May 23rd a lot of Edgar Wright fans, Comic book nerds, and Ant-Man fans were let down when Marvel announced the tragic news of Edgar Wright fans parting ways from the director's chair. Wright had been championing an [Ant-Man](movie:9048) film since 2006. The sad truth is there's nothing we can do about it and we just have to accept that he is gone. We can kick and scream and write angry blogs, tweets, or whatever we want but the deal is done. I'll give you a minute to mourn some more. It's been a long hard week. If X-Men: Days of Future Past wasn't so good I don't know what I would've done.
See Also - Ant-Man, Phase 3 and the CRISIS at Marvel!
Okay, now that it's out of your system we can try to look positively to the future. Odds are that co-writer Joe Cornish won't take over so we have to look at the strange list that Marvel and Kevin Feige are looking at. Some names include: Rawson Marshall Thurber, Adam McKay and Ruben Fleischer. Adam McKay has already stepped away from negotiations so that leaves Thurber and Fleischer. Let's look at two options individually and analyze other comic book films where a second director jumped in after the initial one backed out like The Wolverine, and X-Men: The Last Stand.
First off Mr. Rawson Marshall Thurber. Directing credits include comedies Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story and We're the Millers. This name worries me more because sure Edgar Wright would've brought a comedic take with the character of Ant-Man. I mean look Paul Rudd is the star of the film. However, I don't think someone who has really only done full on comedies could handle the action and spectacle the other Marvel films bring. Sure, Thor: The Dark World brought some really funny fish-out-of-water moments with Thor on Earth but there was tons of action that a director like Alan Taylor already demonstrated with [Game of Thrones](movie:817617). Of course I could be totally off because the Russo brothers directed [Captain America: The Winter Soldier](movie:254973) and they were known for Arrested Development and Community.
Second choice on that list is Ruben Fleischer. His last few film credits include: Zombieland, 30 Minutes or Less and Gangster Squad. This choice really intrigues me because I am a huge fan of Zombieland. That film blew me away with it's wonderful blend of gut-busting action and dark humor. I'll admit I have not seen Gangster Squad so I have no opinion on how that film was action-wise or it's overall quality. 30 Minutes or Less was a film I like to pretend isn't on Fleischer's resume and is my biggest worry if he were brought in as Ant-Man's director.
As for Adam McKay stepping away, I'm glad because we don't want to see Will Ferrel in the Marvel Cinematic Universe which you know could happen if he were to step into those shoes. He belongs in the full on comedy film universe where he thrives. Now, let's take a look at two other comic book films that were given new directors after the big initial one stepped away. These happen to both be X-Men films in Fox's comic book films.
The Wolverine was announced and we were delighted to hear it would take place in a Japan story with Wolverine and Darren Aronofsky at the helm. We still only dream we could've seen his take with the clawed X-Man. James Mangold ended up stepping in when Aronofsky didn't want to spend too much time away from his family in Japan. Sure, The Wolverine is not a bad film but it felt like it was just missing a little something that could've made it great. Not going to mention the sloppy third act but that's another article. Aronofsky could've brought that extra something that would've potentially blown all X-Men previous films out of the water. Unfortunately, we'll never know and only dream on how great it could've been.
This next film is one that almost killed the X-Men franchise and toppled down everything Bryan Singer built with his X-Men and X2: X-Men United films. Matthew Vaughn was the initial director for X3 and everything looked fine. He made some interesting casting choices including Kelsey Grammer and Vinnie Jones. The studio tried rushing Vaughn with deadlines and he backed out. The man who stepped in is a man who was probably the worst choice of all time for a comic book film. Rush Hour director Brett Ratner... Yeah... I enjoyed those comedies with Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker for what they were but in what world should this man be allowed the beloved comic book franchise of the X-Men? Apparently that's just fine with Fox in 2006. They still probably don't care because it killed in the box office. Critically though, the film was panned and for good reason. It was a sloppy mess that bounced from random action sequence to another before completely butchering the Dark Phoenix storyline.
What we need as comic book fans who love the Marvel Cinematic universe is someone who will treat the property seriously, try to honor Wright and Cornish's script as much as possible, and find that balance of humor and action we love. Everyone keep your fingers crossed and our minds open to someone besides the geek-god of Wright.
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