If your at all like me you probably spend and unhealthy amount of time hypothesising about the plot of upcoming games and movies you’re interested in. For me that’s not even restricted to forthcoming stuff, I re-evaluate my favourite stories in my own head all the time. And although this weeks biggest superhero news is the continuing roll out of official Avengers: Age of Ultron movie posters I’ve elected not to talk about those this week. They’re two reasons for that: number one the set is not wholly revealed yet and two Downey Jr. hinted a a big reveal coming at the end of the poster run. We’ll cover the reveal and posters together next week. This week I wanted to talk about the MCU movie coming after Age of Ultron – Ant-Man.
*There may be spoilers, or speculated spoilers for all current and future marvel movies. Some information has already been released via interview. If you want to remain spoiler free avert your eyes…. now.*
With Age of Ultron drawing ever closer the Avengers first big screen reunion is what I should be focused on. However, the last week or two it’s Ant-Man that’s taken up the lion share of my minds superhero real estate. At this point it’s a safe assumption that Age of Ultron will be a fantastic summer blockbuster, a more than worthy ending to Marvel’s phase 2, and by the sounds of it a strong start to phase 3. That alone makes Ultron an exciting proposition. The inclusion of what appears to be an awesome villain with Ultron, promised important character development for all heroes, the introduction of all new faces, incredible fight scenes and a chance to see the team united again, well that all sweetens the deal. I can’t wait for Age of Ultron. But it’s Ant-Man that really has me sitting up and taking notice. Right now I’m more interested in Ant-Man than Age of Ultron.
The decision to make Ant-Man is immediately thought provoking. Marvel doesn’t have to make Ant-Man, they could quite happily trade on the successes of their core heroes: Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and Hulk right up until the end of phase 3. The fact Marvel doesn’t rest on it’s successes is incredibly admiral. The last time Marvel broke away from it’s core franchises to experiment was with last years Guardians of the Galaxy. A space faring story with a tree-man and a talking raccoon as it’s stars, many doubted it’s mainstream appeal. I always believed if Marvel hit the nail on the head Guardians could very well be the next Star Wars. Whether or not it reached that height is debatable, what’s undeniable is Guardians went on to be both a surprise critical and commercial success
Risk taking is a rare trait for Hollywood’s biggest studios. To remain commercially viable studios understandably must make sure they always have enough ‘winners’ in the pipeline to balance potential losses with riskier investments. Yet Marvel Studios has numerous projects confirmed for release that could be considered risky propositions: Dr Strange, The Inhumans, Black Panther and Captain Marvel all are untested franchises. It’d be easy to simply say these ‘these new characters are unrecognised by mainstream audiences; they very well might not accept them”. Consider this though: everyone of Marvels current big name heroes was at their big screen début, with the exception of The Hulk, heroes the general public were unfamiliar with. Even the now iconic Iron Man.
Ant-Man marks the first occasion that a new hero has been added to the Marvel Cinematic Universe via their own film since Captain America: The First Avenger back in 2011. Although both Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver; with a possibility of Black Panther, will be introduced in Ultron they’ll be sharing the spotlight not only amongst themselves, but with already established Avengers too. In Ant-Man actor Paul Rudd will have a whole movie focused entirely on him to familiarise audiences with the character. For many movie-goers it’ll be the first time they’re ever exposed to Ant-Man’s origin story, powers and personality. The response to the movie will also dictate how much integration the character will get in the MCU as a whole. Unlike the Guardians if Ant-man racks up enough popularity we’ll see a lot more him, he’s right here on Earth not flying around space somewhere.
Being based firmly on Earth Ant-Man has a far greater capacity to affect the lives of our already established heroes too. It’s interesting that we know so little about Ant-Man’s plot when it’s less that four months away. We probably know a lot more of Age of Ultron. What we do know is Ant-Man is effectively a heist movie. The elder Ant-Man, Hank Pym, has long retired from the role and is now wants to pass it onto a young thief: Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), whom Pym sees potential in. Lang has a daughter whom he deeply cares for, it’s likely his crimes are initiated by trying to provide her. It’s far more human story that we’re used to. Pym offers Scott a second chance, what his redemption entails exactly is quite unclear. Most likely the elder Pym wants to protect the secret source of Ant-Man’s shrinking abilities – in the comics the Pym Particles.
The likelihood of Marvel’s cinematic universe using Pym Particles however, I think at least, is fairly slim. Marvel has went though some pains to make sure the comic worlds most cheesy ideas haven’t filtered through to the MCU. Ant-Man’s abilities will likely be thanks to a high tech advancement that Pym kept a secret. I theorize too that Pym whilst probably part of S.H.I.E.L.D in the olden days is less fond of them now – it’s strongly suggested Pym isn’t fond of Superhero’s running around. So it’s a heist movie, Pym wants Lang to steal, perhaps re-claim or liberate, ‘something’ that he feels The Avengers, the government, or superhero sympathisers shouldn’t have – maybe even Hydra? What that ‘something’ is, is easily the most intriguing question.
If Pym Particles don’t exist what is Pym worried about? Pym is notorious for being the creator of Ultron in comic continuity, something that Tony Stark will be responsible for in the MCU. But even in the movies Tony didn’t create Ultron, he revisited a long dormant peace keeping project started by his father and no other than Hank Pym. Does the government have something locked away in vault, something that like Ultron Pym had long stopped considering a threat until is was revived? Is itpossible that Pym knows about something even the current owners don’t fully understand? Could Pym have designed his technology around an artefact locked away and hidden deep in the vaults. Could this all be linked to an infinity stone?
A tantalising thought. Marvel has shown they aren’t scared to put the stones in unproven movies; one featured heavily in Guardians. Think about it, they’re are two undiscovered stones left. So what movies are they best to appear in? Spider-man has been added too late in development to have one, Black Panther is more concerned with vibranium, Cap and Iron Man are locked in Civil War, Thor’s out to stop Ragnarok, both Captain Marvel and The Inhumans launch between the two Infinity War parts suggesting Thanos already has the stones. That leaves Ant-Man and Dr Strange. A Soul gem for Strange and another for Ant Man (perhaps reality?). I’m fairly confident in this prediction. It all adds up.
An infinity stone. An unproven hero with a chance to be great like Guardians. A more human story about a father striving for redemption and the protection of his daughter. A departure from heroes we’re familiar with. Ant-Man has all the components to be memorable. We know Age of Ulton will be fantastic, but this year it’s Ant-Man which I’m really interested to see.