Ant-Man and the Wasp buzzes into cinemas imminently and is expected to bring more fast-paced, high-tech, teeny- weeny, insect-sized action. Paul Rudd is back as Ant-Man, and is joined by Evangeline Lilly as Hope van Dyne/Wasp, who shrinks down to bug-sized to fight the superhero fight alongside Scott Lang’s antsy alter ego.
The first film was a blast and it got us thinking about whether there are any other insect-inspired superheroes or villains who should get their big Hollywood moment. Here’s our pick of six who totally deserve their own film — or at the very least get a substantial cameo.
A character from, and of, the 1970s who appeared in the short-lived Hell-Rider series, The Butterfly didn’t mess about with small-time criminals.
The first-ever black female superhero, she first took on a group of masked heroin dealers who were using drug cash to form a fascist army. After that, she took on a white supremacy group called ‘The Brothers of the Crimson Cross‘, which was described as “a gathering of sick, distorted minds such as this country has not witnessed since the Ku Klux Klan’s rule of terror held the South in its deadly grip.”
So, a bit of a big deal then. The Butterfly is Marian Michaels, a cabaret singer by day (or rather, night) who uses a winged costume with a jetpack, and strobe lights to blind her opponents.
We reckon a bit of Hollywood licence could be used to jazz up her weaponry a bit, but both of these adventures would make excellent movies.
The Blue Beetle
Otherwise known as Dan Garrett, the Blue Beetle is a former police officer who grew weary of the slow pace and excessive paperwork of the force and set out on his own.
Under Hollywood terms, there could be a slight issue as he has no powers. But hey, neither does Batman. Or Hawkeye. Or… you get the picture. Instead, he has a gun, which is handy, and a wrist-mounted radio, which we guess he could use to call for help.
That was the Fox version, but actually, a much more badass version appeared for Charlton in the 1960s. This version featured an archaeologist in Egypt, who discovered an ancient Pharaoh’s tomb. The burial chamber held a magical scarab, which gave archaeologist Garrett super strength, the ability to fly and made him able to fire lightning bolts.
By uttering a SuperTed-style magic word, he was able to change into the Blue Beetle, and battle such enemies as Giant Mummy, the Red Knight, Mentor the Magnificent, the equally insect-y Praying Mantis-Man and the Eye of Horus.
Perhaps not a candidate for a solo outing, but this guy is definitely worth a significant cameo. The Grasshopper was a thief who met a somewhat crooked entymologist who gave him a serum made of the leg muscles of grasshoppers. This gave him massive legs, as well as the ability to leap huge distances. A Marvel creation, we think he’d be perfect for an encounter with Spider-Man himself.
Appearing in a number of Captain America comics in the 1980s, The Slug — also known as Ulysses X Lugman — is a typical fatcat. The sort of untouchable supervillain everyone hates, he’s morbidly obese and boasts the bloated face of criminal indulgence.
He’s a mate of Spidey’s old nemesis The Kingpin. His special ability? It’s believed he has mutant powers that stop him from dying due to his significant bulk AND he’s able to wrap his foes in his flab and crush them to death.
An impressively chinned cartoon character of the late 1990s based on the comic-book character of the same name, The Tick is essentially a massive rip on the whole superhero phenomenon. He may have already spawned TV shows but we’d like to see him get a solo movie on the big screen.
The Tick is a character who broke free from a mental institution to become a superhero. The twist? He’s an amnesiac, and can’t remember anything about his life.
We see two possibilities for a Tick movie. One is a hilarious caper based on the cartoon. The other would involve turning him into a brooding, more serious Batman/Wolverine-type as he searches for the truth about his past.
Without fail, Spiderman’s acid-shooting supervillain nemesis was outsmarted by the wall-crawler each and every time their paths crossed.
Hollywood is usually all about the heroes, but why not turn it on its head, and tell the story of the bad guy? After all, Thanos drew plenty of sympathy in Avengers: Infinity War, and he set about annihilating half the population of the universe.
We’ve already seen Mac Gargan, Scorpion’s alter ego, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He appeared in Spider-Man: Homecoming as a would-be customer of Michael Keaton’s weapons dealer Adrian Toomes aka Vulture. And while he looks set to figure prominently in the next Spider-Man film, and perhaps even a Sinister Six spin-off movie, we’d like to spend more one-on-one time with the intriguing bad guy. Mac Gargan was indeed a bad egg, but, interestingly, it wasn’t all his fault — plus we haven’t yet seen his powers on screen.
Gargan’s comic-book backstory goes that he was bullied all his life. In his professional life, he was a private detective hired by J Jonah Jameson to find out Spider-Man’s true identity. To do this, his DNA was spliced with that of a scorpion, a spider’s natural enemy. He tried various methods to change himself back, but was thwarted again and again by Spider-Man.
An origin story based on elements of his comic-book history could just work. And like Thanos, perhaps we’ll find ourselves sympathising with him.
Ant-Man and the Wasp hits screens in Australia on July 5, the US on July 6, and the UK on August 3.