Why Ant-Man Could Be Terrible Or Amazing

In the summer of 2015, Marvel will launch yet another sub-franchise in its mega-successful series of comic book adaptations. Ant-Man, starring Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, and Michael Douglas, is all about a superhero whose big power is getting really small. And his ability to talk to ants. Altogether, the flick might end up being Marvel's first major misfire—or it might end up being the latest in a series of hits that defy audiences' expectations.

It's Ant-Man, And That's Weird

As we said, Ant-Man is one of Marvel's more esoteric characters, despite being created around the same time as mainstays like Spider-Man, Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, and the Mighty Thor. While the other guys on this list are unbelievably cool, with armored suits, magic hammers, and super strength, Ant-Man's ability to shrink and command an army of insects was never particularly appealing. That's why it's no surprise that only a year after he started fighting tiny crime, Ant-Man switched things up to become Giant-Man—who grew rather than shrank. Needless to say, that alone shows that Marvel's ability to sell kids on Ant-Man being a hero worth loving has always been a struggle.

It's Ant-Man, And That's Awesome

Even still, Marvel has already proven its ability to take B-list and C-list characters and make them into hits. Guardians of the Galaxy was one of 2014's biggest box office smashes, and its lead was Star Lord, a hero that was even more unknown than Ant-Man. And its true breakout stars were Groot, a tree man, and Rocket, a talking raccoon who likes to shoot guns. If anyone can make Ant-Man work for mainstream audiences, it's Marvel. They've gotten very good at making things that are super weird super work.

Not The Original Ant-Man

The Ant-Man we'll be watching in this movie is Scott Lang, who is actually the second person to adopt the Ant-Man persona. That's kind of a disappointment considering so much of Ant-Man is tied up in the character's original alter ego, Hank Pym. The hero's shrinking ability comes specifically from something called Pym Particles. While some superheroes don't truly hit their stride until their second incarnations (like Green Lantern's Hal Jordan, or the Flash's Barry Allen), Ant-Man's secret identity is so tied up with Hank Pym, it's hard to imagine anyone else chatting with the bugs.

But Original Ant-Man Is There

Scott Lang may be the man in the suit, but he's going to be learning from Hank Pym, who's retired from the superhero game. We've never heard of Hank Pym in the cinematic Marvel Universe yet, so it'll be interesting to see how the film resolves this incongruity. Has Ant-Man been working in the tiny shadows since the 1980s? What's his deal? With Michael Douglas passing the torch, we couldn't ask for a better Hank Pym.

Paul Rudd Has Never Done An Action Film

Rudd has proven his chops as an actor for decades now, but mostly in rom coms or full on comedies. Can Paul Rudd really pull off an action movie lead? He's completely untested in that regard, and there's always a big chance that trying something so new might not work out too well.

But He's A Great Leading Man

The good news is that action movies don't need the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sylvester Stalone anymore. The ability to crack wise and look good in a superhero suit is all it takes. And after all, no one thought Bruce Willis would make a good action star when he starred in Die Hard right after his stint on TV's Moonlighting, and we all know how that turned out.

No Edgar Wright

Ant-Man was originally conceived as a movie by Edgar Wright, the cult-favorite writer/director behind Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and Scott Pilgrim vs The Universe. He's got a unique vision, and it was exciting to imagine what his flash and style would bring to the Marvel Universe. The film had been in development under Wright since 2006—so it was a huge loss when he left the project in 2014 due to creative differences.

But Peyton Reed Is Awesome

While Wright's replacement, Peyton Reed, doesn't have the same kind of draw from his name alone, he's got a great, quirky filmmaking pedigree that should lend itself perfectly to Ant-Man's bizarre tone. He's worked on the Weird Al Show, and Mr. Show with Bob and David, which solidifies his comedy cred, which is just right for Paul Rudd. He also directed Bring it On, which was a much better movie than anyone would've guessed. Reed might truly break out with Ant-Man.

The Plot Sounds Too Similar To 'Iron Man'

From what we know based on the trailers, one of the big plot points of Ant-Man involves a dispute between an idealistic inventor who builds a super suit, and evil corporate interests who would weaponize it for nefarious purposes. It sounds a whole lot like the plot of the original Iron Man (and Iron Man 2, now that we think of it). Do we really need another movie with this same premise?

But Heists And Ant Fights Is Pretty Different

Fortunately, it sounds like Ant-Man has enough going for it that'll set it apart from the pack. For starters, this flick relies on Scott Lang's criminal past for some action packed super heist goodness. This will make it the first Marvel superhero movie to show a criminal figuring out how to do right. Then, of course, this will also be the first time we see gigantic bug fights with Ant-Man's ant armies. It's got plenty of new weirdness to make it unique—and possibly one of 2015's most surprising blockbuster hits.