“Ant-Man” is in the unfortunate position of being released smack dab in between the Avengers-stuffed “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and the Avengers-stuffed “Captain America: Civil War,” but it’s not letting that keep it down. The Paul Rudd-starring flick is facing its Avengers-lessness head on in a new marketing push.
Marvel Studios released three new posters showing Ant-Man standing on iconic Avengers items: Thor’s hammer, Iron Man’s suit and Captain America’s shield. “No shield. No hammer. No problem,” the tagline reads.
These are paired with a new TV spot that addresses the unstated question in every standalone Marvel superhero movie: Why not call the Avengers for help with the problem whichever character is fighting? “I think our first move should be calling the Avengers,” Rudd’s Scott Lang suggests in the trailer, before immediately diffuses the situation by saying, “I know, it sounded ridiculous even as I said it.”
Considering Scott Lang/Ant-Man will play a role in “Captain America: Civil War,” this movie will inevitably connect itself to the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe in some way. (Maybe Chris Evans’ Captain America will pop up in a post-credits scene to recruit Scott like Tony Stark did with Bruce Banner back in “The Incredible Hulk”?) But until that crossover happens, “Ant-Man” will reside in a world where its main character knows the Avengers exist but isn’t overtly connected to them.
This will be a new trend in Marvel movies, as the franchise is bringing new faces into the fold — “Black Panther,” “Doctor Strange,” “Captain Marvel” and “Inhumans” movies are all on the horizon — instead of just pumping out sequels to existing properties. While “Guardians of the Galaxy” was set in a different part of the universe and could easily feel separated, introducing new characters on Earth and trying to get audiences to care about them as much as they do other Avengers characters who they’ve been watching for almost a decade is no easy feat. “Ant-Man” introduces the first new Earth-set standalone character since “Captain America: The First Avenger,” and is the first movie to introduce a new superhero on a post-Avengers Earth.
Getting viewers in on the joke is one clever way Marvel’s marketing team has worked around this problem. No, Ant-Man is not an Avenger — but he will be. There’s a reason “Ant-Man” is the last movie in Phase 2 of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, but people just need to wait to find out what it is.
“Ant-Man” hits theaters on July 17.