Peyton Reed directed the first ‘Ant-Man’ and returned for the sequel, ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ opening this weekend. Reed took over the first movie after Edgar Wright departed the project after having spent years developing it with co-writer Joe Cornish. Unlike that film, Reed had greater control in concocting the new movie’s plot and its villain, Ghost played by Hannah John-Kamen.
For Reed, this was a welcome switch from the villain Darren Cross a.k.a. Yellowjacket (Corey Stoll) that he had inherited from Wright and Cornish’s original script. While he made the villain work, he never really embraced him fully.
“The villain in that movie felt like a bit of a vestige from the era in which that project was started, [which was] around the time of Iron Man one, where you have an antagonist who has a similar power set [as the hero]. I was hell bent on doing something different in [Ant-Man and the Wasp].”
Indeed, in the first two ‘Iron Man’ movies, Tony Stark went toe-to-toe against other technological foes, Obadiah Stane/The Iron Monger (Jeff Bridges) and Ivan Vanko/Whiplash (Mickey Rourke). The Hulk battled another gamma monster, The Abomination (Tim Roth). Thor’s enemy was fellow god, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and even the Red Skull (Hugo Weaving) was the byproduct of the Super Soldier Serum that powered Captain America. So a hero who gained size-changing, insect powers had to face off against a similar villain.
It’s no wonder that fans feel apathetic about the early Marvel villains as they didn’t have much about them to make them distinctive or compelling.
While Ghost is powered by Pym technology, her ability to walk through walls is different enough to distinguish her from Yellowjacket as well as Ant-Man and the Wasp. Her motivations are also deeper than those of the early Marvel villains, and more along the lines of Killmonger and Thanos, who were villains, but whose stances the audience could understand and in some ways sympathize with.
You can catch Hannah John-Kamen in action as Ghost in Reed’s ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ which opens this weekend.