Ant-Man, Guardians of the Galaxy: Marvel movie universe-building

Somebody asked me the other day if I planned to go see “The Amazing Spider-Man” next and I said, “Yeah, probably.” Right up until the time I saw Sam Raimi’s lackluster “Spider-Man 3” in 2007, my answer would have been much more emphatically positive about the cinematic adventures of the wall-crawling webslinger. The final Raimi film kind of burned me out on the character.

And the idea of rebooting “Spider-Man” yet again, with another origin story, no matter how overstuffed with a “mystery” about Peter Parker’s parents it might feature, makes me suddenly very, very tired.

So I have to say that while I’m sure I’ll see “The Amazing Spider-Man,” I’m not excited about it.

That’s also because I’ve been spoiled, frankly, by Marvel’s universe-building big-screen efforts.

The movie versions of “Fantastic Four” and “X-Men” are owned by Fox and “Spider-Man” is owned by Sony. That means that despite brief teases to the possibility of a cross-over like we heard earlier this year, those movie universes won’t mix with Marvel Films-owned and operated properties like “Iron Man,” “Thor,” “Captain America” and “The Avengers.”

So while I’m looking forward to “The Amazing Spider-Man” and “The Dark Knight Rises,” I’m more excited to see where Marvel goes next with its universe-building efforts.

Rumors circulated in the past couple of days that the long-rumored “Ant-Man” character might end up in “Iron Man 3,” which comes out next May. I’m not sure how some people are authoritatively saying this when so much time remains for last-minute changes, but … well, it would be quite cool to see one of the original Avengers – not to mention his partner, Wasp – finally make the big screen.

Today online sites were lit up with suggestions, primarily drawn from Latino Review, that Marvel is going to release a “Guardians of the Galaxy” movie in 2014. Despite the fact that the characters are little-known outside of comics fandom – they’re even more obscure than “Iron Man” was before 2008 – the diverse group of cosmic adventurers would make for a huge expansion for the Marvel universe.

And as many online sources noted, the “Guardians” also makes sense because one of their regular antagonists is cosmic bad guy Thanos, who appeared in the mid-credits teaser at the end of “The Avengers.”

While my lifelong appreciation of “The Avengers” doesn’t necessarily carry over to “Guardians of the Galaxy” – I’m just not as familiar with them – I would be happy to see Marvel’s movies continue to expand the Marvel cinematic universe.

And I’ll dream of the day when Spidey will bump into Captain America and Iron Man during battle in the streets of New York.


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