting-edge technology running around in the MCU (to mention nothing of rival studios’ comic book films and networks’ superhero TV series), it’s going to become increasingly difficult for any one property to distinguish itself; especially, given the tendency for overlap in tropes and archetypes in the superhero genre (for example, see the sheer number of costumed warriors with daddy issues).
Today, we’ve rounded up an interview with Ant-Man co-writer/director Edgar Wright (The World’s End) – along with comments made about Guardians by star Zoe Saldana (Star Trek Into Darkness) – where they address that particular issue; and thus, explain why their respective Marvel projects aren’t just ‘yet another superhero film.’
Guardians of the Galaxy
We’ve included the video of Saldana’s interview with MTV at the top of this article, but here is a transcript of what the actress had to offer about Guardians (read: why director James Gunn’s superhero movie is special):
“[it’s] a new way to view superheroes. I love sometimes the consistency of what the classics have left behind, but I need innovation. You can only have so much of, ‘I’ll save you!’ After a while, it’s ‘Oh God, does he go to the bathroom? Is he hungry?’ It’s like, ‘Does he cry? Does he feel?’ and not only do we cover that, we’re making heroes that are thieves! They’re Robin Hood’s and I love that because I like the underdog and the hardest route because that’s the only one that’s going to teach you great lessons in life.
“These characters are absolutely amazing and they have a full blown redemption. To be able to sink your teeth into such meaty characters and to be part of such a story that is very unique and obviously has everything that I love. It has space, it has a kooky director that literally has cojones. It has amazing actors that you literally would never have thought to put together and somehow we’re all here giving 150% and loving what we’re doing.”
The mid-credits scene in The Dark World offers an early sample of Gunn’s “kooky” space adventure, with many a fan having drawn comparisons between the Guardians tease and the old-fashioned campiness of the alien planets and other-worldly characters found on Doctor Who. Similarly, Saldana’s comment about how the film “literally has cajones” aligns with our Rob Keyes’ description of the Guardians Comic-Con sizzle reel (featuring everything from a raccoon with a machine gun to Parks and Recreation‘s Chris Pratt as a inter-galactic thief who likes to flip the birdie at his oppressors).
As for the film in general, Saldana’s comments are unsurprisingly supportive; yet, they also echo those made by Marvel President of Production Kevin Feige, who has likened the creative experience on Guardians as being on par with making the original Iron Man movie. (Read: Lots of excitement about getting to introduce such a strange property to moviegoers.)
Here is what Saldana offered, on that subject:
“I never like to shoot myself in the foot to seem that confident that I may come across as arrogant, but I’m rooting for it a great deal because it was amazing. What we shot and what we left on the screen there were pretty amazing things and I hope, and I have a feeling, that James is going to capture it very beautifully. I’m happy to have worked with someone like James because not every day do you meet somebody that is absolutely who they are and you cannot compare them to anybody else. There’s only ever going to be one James Gunn and I like that.”
Guardians of the Galaxy opens in theaters on August 1st, 2014.
NEXT PAGE: Edgar Wright Talks Ant-Man
Edgar Wright – director of cult favorites like the ‘Three Flavors Cornetto’ trilogy and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World – sat down recently for an interview with ET, in order to promote the DVD/Blu-ray release of The World’s End (the finale to his Cornetto trilogy, with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost). Naturally, the conversation eventually turned to Ant-Man, a Marvel Studios project that was first announced some 6-7 years ago now.
Ant-Man will finally open in theaters in late July of 2015, around two months after “Phase 2” of the MCU finishes with the release of The Avengers: Age of Ultron; plus, Zack Snyder’s Batman vs. Superman opens a couple of weeks before Wright’s superhero film launches into the stratosphere. Hence, it’s fair to say that Wright’s shrinking hero has a challenge ahead of him, when he attempts to stand out (see what I did there?) alongside the titans of the Marvel and DC universes.
When ET asked Wright how he plans to bring attention to Ant-Man, the director replied:
“I want to make him into a badass [laughs]. No, I always liked that comic and I always thought it would be an interesting thing to see in live-action. That’s why I [showed] that Comic-Con test that we did for Marvel, to show this fight scene like a proof of content, like this is what the action is going to look like. I think a lot of people who maybe don’t know the character sort of see that test and go, ‘Oh, right, I get it. It’s like an action film,’ so that’s the idea. I think people will be surprised by what kind of movie it is, and so in that respect it’s something that I know is going to stand out because it’s got a very different story and is a very different movie.”
Wright, as a storyteller, certainly possesses a voice that is clear and easily to identify, which perhaps makes him working on Ant-Man most comparable to Shane Black directing Iron Man 3. The difference is, Wright’s projects tend to be genre movies first, his own spin on the genre second; for example, the Ant-Man test footage looks and feels like it might’ve come from a traditional superhero espionage thriller, only envisioned by Wright.
Hence, fans of previous Marvel Studios’ releases may well be pleasantly surprised by how Ant-Man turns out (as Wright suggests), while the hardcore Marvel fans may not have the same complaints that they had about Black’s (kinda) subversive take on Tony Stark.
Further case in point: Wright told ET that he doesn’t anticipate that the tone of Ant-Man will deviate so far away from the light-weight fantastical adventure vibe of previous installments in the MCU:
“Well, I think the Marvel movies are funny, you know? I think generally the Iron Man films and The Avengers is funny. They’re not ever in the comedy section, but they are funny and entertaining, so I think it’ll be something in a similar vein to that.”
We’ve seen evidence of that in the casting rumors swirling around Ant-Man, with a list of names being thrown around that includes – or has included – Paul Rudd (Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues), Rashida Jones (Parks and Recreation), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Don Jon) and Jamie Bell (The Adventures of Tintin) – all of whom are people that have done serious dramatic work, but also have a good deal of experience in the area of comedy performance. Expect the final cast lineup to also include folk who know a thing or two about how to keep their tongue pressed firmly in cheek.
Ant-Man opens in theaters on July 31st, 2015.