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"Ant-Man" Screws a Great Director 

Wednesday, May 6 2015
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That's us, I guess? For as cool as it was to see San Francisco as ground zero in the posters and trailers for last summer's Godzilla, Marvel's upcoming Ant-Man taking place here in town isn't quite as exciting. Of course, the Godzilla movie itself dropped the (fire)ball, since the producers apparently spared every expense to make the streets of Vancouver resemble San Francisco. The film's budget was $160 million, but they cut corners by mocking up a BART logo that wasn't even close.

Ant-Man actually did some principal photography in San Francisco last August around Union Square and the Tenderloin — TL represent! — but that just makes it all the sadder that a few months before filming began, original director Edgar Wright left the project over creative differences with Marvel.

Marvel isn't the only superhero-mill to have difficulty retaining strong directors. Michelle McLaren, who directed 11 of the 62 episodes of Breaking Bad, was recently removed from Warner Bros.'s Wonder Woman, and though she was replaced with Patty Jenkins, it's still a safe bet that the final product will be less interesting — and, let's face it, probably more palatable to bros.

What really twists the shiv is the fact that this Wright-less Ant-Man coincides with the fifth anniversary of the box-office failure of Edgar Wright's best film, 2010's Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. (I saw Scott Pilgrim three times in the theater, but that apparently didn't help.) With Ant-Man, Wright still would have been directing a Marvel film, and there are restrictions to the content and tone — hence the creative differences that led to his split — but he might have done for San Francisco what he did for Toronto in Scott Pilgrim, showing us a side we've never seen before. We were this close.

Replacement director Peyton Reed's Ant-Man will probably be fine, hopefully closer to Captain America: The Winter Soldier than Thor: The Dark World. But it could have been so much more.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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