In mere days, the Marvel Cinematic Universe will dominate the conversation again with the U.S. release of Ant-Man and The Wasp, which propels Evangeline Lilly's Hope van Dyne to a co-starring role, and sends the heroes into the Quantum Realm. However, we shouldn't forget the 2015 original, which deserves more attention for its imaginative promotional campaign.
Like those of most superhero films, Ant-Man's promos were chock-full of action and one-liners. But the action-comedy also released on TV spot that broke the mold by depicting Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas standing together in a room, rhythmically snapping their fingers and slapping their bodies like drums. Douglas stares at the camera, twice exclaiming "Ants!" as images of ants flash on screen; Rudd's final declaration of "Ant-Man!" is quickly followed by the film's logo.
Really. That was a promo that Marvel Studios release for a film intended to launch a franchise.
Let's be honest: It's an completely bizarre commercial. It's 15 seconds of what looks like Rudd and Douglas just screwing around and throwing together an impromptu jam session that someone decided to record. As absurd as it is, it's also surprisingly captivating. As one commenter notes, it's something that compels viewers to watch multiple times. No, it demands that you watch it, that you keep clicking and soaking in its lunacy.
For a brief promo with no actual footage from Ant-Man, it does a surprisingly good job of spurring interest in the film. It's difficult to think of any other superhero movie that could get away with something like this; despite all the talk about how different they were from other superhero features, both Deadpool movies stuck with the tried-and-true formula from decades of superhero films. Even the upcoming Teen Titans Go! movie isn't immune to this method. It's only natural that people want commercials that tell them what to expect from a movie, but sometimes it's all right for the marketing departments to shoot for the moon and get a little weird.
Three years later, and this commercial for Ant-Man still feels fresh. Elements from the movie itself haven't aged well, but this promo feels timeless, and something you could always click on for a quick laugh in the middle of the day. Frankly, it's a shame that Lilly and Michelle Pfeiffer don't get a chance to have their own version of this commercial, but with wasps. It's a fascinating piece of work, one that absolutely refuses to be forgotten.
In theaters Friday nationwide, director Peyton Reed's Ant-Man and The Wasp stars Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michelle Pfeiffer, Michael Douglas, Michael Peña, Bobby Canavale, Tip “T.I.” Harris, Judy Greer, David Dastmalchain, Laurence Fishburne, Hannah John-Kamen, Randall Park, and Walton Goggins.