MCU Fans Love the ‘Ant-Man’ Movies, But Not Just Because of Paul Rudd

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has attained so much success that even seemingly iffy ideas for movies turn into hits. Even though the Ant-Man movies are low grossing compared to other MCU  movies, they still performed better than many observers expected. 

Fans certainly loved them, and not just for the charm the well-liked Paul Rudd brings to the movies. And fans got good news on April 3 that a third Ant-Man movie is moving one step closer to reality. 

Paul Rudd smiling
Paul Rudd | Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images

The Ant-Man movies beat the odds

When some fans heard that Marvel wanted to make a movie based on the very tiny hero Ant-Man, many eyebrows rose in surprise. Sure, Ant-Man is fun, but can he sustain a whole movie? Would DC, for example, try to base a movie around one of its more whimsical characters, like Mr. Mytzlplk?

It seemed like the skepticism was justified when acclaimed director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead) left the project over creative differences with Marvel. They were having trouble even getting the movie off the ground. How could it possibly be a hit? When the movie finally did come out in 2015, people got the answer. 

Ant-Man opened with $57 million, which is on the low end for Marvel, but the movie hung on for a domestic gross of $180 million and a worldwide gross of $518 million. That was good enough for a sequel, 2018’s Ant-Man and the Wasp, which made $216 million in the US and $623 million internationally. That may pale in comparison to Avengers numbers, but those grosses were still higher than even some fans expected. 

How do fans remember Ant-Man? 

On Reddit, a topic-starter asked what post-Phase 4 movies fans were looking forward to. While the third Guardians of the Galaxy got a lot of attention, so did the third Ant-Man. The first response to the question said, “both Ant-Man-movies are really really high in my personal ranking, so I think Ant-Man 3.”

One fan did carp that Ant-Man and the Wasp was “generic as hell,” but that opinion seemed to be in the minority. One gauge of a film’s popularity is when fans start asking about silly leaps of logic, like whether ex-con Scott Lang can afford a house in San Francisco, which has some of the most expensive real estate in the country. 

One of the reasons fans love the series is that the first movie, in particular, is not about saving the world. MCU movies have often been criticized for having no real stakes, but Ant-Man kept the stakes down to earth by being about a father primarily concerned with winning the love of his daughter. As an analysis in Indyweek put it, “It’s the opposite of epic: a goofy, fun sci-fi ride with the spirit of old-school pulp fiction, the kind of adventure you might find in a beat-up copy of Amazing Stories circa 1953.”

Ant-Man 3 is coming

Although the Ant-Man movies exceeded expectations, they were still fairly modest hits for Marvel, so after Phase 3 wrapped, some people wondered if there was a place for Ant-Man in the MCU. There was even speculation the third movie, if it happened at all, would go straight to Disney+. 

News on April 3 made that seem unlikely. The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Ant-Man 3 had found its writer in Jeff Loveness, who has worked on Rick and Morty. He also has some Marvel experience, having written for Spider-Man and Groot for the comics. It is not known when the movie would be released, with Hollywood dormant due to the pandemic, but one thing the virus can’t do is halt script-writing.