Warner Bros. Pictures via Everett Collection
It’s hard not to feel worried for Marvel’s Ant-Man, a project that was put in serious creative jeopardy when director Edgar Wright suddenly left the film to which he had been attached since 2006. In the fallout, Marvel was left with a gaping hole in the center of one of it’s most interesting projects, but after a couple weeks of scrambling, the studio has assembled a new creative team for the project. Director Peyton Reed has been chosen to helm Ant-Man in the wake of Wright with Adam McKay, who was formally in the pool of directors being considered by Marvel, helping to rewrite the script. While Reed’s filmography isn’t as impressive as Wright’s at first glance, there is some hidden potential buried in the director’s short body of work: his underappreciated comedies Yes Man and Bring It On, to be specific.
Jim Carrey, physical comedian extraordinaire, is second only to Charlie Chaplin in his ability to contort and tax his body for amusement, and Reed get’s the most out of the actor’s mostly rubber body in 2008’s Yes Man. While the film mostly feels like a retread of Carrey’s earlier modern fairy tale Liar Liar, there are some engaging moments, including this scene where Carrey careens down the streets of Los Angeles on a Ducati while just barely clad in a billowy hospital gown.
The scene offers some impressive stunt work as Carrey zips through traffic, but it’s the little things that really pop and make the scene noteworthy. The awkward flailing of limbs as Carrey’s character just barely holds onto the beast of the machine displays Reed’s ability to meld action and comedy. Seeing as how a great chase sequence has become a requisite part of any Marvel film (think back to Nick Fury’s fantastic car chase at the start of Captain America: The Winter Soldier), having a director that can infuse comedy into adrenaline pumping action is a huge asset.
You may have missed it, but buried about a minute into the credits of Yes Man was a mid-credit scene featuring Jim Carrey and Zooey Deschanel strapping on suits made out of roller blades and careening down a twisty mountain road. Again, Reed shows his knack for blending action and comedy, something that an Ant-Man script written by Adam Mckay and possibly still possessing some of Edgar Wright’s comedic DNA would benefit from.
Finally, we recall the cult hit Bring It On. Everybody remembers the sass and spirit fingers, but Reed’s seminal cheerleading comedy also has some really dizzying cheerleader choreography, especially during the film’s climax where the two rival high schools do battle with increasingly complicated cheer routines.
With a film like Ant-Man, whose action scenes will likely hinge on complex and unique choreography, a director with knowledge of how to construct an involved and dense setpiece with multiple performers is a must, and Peyton has that experience with Bring It On.