When a distinguished filmmaker produces a passion project, they can result in either self-indulgent nonsense or divisive masterpieces. However one wishes to view these films, it is important to understand the experienced filmmaker had crafted a film in a particular vision and style. It is also generally assumed to allow a filmmaker see it through to the end, notably when they have been directly involved in the screenwriting phase. So when Edgar Wright left Ant-Man two years ago, after working on it with Joe Cornish since 2006, many were unsure of the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (what with films sequentially co-dependent on each other). Moreover, Ant-Man wasn't a favourable character among critics due to Hank Pym's domestic abuse back story. In short, this film should have been an Edgar Wright production under the Marvel umbrella as the numerous rewrites show he had fleshed out this controversial character.

Consequently, Marvel Studios did not budge their release date and brought in comedy filmmaker Peyton Reed (Yes Man, The Break-Up) to complete the film. Ant-Man was released to critical acclaim, which allowed audiences to comfortably return home knowing Marvel had produced another hit from a lesser-known superhero character. Phew, that was close guys.

So, why am I writing this article if everyone's happy? Well, the truth is this film is a dud; I could produce another '5 great issues' article. To highlight my dismay, I shall very briefly summarise: the first act's clunky character introductions, the family conflict in Scott Lang's life is shoehorned (at Marvel's request), the best visual gags are in the trailer (the exchange between Michael Douglas' Pym and Paul Rudd's Lang is done in a simple shot-reverse-shot composition in the final cut, rather than the trailer's tongue-in-cheek dramatic composition), and all character development is forced at the detriment of the film's tone/narrative pacing. These qualms are shared by a number of film critics.

Further bafflement derives from the articles allegedly praising the film - Business Insider UK is a certified fresh article, yet the review bemoans everything except for the action set pieces, the Guardian's top critic dubbed this film as 'patchy', and USA Today also notes 'the title hero comes off too safe'. Fans, journalists, critics across the spectrum have followed the tumultuous production, and have witnessed not-a catastrophe. It appears everyone, following the surprise hit of Guardians of the Galaxy last year, have viewed this film with rose-tinted glasses, and blind optimism.

Why are film fans then viewing Ant-Man with such forgiveness? The answer may reside in the Marvel machine itself; the studio is an underdog story that taken on Hollywood from within. Ant-Man marks 'the 12th consecutive movie to open at no. 1' in the domestic market, a feat which is unparalleled in any capacity; no studio/director/franchise/actor/actress has come close. It is, therefore, less about a worthwhile product and more of a financial success story.

Superhero films were, for the most-part, duds; in the 20th Century, studios didn't really know what to do with them. Yes, there were some successes like Superman, and Tim Burton's Batman, but these were the exceptions. Many superhero fans had to endure Spawn, Steel, and The Phantom. However, come the 21st Century, following the success of the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings franchises, studios began to see potential. Moreover, X-Men and Spiderman proved that with care, and understanding of the source material, superhero films could produce critical and financial success. As the 2000s progressed, mature superhero films like Batman Begins and The Watchmen signalled a new era to the genre. Then came the 'Multi-verse', and this decade is coming define a new era of the filmmaking process. Not since the studio moguls of the early 20th Century has there been a conveyor-belt style to cinematic production. As a consequence of this business model, the product is at the detriment to genuine quality, and the recent critical reception to Ant-Man is evident. Ant-Man is emblematic of spectators wanting a film to be good, of wanting Marvel to remain a success story, and of comfort in an uncertain and troubled world. (It is not a coincidence that the Marvel success story began alongside the late 2000s recession.)

Ant-Man is a turd, and the desire to keep Marvel's winning streak is clouding many people's judgement. Marvel studios and the superhero genre have come a long way, and it appears regardless of what the finished product is, people are invested in viewing the success of this once-underdog.