We’re only a week into 2015 and we’ve seen Paul Rudd ride a flying ant and Hayley Atwell kick ass as Agent Carter. It’s going to be a cool year.

Ant-Man has faced a ton of negative press over the past year; fanboys were oozing with goodwill until Edgar Wright suddenly left the project. The long, public director search that followed may forever stain the production, and even if the film manages to be the next Guardians of the Galaxy, we’ll always be left wondering what Wright’s vision would have been.

Marvel is looking to put the bad press behind them and move full steam ahead toward the film’s July 17th release, and have kicked the marketing up a notch this week. The studio is employing clever marketing for the film, and have resorted to playing around with the size-changing hero’s cheesy premise in both poster and video form. The first trailer debuted on Tuesday night, and offered a more serious glimpse at the film than we were expecting. This isn’t a dealbreaker, per se, but I noticed a lot of negative and even apathetic responses to the footage. Check it out here:

I personally dug it, and am happy to see that Marvel is continuing to inject their films with some human emotions and seriousness, something that was missing from earlier fare like Iron Man 2 and Thor: The Dark World. So far, Ant-Man is resembling Captain America: The Winter Soldier more than Guardians of the Galaxy. I’m sure the film will be full of humor (it’s directed by Down with Love and Bring it On helmer Peyton Reed, stars Paul Rudd, and was partially written by Anchorman director Adam McKay), but the fact that the studio is placing the characters first and the jokes second is encouraging.

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Ant-Man may have left some viewers cold, but the other new Marvel release today was the first two episodes of Agent Carter. The series has received a ton of praise, and rightfully so. It’s awesome. In fact, it’s already become one of my favorite things to come out of the Marvel machine – second only to Guardians of the Galaxy. 

I reviewed Agent Carter for We Got This Covered, and had to keep my enthusiasm about the new eight-part series in check. Hayley Atwell, who has long been one of the shining stars in the MCU, reprises her role as the titular SSR Agent and former love interest of Captain America. She shines as the series’ star and easily holds the show on her very capable shoulders. On top of that, it’s got a fun 1940s aesthetic and strong supporting cast, and immediately justifies its place in the ever-expanding Marvel cinematic universe.

It may be too early to make this claim, but Marvel is already winning 2015. I’ve always been more of a DC guy, and haven’t hidden my reservations about many of Marvel’s films. Yet, nearing the end of Phase Two of their ludicrously ambitious plan, the studio is hitting its stride and winning me over. That’s not an easy thing to do. I may not be 100% on board with Avengers: Age of Ultron yet, but if Ant-Man and Agent Carter are the only Marvel things I love this year, I’ll be happy.

 

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