Friday, January 9, 2015
About this Ant-Man movie
The Ant-Man teaser trailer came out to a very unimpressed response this week. Now it is just a teaser trailer, but some people were acting like Marvel showed a clip of some ants walking across the screen with the movie title emblazoned at the bottom. The knives are definitely going to be out for this one if what we've seen so far is any indication. And when it doesn't make as much as Captain America: The Winter Soldier or Guardians of the Galaxy did last year you can expect a lot of "Marvel's first misstep" and "It looks like we've reached peak superhero" pieces. If the commentary we've seen so far is any indicator, Ant-Man could very well get the Amazing Spider Man 2 treatment, where people just flat out ignore the facts on the ground to find ways to call it a failure because they really just didn't want the movie to happen in the first place. ASM 2 made well over $700 million worldwide yet people were finding all kinds of ways to parse the numbers to call it a flop, and I believe that's largely because a lot of hardcore comic book movie geeks want Spider Man back with Marvel studios and just don't want any Spider Man films made by Sony. Well, I can say with a lot of confidence that there isn't any real clamoring for an Ant-Man movie. Ant-Man doesn't have any sizable fan contingent and does not have any of the name recognition that Iron Man or Captain America had leading into their movies. In my opinion we're getting an Ant-Man movie for two reasons: 1) he's a key member of the Avengers in the comics and 2) they need a seat filler between Avengers: Age of Ultron and the meat of Phase 3. This does the job.
I won't say that Marvel I taking a gamble here, but they are leaving themselves open for some potshots, even if they aren't deserved, because people just don't care about Ant-Man beyond a few diehards. I'll even go as far as to say that if Marvel had the movie rights to Spider Man and the X-Men there would be no Ant-Man film. (You could say the same about a lot of the Phase Three movies, but that especially applies here.) There aren't many real points to be scored with any segment of the fanbase, save the small constituency amongst Marvel die hards who think it's absolutely necessary to give every charter member of the Avengers their own film. And there's no hook like a talking raccoon to get the masses roped in like they were with Guardians. At the same time, the casual moviegoer may be very inclined to go see it simply because Marvel makes good movies and this one will probably be good as well. That will ultimately be the salvation or damnation of the movie; whether or not the goodwill Marvel has built up over seven years and dozen movies will spur us all to go see this one. And while I suspect Kevin Feige and company have a realistic expectation on what kind of returns this one will have, they can't control the troll army that's ready to pounce.
This isn't the first time we've been given a film that seemed going in to be a necessary step rather than something we desired; you could say that's what the first Cap and Thor films were about. And both of those turned out t be very good films. So I wouldn't be too worried about this one. You might not be thristing for this one, but that doesn't mean it won't satisfy you.