What Does ‘Ant-Man’ Mean for Marvel

The end of the world is a ubiquitous occurrence in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It can get kind of tiring. But this past summer, we managed to get a little break from in the form of the fun and comedic Ant-Man. A fresh face superhero portrayed by Paul Rudd who joins the MCU as a down-on-his-luck father looking for a better life.

This marked a new era in the MCU, with the protagonist not being someone named Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America or Thor. Guardians of the Galaxy is a different story. Guardians is such an anomaly, it’s a recipe you can’t replicate on the fly. You need luck, a great movie and slow summer slot where people crave to see something fun. Those are the circumstance the Guardians found itself in and it exploded. But that’s not something Marvel can expect from the rest of their movies with lesser known stars.

Ant-Man changed the game. The minuscule hero provided the blueprint for what future movies without the main stars will look like.

Excluding the main movies coming out in the next four years – Captain America: Civil War, Thor: Ragnarok, Guardians of the Galaxy 2, and Avengers: Infinity War 1 and 2 – Marvel has four projects that need to stand on their own as lesser known characters. That was the big questions regarding Ant-Man’s success – can people embrace a lesser known character and expect it to perform up to par with Iron Man.

The answer is yes and no.

People are willing to embrace a new character, but you can’t expect those movies to be record breaking hits. Ant-Man opened last July to a $57 million sum (2nd lowest in the MCU) and grossed $406.7 million worldwide (3rd lowest in the MCU) with $178.2 million coming in the U.S. By any standard, that would be a resounding success. But since this movie is apart of the MCU, which has three billion dollar movies, it can look underwhelming.

It’s not.

The bar should not be that high, and that same bar should not apply to the future MCU movies. It will only lead to disappointment.

Dr. Strange hits theatres November 2016, Black Panther on July 2018, Captain Marvel on November 2018 and Inhumans on July 2019. Unless one of those films somehow recreates Guardians magical run, which is highly unlikely, those movies are looking at an Ant-Man-like theatrical run.

Those numbers should be considered great successes. Marvel can flirt with outrages worldwide box office numbers with Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity Wars. Dr. Strange and the like can settle in nicely with developing the MCU performing admirably in the box office, not carrying the load of the series financially.

It’s a strange new world as the Marvel Cinematic Universe heads into Phase 3 with a possible reboot on the horizon. With no Iron Man film on deck, and many of the other actor’s contracts reaching their culmination, they need to plan for a future sans Robert Downey Jr. and company.

The future should look bright if the new films are anywhere as good as Ant-Man. It’s nice to know that the fate of the world isn’t in the balance every single movie.

Source: Den of Geek


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