The Comic Con Experience is happening now in Sao Paolo, Brazil. It’s a massive fan event that throws even San Diego Comic Con in the shade. In 2019, Comic Con attracted 135,000 people, while in the same year, CCXP drew 280,000. So CCXP has become a major pitstop for people hawking their nerd wares in entertainment. Yesterday, Marvel held their panel, and they released new trailers for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Let’s start with Former SMA Paul Rudd, who now has a legacy trailer all his own in the MCU.
To date, I enjoy the Ant-Man movies mostly for being fun little adventures that don’t have a lot to do with the wider MCU. But Quantumania is thoroughly steeped in what’s coming in Phase 5—which this film kicks off in February—and I don’t know about subjecting cute lil Scottie Lang to this big damn hero treatment. He’s fun because he ISN’T the big damn hero (that’s what makes him coming up with the time heist in Endgame work so well, it’s the brain child of the class clown, not overachiever Tony Stark or teacher’s pet Steve Rogers, it’s a fun reversal of expectations). But he’s got to do the work of bringing Kang the Conqueror into the MCU, for real this time.
To that end, Marvel absolutely KNOWS what they have in Jonathan Majors. Not just that they’ve got a great actor playing their next big villain, but that they caught Majors just as he’s breaking out into mainstream awareness, that he’ll be a defining presence in American cinema in the years to come, and he’ll be inextricably linked to Marvel at the same time. After The Last Black Man in San Francisco, Majors had a lot of eyes on him, he was always going to break out coming off that film. But Marvel got in on the ground floor, and you can almost feel them gloating, the way they set up his emergence in this trailer. They know how huge it is to have Majors on board. And yeah, Ant-Man is going to get his ass kicked. I don’t even need to see them fight, Kang looks like he could step on Scott and not blink twice.
As for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, it looks like an appropriately epic swan song. Gamora is back—though it sounds like Zoe Saldaña is ready to move on—Rocket has a little otter friend, the Guardians are getting their groove back after the snap. All seems fine. I am very interested to see how James Gunn wraps up this trilogy, because emotionally, the Guardians films have been the most consistently and rewarding subset in the MCU, but at the same time, I sort of only care about Drax, Mantis, and Rocket anymore. I don’t really care what happens to Peter Quill and Gamora. And Endgame served Nebula so well, I wonder where Gunn can even take her character now, or if he just leaves her be and focuses on others in the ensemble.
Speaking of the ensemble, we get to see Chukwudi Iwuji as the High Evolutionary, and Will Poulter as Adam Warlock, a fan-favorite character from the comics. I’m going to be frank, I don’t care for this Adam Warlock look. I hope this is not permanent, and we get something more fun and interesting somewhere down the line. He’s got a lot of silly fits in the comics, there’s a lot of room to play here. I suspect 2023 will be something a reset for Marvel, after the aimlessness of Phase 4 over the last couple years, but rather than selling me on this “everything is so epic” tone, I wish they’d just bring back the fun. People will forgive a lot of messiness if they’re just having fun with this stuff.
Attached - Zoe Saldana and Jonathan Majors in Brazil this week and Bradley Cooper seen yesterday in New York.