“Ant Man”: Big World, Small Tale (Just What the Doctor Ordered)

hmmI saw “Ant-Man” over the weekend, and I had a great time! Naysayers gonna naysay, but I thought it was a lovely, fun film that fits snugly into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, without trying to live up to the other films.

For those who were sad when Edgar Wright left the project (like me), you can rest assured that Edgar Wright’s sense of humor remains. This  includes some scenes that definitely have his signature style on them, such as when Luis tells his stories or the climactic fight scene in the little girl’s room. This pleased me so much, especially when they gave him story credit as well. If you want to see an example of what could’ve been if Wright had remained, I’ll direct your attention to another video from my favorite YouTube channel “Every Frame a Painting,” showing how Wright’s style of directing comedies makes him ultra unique in Hollywood.

Why Ant Man Works…

“Ant-Man” is an origin movie, which was an interesting choice for Marvel to end their Phase 2 of movies. Granted, we have Black Panther, Captain Marvel, and Doctor Strange’s origin films coming up as well, but I still feel that “Ant-Man” works well into the quirkiness of this universe. I will even go so far as to say that I enjoyed this origin film A LOT more than “Thor.”

I appreciated that the story knew that it couldn’t live up to a lot of the MCU films from the start. “Guardians of the Galaxy” was treated the same way, but surprised everyone by emerging as a team film worthy of equalling or surpassing “The Avengers.” But in all this blockbuster, Marvel epicness and fatigue, I felt that “Ant-Man” was a breath of fresh air.

Just like “Guardians of the Galaxy,” this film is funny. And like you did with “Guardians”, you need to go into this film with an open mind. Erase all thoughts and prejudices you may have heard or expectations you have, and you will laugh as heartily as you did when you saw “Guardians” for the first time. To give you an example, you have to go into it knowing that there will be ants who are treated as pets, and pop out of nowhere to help our hero. Suspend that disbelief, and you’ll be golden. My favorite parts are the scenes with Michael Pena and the climactic fight scene. I was almost surprised by how funny this film was. It seems that Edgar Wright has left his name and mark on this film, despite not being in the director’s chair.

I heard through the rumor mill that one reason that Wright may have left the project was because Marvel was demanding some tie-in to the Avengers. I can see why that may have been problematic in the story. Without spoiling too much, Ant-Man comes into contact with the Avengers in some way, and it does sort of feel like it’s shoehorned in. Granted, they went the extra mile and made the scene really funny, but I can see that it wasn’t necessary to the story. This especially goes for the ending, when Scott finds himself again coming into contact with the Avengers through the grapevine, but the scene is too short-lived to make any connection.

…And What DC is Risking

Hoping to capitalize on the superhero team drama is DC, and here’s why I’m super apprehensive about their upcoming movies “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “Suicide Squad.”

To start off, Marvel did it right by giving us the slow burn. It started with Iron Man and they struck gold, so they moved on slowly to another hero; then another and another until the world was finally ready to meet them together as a team, and the flame of fandom burned bright. But what DC is doing is like moving straight from “Iron Man” to “The Avengers,” only without the “Iron Man.”

I dearly hope the scripts for both of these films has something to offer, as jumping into them without any introduction is going to be a turn-off for a lot of viewers. We loved the Avengers because we knew what they were like on their own and wanted to see the sparks when they came together. For these two films, all of the characters are total strangers to us, the movie-goers. Even familiar faces like the Joker, Harley Quinn, Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman are being played differently with different actors at the helm…we have no idea how they’ll act. Who are these people on their own? What are their ambitions?

I have a better feeling about “Batman v Superman” than I do about “Suicide Squad.” I respect Ben Affleck as a dramatic actor, and judging from the trailer he’s going to bring a lot of drama and grit to Superman’s conflict, and I’m lovin’ it. “Suicide Squad” is more the Harley Quinn and Joker show, with some side characters and a healthy dose of Viola Davis. It’s not going to be the anti-Avengers/Justice League we were hoping for, that’s my prediction.

In short, DC is working backwards from Marvel: releasing team movies first, and then going solo with other heroes in their repertoire. Interesting choices, but honestly I’m not too confident about it yet.

Instead, I really wish that “Ant-Man” was released earlier. DC could have learned so much about making small-fry superheroes feel important, allowing the audience to become more invested in them as they grow closer to joining a team. I thought “Ant-Man” was the perfect film to introduce a new hero without seeming out of place, and whose characterization will clearly mesh well with the other Avengers. Also, surprise T.I.? Not bad for a superhero movie.

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