If you’re reading this, I’ve got some bad news: someday you will die. I don’t mean that reading this will cause your death, that’s exceptionally unlikely, but eventually your body will stop working. Few of us know when that will happen, most of us prefer not to think about it. All we’ve got is an ever-shrinking, Ant-Man-like, window in which we try to experience whatever we can.
So why waste your time doing something a second time? Or twelve times? It seems kind of hedonistic, doesn’t it? If you’ve already eaten that cheeseburger, listened to that album, watched that movie, smoked that drug, played on that beach, hiked that trail, or whatever, why would you want to do it again? There are songs I’ve listened to so many times I know them by heart, so why do I still listen to them? Haven’t I gone to Dick’s in Seattle enough yet? What have I got to gain? I’m dying. We all are.
But don’t deny human nature. I think the truth is that a lot of people, like myself, aren’t actually trying to get the most out of life. We are not trying to have done the most with our lives, we are trying to have enjoyed most of what we’ve done. Instead of a life full of peaks and valleys, we settle for a steady plateau. We may not see the world from atop Everest, but at least we’re not drowning in the Marianas Trench either.
Disney knows the Marvel Cinematic Universe will one day die too. The whole narrative of Phase Two was about when the super hero bubble will burst. We still don’t know when. Marvel’s planned out another half decade worth of movies, they plan to live at least that much longer. They’re overconfident, and a little bit scared.
Sometime in your life you will face a fork in the road and not know which way to go. It will feel like you’ve just as much reason to travel down one path as you do the other. Maybe you’ve already had that experience. Eventually, you’ll make your choice and even if everything works out perfectly, you’ll still wonder what could have been. And you’ll never get to know; that’s life.
Edgar Wright’s life was leading him to making an Ant-Man movie. He had spent decades developing as a writer and a director, establishing himself as someone who could do a genre movie, someone who could deliver on laughs and action, someone who could adapt a comic. Supposedly he was working on an Ant-Man script as far back as 2006, before Disney owned Marvel or the first Iron Man had come out. He eventually got the job, wrote what was called the best script Marvel ever had, hired an awesome cast, and then walked away from the project at the last minute.
Edgar Wright faced a fork in the road: he could give up some of his creative control or walk away, knowing that for the rest of his life, he would be haunted by Ant-Man regardless. He walked and Marvel hired a yes man, Yes Man director Peyton Reed, to take his place. Reed, stuck in a shitty situation, did his best to make a fun, inventive movie using the scraps Wright left behind. The cast was still great, the overall idea of the story was still fun, and, per Marvel’s orders, there were several large references to the MCU. I’m ashamed to admit I enjoyed those nods and cameos.
Is that enough? Is this hodgepodge of four creative visions – Edgar Wright’s original script, Adam McKay and Paul Rudd’s rewrite, and Peyton Reed’s direction – worth your precious time? That’s up to you. For me, the answer is yes, and probably always was going to be yes. As a comedy/heist movie, Ant-Man is different and clever enough that I was happy to have seen it and rank it in the middle of all the MCU movies.
That’s me though. My time, my life. I still eat at Dick’s because you need to eat to live and sometimes you don’t want to worry about where to go and a deluxe tastes really good. It’s not really profound, but not everything has to be. I’m just out here trying to fill my dwindling time with all the things and people that I love. I hope you’re doing the same.