5 Ways ‘Ant-Man’ Changes the Marvel Universe

Posted in The Screening Room by - July 23, 2015

Ant-Man, released last week, and I was generally a big fan of the film, due to it’s unique premise and smaller scope. With a solid but not amazing box office take just under $60 million for its first weekend, I hope that Marvel will continue to push the envelope with their more obscure characters and continue giving us original stories while managing to flesh out the universe simultaneously. Ant-Man will have some major ramifications in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, both on the screen and off. 

SPOILERS BELOW

1. Bigger Isn’t Always Better – I enjoyed Age of Ultron but acknowledge it was occasionally overstuffed. Ant-Man succeeded by focusing on a very specific set of events and characters, allowing us to get to know a new hero that most people never have cared about. With focus on characters like Black Panther and Dr. Strange coming up, Marvel can hopefully build upon what worked in Ant-Man and allow the new characters to shine and grow on their own.

2. Civil War – At the end of Ant-Man, Falcon appears to be searching for Scott Lang (Ant-Man) to ostensibly recruit him into the New Avengers. Based on the second after-credits scene, in which Falcon and Captain America capture Bucky, it appears Scott is “the guy” Falcon knows to help them resolve their situation. I surmise that Bucky being involved in the deaths of Tony Stark’s parents will be a point of contention in the film, and someone essentially unknown in the universe like Ant-Man could be a big wild card to move the needle in the conflict towards one end of the spectrum. We know Paul Rudd is filming Civil War right now, so based on his history with the Falcon and the brief after credits scene, it appears he will be someone to keep an eye on for the future machinations of the Marvel films.

3. More Female Heroes – The first post-credits scene of Ant-Man finally introduced Hope Pym to her own shrinking suit, giving audiences the first taste of the Wasp (the mantle held by her mother, Janet), who will likely have a bigger role in the future Marvel films. She wasn’t given a suit during the film for plot purposes, but it made the reveal all that much more exciting. Although she hasn’t been mentioned as a Civil War player, I’d expect to see her pop up sooner rather than later as Infinity War looms to give the Avengers another female hero, and she would also be the first major Marvel female hero with (suit enabled) powers, assuming we see her fully suited up prior to Ms. Marvel making an appearance. 

4. Another Hit For Marvel – As mentioned, the opening weekend of the film was solid but not a monstrous success like Marvel’s other complete unknown, Guardians of the Galaxy. However, the relative success of both films show that Marvel has enough weight among audiences to be able to release whatever story they want and have it work as long as they have commensurate talent working on the film. I’m optimistic that the critical success behind Ant-Man doesn’t dissuade Marvel from pursuing more unknown characters, even if the box office take wasn’t as monstrous as the past few films they have released. 

5. Even With Production Issues, We Received a Great Product  – The Edgar Wright saga has been talked about to death, and you can definitely see some of his fingerprints on the final product. However, we can’t dismiss the excellent job Peyton Reed did with the material, especially coming in and taking over a troubled production on an obscure character. Films that have production histories like Ant-Man tend to end up as unmitigated disasters, so Ant-Man stands as a triumph against even the greatest of odds and further emphasizes that good talent and a unified vision can trump a litany of off camera issues. 

Ant-Man‘s significance to the Marvel Cinematic Universe goes far beyond dollar signs. Both as a continuation of the film universe and a unique product, Ant-Man has paved the way for more originality, while meshing with the existing fabric Marvel has created. 

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He’s a native Texan (YEE-HAW) who loves everything Michael Bay has ever touched. When he’s not blogging, he’s working on his mobile app, BoxHopp, or tinkering with his fantasy football lineups.

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