Isaac Newton’s first law of motion states that an object in motion will stay in motion. Combining that law with recent history there is no reason to think Marvel’s Ant-Man will be anything but a giant success at the box office. However, there are some reasons to have doubts.
The first, and biggest, cause for concern, who on Earth is Ant-Man? With an almost infinite roster of comic book characters to choose from, making an Ant-Man movie was not the obvious choice. Yes, Ant-Man is an Avenger. If memory serves correct he might even be one of the founding members of the Avengers, but he is by no means the most popular Avenger. Ant-Man is B a level comic book hero at best. Not only is he relatively unknown, what are his powers? He can shrink. That would be cool if this were a 90’s movie about kids trapped on the front the lawn, but it’s not. All the good powers are apparently already taken.
Yes, all the heavy hitters and their cool super powers have been put on the big screen, but they all have not had their own movies. Maybe if Hawkeye had his own movie his time spent teamed up with the other Avengers wouldn’t be so boring. There have been Hulk movies before, but not a standalone Hulk movie starring Mark Ruffalo. Ruffalo is a great actor, that movie could work. Everyone loves Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow; how come she can’t have her own movie? Instead we get a witty guy in a suit. That sounds like an Iron Man rip off to me.
Bringing up the idea of Black Widow having her own movie highlights another problem with Ant-Man, it’s just more of the same. Ant-Man is another origin story about a white who gets super powers and has to save people (Full disclosure, I haven’t seen the movie, but I’m pretty sure I got the plot right). Boring! We’ve been there. We’ve done that. Give us something different. Give the world Mrs. Marvel. Mrs. Marvel is new. Mrs. Marvel is an Avenger, and regardless of which characterization is used, she would be unlike anything Marvel has produced previously. If the Marvel movie machine just prints money, why can’t a 16 year old Pakistani girl be the lead?
Superhero movies need more than just different types of heroes; the movies need new and different stories. At this point everything is an origin story. It’s just old. A breath of fresh air would be a movie that begins with a fully formed hero. People are smart, they can figure out what is going on. There is no need to see a character grapple with new found powers for the hundredth time, or the traumatic life event that created our hero. That stuff is worn out, and here we are getting the same story just in a different suit. This may be the time that story flops.
Another thing to remember is, the guy in the suit does matter. Robert Downey Jr. spawned the Marvel movie franchise juggernaut by being a wise ass in armor. If Downey Jr. never took the part of Iron Man the Marvel Empire could have stalled right out of the gates. Chris Pratt anchored a blockbuster featuring a talking raccoon. Paul Rudd may not have it in him. Yes, Rudd is funny, smart, and charming, but is he enough of each of those things to carry a superhero movie. If this were a movie about his superhero girlfriend dumping him and all the foibles on his path to finding love again, sure he’d be great in that movie, but this is not that movie. The audience needs to believe Rudd has it in him to save the world. How would Rudd fight Ultron? It would probably involve some cheesy jokes and then waiting for Iron Man to save the day. The weight of Ant-Man is too much for Paul Rudd.
Rehashing the same old story with the same type of hero is a recipe for failure. A boring hero that no one knows much about is not someone Marvel should bet their continued success on. When an unknown hero is portrayed by an actor with questionable superhero credentials a box office flop looms. Paul Rudd and Ant-Man are lined up to squash Marvel’s uncanny streak of box success.