Ant-Man is the summer superhero movie we've been waiting for...you know, after game changers like Christopher Reeve as Superman, Tim Burton's Batman movies, ground-breaking small films like Deadman, Blade and the Hellboy movies, the first X-Men, Raimi's (first two) Spider-Man movies, the first Iron Man, Whedon's first Avengers, the out-of-left-field joy of Guardians of the Galaxy...okay, it's a great day to be a geek, all right?
Even so, I had my reservations about this film, and I'm glad to discover I was wrong. Ant-Man serves as a bridge between Phase 2's Age of Ultron, leading into Civil War, so the movie, as an integral part of the Marvel franchise, had to be made and had to provide particular details to further the meta-narrative leading us toward a cosmic battle with Thanos. With the continued success of Marvel movies and the puzzle piece this movie offers fans, the studio could have been forgiven for "dialing it in" as so many Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episodes have done.
But they did not, despite whatever post-Edgar Wright fears we fans may have harbored about the end result.
But forgiven they should have been, otherwise: for too long, the summer blockbuster has coasted on franchise favorites to sell tickets and CGI overload to deliver the goods (the Transformers movies, the Sony reboot of Spider-Man, the Iron Man and Thor sequels, etc. ...)
In this case, I think choosing to bring a relatively unknown character to the screen helped the movie's prospects. In fact, those of us who know Ant Man don't particularly like him (especially the Ultimates Hank Pym, he's a misogynist dick). In order to sell this movie beyond the lazy acceptance that tickets will be sold even if the movie sucks, Marvel understood the movie needed a good story.
Finally...not that it hasn't been done before, of course, as I mentioned above...but finally, we have a minor super hero no one particularly wants to see on the big screen given the CGI treatment for summer blockbuster fun, all on the solid foundation of a good, entertaining story.
Story before FX. What a novel notion.
This little movie could have a big impact...we geeks should be so lucky!
Jamie A. Duncan is author of forthcoming fantasy series Fire of Norea.