This summer, Ant-Man jostled with its bigger Avengers-sized brother for the title of the year’s best Marvel movie. Now out on Blu-ray and DVD, the newest and tiniest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe offers up a man-sized commentary from director Peyton Reed and star/co-writer Paul Rudd.
We recommend all Marvel nerds giving it a listen – two hours in Paul Rudd’s company is always two hours well spent – but for those who are short on time, or simply prefer to go outdoors occasionally, here’s a handy summary of what the commentary had to offer.
Warning: there are, obviously, multiple spoilers from here on in, for both Ant-Man, and the wider MCU.
1. That’s the SHIELD building from The Winter Soldier
Eagle-eyed viewers will have probably realised this already, but the building in which a young Hank Pym (a CGI-ed Michael Douglas) quits SHIELD in disgust is in fact the Triskelion Building from Captain America: The Winter Soldier, still under construction. It is partially destroyed at the end of The Winter Soldier when the heli-carriers crash to earth.
2. The Pymtech building is also the Anchorman building
The Georgia Archives Building, in Atlanta, stands in for Hank Pym’s company HQ. By a quirk of fate, it is the second time Paul Rudd has shot there - it was also the news station in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. “I liked it a lot because it was this giant monolith,” director Peyton Reed explains on the commentary. “It felt like a laboratory that time had left behind.”
3. The ‘hideous bunny’ was controversial
The weird present that Scott Lang gets his daughter was “maybe the only time Paul and I had a deep disagreement about something”, says Reed. Rudd wanted it to be more like a Teletubby and was concerned it would be too scary. Fun fact: Tom Kenny (the voice of Spongebob Squarepants and Adventure Time’s The Ice King) was the voice of the bunny.
4. The zapped pile of dead man is really just strawberry jam
In an early scene, yellow-jacketed bad guy Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) murders an insubordinate executive in a toilet by zapping him with a defective shrinkray. CGI facilitated most of the effect, but the practical element that gets wiped up by Cross is really just a bit of strawberry jam. “There’s a take where Cory lifts the paper towel to his tongue and has a taste,” Reed mentions on the commentary. “That did not make the movie.”
5. The heist montages came from Peyton Reed, not Edgar Wright
It might seem very Wright-y, but the standout sequence – where the camera whips between tipsters – was a Reed addition. “The movie was always conceived as a heist movie, which I thought was a really smart idea,” as he puts it. “When we came in, we wanted to increase all the heist tropes. So this was an idea we added.”
6. The Ant-Man visor was largely CGI
For most scenes, Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man costume featured a hole in his helmet where the visor was, with the visor added later in post-production. “We had to be able to control the amount of red in those lenses,” Reed explains, before adding wistfully: “because, Paul, you have really expressive eyes.”
7. The first person to play Ant-Man on-screen has a cameo
The old man in the car who finds an Ant-Man on the roof of his car is, in fact, Garrett Morris – technically the first person to play Ant-Man on screen. Reed cast him “as an homage, albeit briefly, to a famous SNL superhero sketch, in which Garrett Morris donned the Ant-Man suit. Bill Murray was Superman.”
8. The production caterer inappropriately served lamb chops
A memorable scene sees Darren Cross attempt to shrinkify a cute little lamb. Reed recalls that on the day they shot the sequence, the caterer inadvertently served lamb chops. That must have been a guilty lunch.
9. Falcon’s cameo was Paul Rudd’s idea, not Marvel’s
Anthony Mackie makes a fun cameo as Falcon, almost as Avengers’ de facto ambassador. His appearance seemed like it might have come from a list of Marvel demands – but no. It came from Rudd and Adam McKay’s rewrites. “McKay and I were always thinking about heist movies,” Rudd explains on the commentary. “In heist movies, they always do a test run. What if he fought an Avenger? We pitched it to [Marvel Studios head Kevin] Feige, who said yes.” Having superheroes fight in this way was “the ultimate wish-fulfilment for a comic book fan like me,” Reed says. “It’s a way to tie Ant-Man into the larger universe, but it’s done in an organic way.”
10. Yes, this is a centre for ants
Rudd: “Did we miss a Zoolander joke here?” Reed: “The internet did it for us.”
11. The death of Anthony was not in vain
Anthony, Scott Lang’s favourite flying ant, suffers an untimely demise after being shot by Darren. Reed “became obsessed with getting some emotion out of killing an ant,” and Rudd acknowledges that the disembodied wing floating to the ground was “a very poetic moment”. Reed recounted - with some incredulity, it must be said – that Twitter was ablaze with worry over whether Anthony was still alive. “I think the average lifespan of a carpenter ant is, like, 12 weeks. Anthony was on week 11. He lived life to the full.”
12. Yellowjacket’s fate
At the film’s infinitesimal finale, Darren Cross’ Yellowjacket implodes into nothing. But is he definitely dead? “A lot of people have been asking,” Reed notes. “He’s at least severely hurt.” But he stops short of confirming either way. Perhaps he’s still in the Quantum Realm? In comic books, nobody really dies; if Ant-Man managed to escape subatomic reality, there’s no reason to suggest Yellowjacket couldn’t find a way back – perhaps even in time for Ant-Man and The Wasp, the sequel slated for 2017.
13. Which side is Ant-Man on?
It wouldn’t be an MCU film without a post-credits scene, and Ant-Man boasts two. The first teases that sequel, revealing Evangeline Lily’s Wasp costume; the second previews Captain America: Civil War. This sparks a very funny back-and-forth over the credits, with Reed begging Rudd for details. “Which side are you on? The fans want to know!” Rudd squirms for a while, claiming “the fans don’t care”, before deadpanning that there are “characters who are Switzerland”. Is Ant-Man neutral? The truth, it seems, is something we’ll have to wait for until April.
Ant-Man is now available on DVD, Blu-ray and digital download.