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The Avengers: No room for Ant-Man and the Wasp? Really??

How Hollywood decodes which superheroes are just unmarketable


 

Iron Man and Captain America in a scene from "The Avengers" (AP Photo/Disney)

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or the Negative Zone as it were, you probably know that The Avengers hits movie theatres today. Heck, I even overheard a pair of hobos talking about it at Tim Hortons the other day. It’s that big.

The film is a comic fan’s dream come to life as it groups several of Marvel’s iconic superheroes – the Hulk, Iron Man, Thor and Captain America–together for the first time on the silver screen. And, as if the film needed even more nerd cred, Mr. Buffy himself, Joss Whedon, directed and co-wrote it. Put all that together and it’s hard to imagine how The Avengerswon’t be good, at least to us dorks.

But there’s one troubling fact about the movie – it’s not accurate. Indeed, if we’re to go by comic book canon, Captain America, Hawkeye and the Black Widow should not be in the film, since they joined in issues four, 16 and 111, respectively. Missing from the movie team’s roster are two of the original founders: Ant-Man and the Wasp. And that’s just not right.

Now, before this comes off as whining from an indignant comic nerd purist, hear me out. My complaint isn’t about Hollywood messing with comic book continuity–lord knows nobody wants to listen to those wackos – but rather on what it suggests about the business and logic of Hollywood.

As Marvel’s character echelon goes, Ant-Man and the Wasp rank far down the list. If Spider-Man and the X-Men are A-listers, they’re G-list at best. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be the centre of a good movie. More to the point, Marvel has made films with similarly low-grade characters. Daredevil (he had some good comic runs, but let’s face it, he’s never been a major character), Elektra, even Howard the Duck have all had their chances. And how Ghost Rider got a sequel, wherein the flame-headed demon peed fire, is beyond anyone’s understanding. On the other hand, as Blade proved, it’s possible to make decent movies starring lesser-known characters.

So if lowly character status isn’t an impediment to getting green-lit, what’s the problem with the diminutive duo?

My guess is it has to do with what studios think audiences are willing to believe. And they can’t be blamed for thinking that audiences might not buy into a character who can shrink down to microscopic size and control ants through a cybernetic helmet, or a woman who gets similarly small but sprouts wings from her back.

Realistically speaking, Ant-Man and the Wasp are lame characters. Marvel tacitly admitted as much when Avengers writers quickly rebooted Ant-Man as Giant Man–his new powers being self-explanatory–in issue number two of the comic. (The Wasp, meanwhile, remained lame until the late ’70s, when she actually developed some character; reading 1960s Avengers comics is a case study in post-war sexism.)

Still, look at the some of the other Avengers. Captain America, Hawkeye and the Black Widow are essentially slightly enhanced humans, but the others are a guy who wears a futuristic metal suit that could never work because of the enormous power it would require, another is a guy who gains a ton of mass from nowhere and becomes a giant, green rage monster, and another is a freakin’ Norse God.

Is it really so hard to believe in size-changing characters amongst this group? Movie studios must have a really warped opinion of audiences’ intelligence if the answer is no.

Ant-Man and the Wasp could easily have been shoe-horned into one of the preceding Avengers set-up movies, the way that Hawkeye and the Black Widow were in Thor and Iron Man 2, respectively, but they weren’t. I’m hard pressed to think of a reason why, other than they’ve been deemed either unmarketable or too unbelievable.

There are apparently talks about an Ant-Man movie, with Shawn of the Dead director Edgar Wright involved, while the Wasp was also reportedly considered, but I’m not holding my breath. Despite the fact that seemingly every comic book ever written is being made into a movie nowadays, I’m still not confident that Hollywood will ever get brave enough to tackle these two.

Regardless of what may or may not happen down the road, I’ll be lining up with my friends today to see The Avengers, with all of us looking to recapture a little bit of our long-gone adolescence. I, for one, will be hoping that Ant-Man and the Wasp at least make a cameo. A small one, naturally.


 

The Avengers: No room for Ant-Man and the Wasp? Really??

  1. THis movie is by far way more entertaining than Harry Potter, or Dark
    Night etc. i was absolutely amazed how good this movie was. it is the
    first time in 20 years where i wanted to see the movie 2 more times
    after i watched it. i prepaid my ticket for the opening now i am pre
    paying again for today! great acting, great story, good writing. funny
    as hell! awesome! awesome! awesome!

  2. I think those characters are both unmarketable and completely unknown to non-comic readers (as opposed to somewhat unknown). YOu probably couldn’t take a guy called “Ant man” who can control ants and interest someone who hasn’t heard of him before – you’d have to overcome the hurdle of people thinking it was a satire. Ghost rider, at least, has skulls and a flaming motorcycle. Heck, why not a “Squirrel Girl” movie.

