The Power of Ant-Man: Ant-Man May Change Superhero Films

(Originally published at Comics Bulletin)

This is not a statement made in the heat of the moment, out of humor, or due to intoxicating substances.  The Ant-Man film, as it shambles onward towards a release, now in it's second draft , could be just as important as Thor or Captain America.

Really, I'm serious, and here's why.

Ant-Man is arguably a B or C-list character (or depending how you look at it, one of many characters who are all one B-list character with serious issues).  He's also, let us be frank, a very weird character – a shrinking guy who talks to ants.  Ant-Man, in short is one of those properties that does not screen "instant draw, let's make tons of money."

Which is why a film is important to comic book/superhero adaptions.

If Ant-Man can be made into a profitable venture, it will signal several things to Marvel – and do others doing comics and comic based/superhero films.

  • It's great publicity because it sounds so impractical.  If it works, it means oddball comic-superhero films get more credibility.  It also gives Marvel/Disney a bit of a boost for making it works.
  • If it's a success, and with the good publicity, it means Marvel/Disney can get away with adaptions of various other properties, including odd and outlandish ones.
  • If Marvel/Disney can get away with adaptions of odd properties, they can then pretty much throw open the doors to anything in their catalogue and it will be credible (even if the film, show, etc. turns out to be bad).  Remember Marvel's experimental shorts?  Imagine that writ large.
  • Of course if this works for Marvel/Disney, who else will it work for?

So, Thor, Cap, Iron Man, all the rest, sure they were important.  But Ant-Man may well be the film that really brings the comic book superhero adaption to its ultimate conclusion.

Of course if it fails on the other hand . . .

Steven Savage