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Do Upcoming Marvel Films Lack Mass Appeal?

posted Jul 16, 2012, 9:15 AM by

Now that Comic Con is over I can breathe and let everything the weekend has given me sink in. I didn’t even go to the event; I was just picking up news from Twitter. The most important of which (to me, anyway) came from the announcement of Marvel’s upcoming film projects and the first footage of Man of Steel being released. I’m not going to get on Man of Steel at the moment because once I get started on lecturing how Superman is not lame I will never stop. He’s not lame, by the way.

What calls for immediate discussion is Marvel’s announcement of the upcoming Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy films. At first I was too excited about Winter Soldier being in the next Captain America movie to really give the other two thought but then I, like most people I saw on Twitter, were like “Wait, what, who cares about Ant-Man?” Barely anybody mentioned Guardians of the Galaxy because not many people know what that is and the title is vague enough that you can’t even get an idea of who it could be about. I’ll give you a little taste and tell you one of the Guardians is a space raccoon by the name of Rocket Raccoon. Not making that up.

Marvel has done a good job with making films these past few years but I’m wondering if they were thinking about mass appeal when they decided to make movies from this group of heroes. Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, these are all heroes that the average person who knows even a little about comics would know about. Even if you didn’t they are strong enough characters to base a film off of that would appeal to a mass audience. I imagine if someone was hearing the title Ant-Man for the first time they would picture either a giant ant or a tiny man. Or perhaps a Spider-Man rip-off about a guy that had ant powers. I’m just not sure if it’s going to work. I would hate for it not to work because it really sucks to be a fan of something and then get all excited for a film adaptation and then have it be awful. I know how this feels because in addition to being a Superman fan I’m also a Percy Jackson fan. Despite Hank Pym (Ant-Man’s alter ego for those unfamiliar) not being my cup of tea I’m sure there are some Ant-Man fans (and Guardians of the Galaxy fans) that don’t want to see their film adaptations be awful and/or tank at the box office.

That’s not to say there isn't any hope. I can see some reasons why these adaptations are being made. Hank Pym is one of the founding members of the Avengers. Several Guardians have connections to the villain Thanos, who made a tiny appearance in The Avengers. The crossover possibilities are there. Ant-Man is being helmed by Edgar Wright who has yet to have directed a movie I didn’t like and who seems to really have respect for the character. Ant-Man also opens the door to introduce people to Ultron, Vision and Wasp who are three great Marvel characters.

There’s also the fact that people might be looking for something new. Recently I had someone ask me why the Batman films kept reusing villains from previous incarnations. With the flood of comic book sequels and reboots maybe people are looking for something they haven’t seen before. If done right, maybe Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy could provide that. I’m interested to see how this will all play out for Marvel. If it goes well and they’re looking for another film idea, might I suggest a movie based off of Ms. Marvel? Or a Runaways movie, I’d be down for that. Just spitballin’ some ideas for you.