So Marvel has made a ton of money by being willing to invest in characters nobody really cared much about before. Oh, sure, comic book fans knew about Iron Man and Thor and Captain America, but your average person on the street didn’t really give a damn one way or another.
And then Marvel went ahead and did it. They managed to make the first Big Superhero Team-Up movie, and they made it work. And it blew people away.
And then they didn’t stop there. They decided to make a Guardians of the Galaxy movie, featuring a setting most non-superhero fans don’t equate with superheroes and starring, among other things, a talking tree and a gun-toting raccoon, taking place entirely away from Earth with only the barest connection to the rest of the Marvel Movieverse. And it worked. Despite all the doubters, despite all the dismissals, it made a ton of money and pleased audiences.
And, yet, we must still listen to the doubts. We must still hear how Ant-Man is going to be dumb and how it’ll be the movie to finally destroy Marvel’s winning streak.
It’s entirely possible. Every streak ends. Nobody can always succeed, and even when you do everything right, you can still end up failing.
BUT this is Marvel, and they’ve proven time and again that there is an audience for the most ridiculous aspects of superheroes. When a billionaire genius in a high tech suit, a space god with a magic hammer, and a talking raccoon swashbuckler all live in the same universe AND have all proven themselves to be viable commercial properties, do we really need to have the same discussion about Ant-Man as we do with every limb Marvel goes out on?
Are we doomed to walk around in circles like this forever? If Ant-Man comes out and manages to be successful, will we have the same discussion about Dr. Strange? Black Panther? The Inhumans? Will we sit around saying, over and over again, that Marvel has gone too far this time? Do we need to breathlessly wait for the first failure, just so we can say “I told you so?”
I don’t know if Ant-Man is going to be good or not. I’ve liked what I’ve seen, and I’m glad that Marvel has the guts to even try a movie about a shrinking superhero, a crime movie with superheroic elements. Because, for better or worse, superhero films are here to stay for a while, and it’s nice that someone is willing to take a risk.
And if it fails (whether through its own failings or simply because people aren’t willing to give it a chance), I’ll still applaud Marvel for daring. Say what you will, they’re certainly not resting on their laurels. And as an artist I can respect that.
So please, feel free to wring your hands and say the same ol’ thing over and over again. I’ll just be here quietly waiting for a movie that might just surprise all the naysayers. Again.