  3. Avengers was amazing!!!! Yeah I agree Ant-man and the Wasp shouldve made a cameo but they did a good job in the movie. And now that we know there’s going to be a sequel to the Avengers, I’m sure they’ll make an Ant-Man/Wasp movie and put them into the Sequel

  4. Waddya mean “living under a rock”? This movie opened two weeks ago in Europe!

  5. This movie is based off of the Ultimates, NOT the original avengers. If you were a real comic nerd you should know this…..

    • Actually, the movie draws more inspiration from the classic Avengers than The Ultimates. There were aspects of the film that came from The Ultimates (such as the Avengers being started by SHIELD and a black Nick Fury), but the former was done because SHIELD makes it easier to connect them altogether. If this drew more inspiration from The Ultimates, Cap would be a jingoistic bastard, Banner would enjoy transforming into the Hulk, they would be based at the Triskelion, Thor would be a new age guru whom no one believes really comes from Asgard, and there would be no Cosmic Cube or the man behind the Chitauri.

      And while the name Chitauri comes from The Ultimates, the Chitauri as seen in the film are nothing like the Chitauri from The Ultimates.

  6. I agree but would go further to say it is clear the Hawkeye character and to an extent Widow, kill Suspension of Disbelief in the film.

    He should not be in it, is not credible at all given everyone else in flick, as he is simply human same as BW character as well but to a lesser extent.

    Hawkeye is badly cast, awful as a character and overused to save $$$ on VFX.

    • Loved both Hawkeye and the Black Widow. I want to see them star together in a movie. They helped ground the movie, imho, making it more human.

  7. Tactically speaking, Ant-Man and Wasp are very useful. Think about it — the ability to shrink down to size and go anywhere without being seen is extremely useful.

    But beyond that, there was talk about including Ant-Man and Wasp in the Avengers (and rumors indicate that Nathan Fillon and Eva Longoria were in talks to play them). They decided not to because Edgar Wright was busy working on an Ant-Man film to introduce them.

    Also, for the record, there’s nothing enhanced about Black Widow and Hawkeye. They have no powers, they’re just incredibly skilled humans.

    • This is not necessarily accurate with regards to Black Widow’s abilities. She is actually enhanced according to marvels wiki, she is psychologically and biologically enhanced which was done through her childhood training in the russian black widow program.

      • But she’s not that interesting.

  8. From what I’ve heard, the ant man movie is going to suck. Unlike what they did with Iron Man, in which they chose to make it set in modern day, ant man is set in the 1960’s, so he doesn’t have any chance of being an avenger. I think Hank Pym would have been great in this movie, even if he was giant man instead, it still would’ve been great.

  9. I was born in the early 70’s and never read comic books, but I know about these characters from cartoons that I used to watch after school. I remember Thor, Hulk, Iron Man, and Captain America, at least. No appearance of Ant Man or Wasp in those shows, either.

  10. Ant Man IS in the movie…you just can’t see him! hyuk hyuk

  11. what about starfox? it only seems logical, since thanos is in it and starfox was an avenger in the comics…

  12. TOTALLY AGREE!!! Also a little angry that Wasp, the character that coined the term The Avengers could not have been developed in a manner that shows a role model for girls that you can look good & be funny & intelligent. I actually loved the movie but I thought the Black Widow & Hawkeye actors were the weakest on screen so why not keep the story real? Any half decent female actor could have pouted around like Scarlet did as Black Widow. After the Russian scene the experience with her just blended in & Hawkeye was played a little more serious than I would have liked. In the comics his snide manner is what makes him such a great character, here he is just angry without the humor.

  13. when i watched the Avengers i left the movies with a “something’s missing” feeling. I’m still not sure about what it may be,but maybe it’s exactly The Aunt man and the Wasp : may be nonsense for some people,but i do think that a bit of romance (especially in a super hero movie) makes things …can’t-find-the-right-word-to-explain-it-but-let’s-say-better and the Aunt man and the Wasp would be just…i’m afraid i’ll sound like a teenage girl…but it’s be…perfect (as i lack a better word at the moment)

  14. in avengers nr 1 Antman,Wasp,Ironman, Thor,Hulk, vs loki…no Cap America

  15. If they do make a second one ant man wasp and black panther better be in it or MARVLE f@#$%d up real bad….and on a separate note why did they make Nick Fury a bald black guy

  16. I believe that Antman & Wasp should have been in film. Fair enough to some people they may be boring , not only are they good characters , they make the film more all rounded for those would enjoy romance. Also , it’s not like Black Widow is interesting , I think that if they do make a second film , they should really consider putting the ACTUAL marvel characters in ; at least as a cameo. I know that’s what I’ll be looking for.

  17. Also , Wasp make the film less masculine , show that girls do have power & that not only men can become “Avengers”.

  18. the antman movie is being realesed in 2015

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