I’ll admit it–I’m not expecting Ant-Man to be Marvel’s finest hours, either in terms of movie, or of box office returns. But one of the things that’s confused me from the start is why Ant-Man at all? What is the reason to even make this movie, other than as a Edgar Wright joint?
Up until now, there has not really been a satisfactory answer. One explanation has been that it’s the first “passing of the torch” movie the MCU has done–all the other “origin story” movies have been about the character finding their inner superhero, or descending from Asgard to discover Earth, etc. What we haven’t had in terms of story was a character who was created, and then passed the title to someone else. But I had sort of assumed we would see that down the line–especially once Robert Downey decided he was getting too old and needed to retire. So that didn’t feel like a good reason.
But now Kevin Feige has explained why Ant-Man was a necessary detour for the MCU to take for their final installment of Phase II. The plan is that it will effect all the movies to come.
The truth is, there is so much in Ant-Man: introducing a new hero, introducing a very important part of technology in the Marvel universe, the Pym particles. Ant-Man getting on the Avengers’ radar in this film and even – this is the weirdest part, you shouldn’t really talk about it because it won’t be apparent for years – but the whole notion of the quantum realm and the whole notion of going to places that are so out there, they are almost mind-bendingly hard to fathom. It all plays into Phase Three.
That bit about the Quantum Realm really stands out, because that’s something we’re expecting Doctor Strange to tackle. Mix that with the Pym Particle being able to transport across time and space, and suddenly we have a way to bring the Avengers, Thanos and the Guardians together. I’ll buy that, even if it means a movie where a guy tries to be sexy while riding a bug.
Speaking of Doctor Strange and movies to come, by now everyone’s heard that yet another teenage white boy has been cast as Spiderman. (Sony’s leaked emails confirmed that’s actually part of the required stipulation of the deal with Marvel.) Tom Holland’s a good actor though–he was fabulous in Wolf Hall last spring, and apparently he tested really well with both Downey and Chris Evans. We’ll get to see him soon in Civil War, and hopefully that will go well. Also part of Civil War? Black Panther, and Feige also teased that we could see “more” which everyone assumes means Captain Marvel. As for those reports that Oscar nominated Ava DuVernay will be directing Black Panther, Feige won’t confirm them. The movie isn’t out until 2018, but the idea is to cast a director early, who can be part of the Civil War ever-growing circus and get a feel for the character. He did say they met with her though, and agreed that the series will probably hire a female director “sooner rather than later.”
You look back sometimes, and it’s just the nature of this industry, or the nature of the culture, but there’s a big shift happening. What’s exciting about Marvel, go back and look at the source material: It’s been diverse in a cutting-edge way going back to the ’60s, and I think we’ve represented that effortlessly and accurately in the movies we’ve made up to this point, but certainly with Black Panther and Captain Marvel doing it in a much more overt and purposeful way.
Let’s hope he’s not just spewing words here. DuVernay would be a huge get for the MCU, and they would be fools to not book her if they can.