We can’t be the only ones having trouble remembering that Ant-Man is coming out soon. It’s just not all that memorable.
To be fair, it’s not all our fault. Ant-Man lost a lot of steam when Edgar Wright left the project. It then continued to lose steam up until the trailer where there was the hilarious battle on the train set tracks. But, by that point, it was a little too late.
With all of the information being released about and hype surrounding Marvel’s next project, Civil War, who could blame us for forgetting about a tiny movie (pun intended) called Ant-Man.
But that’s just the thing. We shouldn’t be forgetting about Ant-Man. We should be head-over-heels, buying tickets for the first showing, quoting the trailer-excited for this movie. But we’re not. Here’s why.
1. ‘Ant-Man’ doesn’t seem to have a unique edge to it.
Iron Man had Tony Stark. Captain America: The First Avenger had the period piece feel to it. Guardians of the Galaxy had sass and a crazy awesome soundtrack. And these aspects were just from the trailers and promotional materials.
What does Ant-Man have, really? Aside from the hilarious battle on the train set tracks, there’s nothing that feels really original. Nothing that we can confidently say is Ant-Man‘s thing. Instead, it feels like it’s recycling previous Marvel movies’ “things.” For a normal movie, that’s nothing to really worry about. For a Marvel movie… That’s a different story.
2. The marketing isn’t very consistent in tone.
Going off of the last point, it feels like Marvel’s marketing doesn’t know what kind of movie Ant-Man is. The first trailer we got for the movie was strangely serious in a way where Scott Lang’s sassy comment at the end doesn’t have as much of an impact as it should. The second trailer is far more action packed with a few funny quips that makes us think that the movie is going to be a super fun romp. Okay great.
But then there’s the viral news story marketing that’s happening for the film that brings back that awkwardly serious tone. Plus, we keep getting told (and not really shown) that Ant-Man is going to be a sort of heist movie in the way that Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a spy movie, but we just don’t see it.
All of these mixed signals we’re receiving keep us from buying into the marketing and the movie itself. None of the marketing is really definitive in what the feeling of the movie is supposed to be, which has hurt the hype around it. Movies shouldn’t fit perfectly into categories, sure, but we should at least be able to get some sort of a read on a movie’s tone by its marketing.
3. The posters aren’t very memorable.
(Well, except for one set.) We like to gauge how much we like movie posters by asking ourselves how we’d feel about framing them and hanging them in our room or house. The more excited we’d be about owning the framed poster, the more we obviously like the poster. The Ant-Man posters didn’t really have that effect on us. The main movie poster is just okay; nothing memorable, really. Just your average blockbuster poster with the entire cast photoshopped around the main actor.
Then there came the Avengers/Ant-Man crossover posters. Those were great! They brought him into the universe and had a bit of humor to them (like, “Hey, I’m not these guys, but come see me anyway”). This series of posters actually made us more excited for the movie!
But then came the cheesy character posters. We don’t usually mind a bit of cheese, but these had a sort of odd vibe to them. The one of just Ant-Man is okay, but the rest are awkwardly staged in our opinion (especially the one with Hope). They just felt a bit like a step backward from the crossover posters.
4. Their viral marketing push feels a little too late.
The whole “Scott Lang leaving prison” viral news marketing angle is intriguing, but it’s coming just a bit too late. The first “news footage” reel hit the web about two and a half weeks or so (three tops) before the movie’s release date. That’s really not a lot of time.
Plus, the main interview with Scott Lang that has been teased in the reels didn’t happen until this week (and we’re not even sure when that was exactly). Sure, it’s interesting that they’re doing this marketing in “real time” (with the events of Ant-Man immediately following Scott’s release), but it just feels like it’s coming far too late, especially since it’s a relatively understated campaign. This is especially harmful for the film because not a lot of people are seeing these materials. No major outlets are picking these “stories” up with excitement and the Twitter set up for the fake news channel has very little interaction. It’s the opposite of viral.
Furthermore, there isn’t really a lot of mystery in the marketing itself. Yes, Scott Lang is coming out of prison. Yes, we’re given reasons why he was put in there in the first place. But none of these videos or news stories are introducing us to the “heist movie” element that is supposed to be the theme of the movie. If this marketing had been introduced earlier, it might have had a better shot at grabbing audiences’ attention and making us care about Scott Lang being imprisoned.
While we will still be seeing Ant-Man this weekend (thanks to our undying devotion to Marvel Studios), we can’t say that we’re as jazzed about it as we have been about seeing previous movies. For a new property in the Marvel Studios franchise, this one just doesn’t have that much buzz.
Will Ant-Man still be fun? probably. Do we hope it does well and surpasses our expectations? Definitely. Will it be Marvel’s next big thing? We unfortunately don’t think so.