Little Big Man. Heroes Don’t Get Any Bigger?
“The thing about Ant-Man: it’s different. There’s never been a superhero like that. These days, if you can come up with something that’s different and unique, and then do it well, which is the only way Marvel would do anything, you’ve got a great shot at getting a hit” – Stan Lee.
Will the latest offering from the mighty Marvel Studios: Ant-Man – which opens internationally this Friday – be worth the ticket price? It seems that the last entry in Phase 2 of Marvel Studios’ grand cinematic strategy will star their smallest character in possibly their biggest gamble.
As a keen follower of this hero back in the day, his sheer outlandishness was an intriguing plus, yet it is the one off-putting factor that has consigned Ant-Man to the lower confines of the Marvel canon, and has taken this long to get his own motion picture at all.
This is a pity for the character of Ant-Man/Dr. Hank Pym, created in 1962 by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby, holds a special place in the Marvel lexicon. The scientist originally responsible for inventing – and first wearing -the amazing ant-suit, was one of the co-founders of the Avengers – extraordinary to think that he did not feature in either Avengers movie; he was also responsible for creating Ultron, not Tony Stark as Marvel’s last blockbuster erroneously portrayed.
Only now do the powers-that-be at Marvel believe that the level of special visual effects has reached a standard sufficient enough to create the story of a man who can shrink to ant-size and command armies of soldier ants through special receivers in a specially designed helmet.
How, on Earth, do you pitch something like that?!
“I think our first move should be calling the Avengers” – Scott Lang.
After both powerhouses of Jurassic World and Terminator Genisys failed to give me much satisfaction, Ant-Man looks far from revitalising my rapidly diminishing faith in the current spate of blockbuster movie-making. Just look at the pile of minus factors going against it. Apart from the aforementioned obscurity of the character, how significant will the late departure of original writer and director: Edgar Wright have on the fortunes of this film?
And as for the casting, well…! Michael Douglas?! As Hank?! How is that possible? What about Paul Rudd as Scott Lang? He is ideal for making entertaining lunacy like Anchorman, but judging from those (bland) trailers, he looks to be mismatched with this material. But then again: ask me who would make a better Ant-Man, and that would be a toughie.
Both trailers seen so far hardly worked up any enthusiasm for the subject-matter. Rather than instill any sense of ant-icipation, this lacklustre fare is generating nothing but ant-ipathy…
Perhaps more than any other Marvel character, this peculiar material has a particularly tough task in trying to translate to the big screen. Can it be done?
Alan Moore – living legend among comic book writers – stipulated that none of his work should be developed into movies. In one interview, when asked how he would adapt his own outstanding classic: Watchmen – voted as one of the greatest novels of all time – into a movie, he just replied without hesitation: “I wouldn’t.”
“This is not some cute tech like the Iron Man suit!” – Dr. Hank Pym.
So what compelled me towards Ant-Man as a comic character worth reading? This is some question, considering that the similar, yet vastly more popular, Spider-Man never appealed to me. There was something really cool about Ant-Man’s helmet, whereas nothing amazing was to be had from Spidey’s curiously red and blue costume.
Ant-Man did not have his own series during my comic-collecting days, but would guest star in other titles. Unfortunately, none of those strips were kept for long, so it is difficult to recall which issues did grace my stash of comics, yet there was a single page which – after three decades – still remains crystal clear in my mind’s eye.
Lo and behold, an online search (for other comic art, incidentally) suddenly brought it up, and all the fond memories associated with this masterpiece (by the incomparable John Byrne; who else?) came flooding back.
For those of you taking notes, this is page 15 of Marvel Premiere #47 from 1979.
“You think you can stop the future? You’re just a thief!” – Yellowjacket.
Considering how we were subjected to an Amazing Spider-Man reboot even before the dust had been allowed to settle on Spider-Man 3, it is reassuring to learn that Marvel Studios is ready to tap into Marvel Comics’ rich and diverse pool of several thousand characters.
Ant-Man may not reach the same heights of last Summer’s deliriously fun smash: Guardians of the Galaxy, but at least it continues Marvel’s bold and warmly welcomed ploy of unleashing lesser-known characters upon a cinema-going public suffering from remake and sequel fatigue.
Some comics were never meant to be filmed, and should have stayed on the printed page – some may argue that Ant-Man is one of them – but let’s hope that the time and effort put into this movie will pay off.
Anyway, it can’t be as awful as Punisher: War Zone… can it?
“This ‘dorky looking helmet’ is the only thing that’s going to protect me from the real bad guys!” – Magneto.