Marvel has hit a lot of high points with incredible films like Iron Man, The Avengers, and Guardians of the Galaxy. With at least two new films coming out every year, you would expect for the quality of their films to go downhill right? Right?
Wrong. The newest installment to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Ant-Man, has risen to new heights that I don't believe the other Marvel films have reached yet in terms of making a good superhero movie.
Scott Lang Is a Relatable Character
Instead of a billionaire, a war hero, or a Norse god, Scott Lang is the normal everyday Joe kind of superhero that we've been waiting for in the MCU. When we first are introduced to Lang when he is in prison, fighting other inmates for sport. When he is released, he goes straight to his daughter, and we realize that all he has done has been for her. He cares about her more than anything else, and we see that even his criminal actions had noble intent.
Even after Lang became the Ant-Man, he didn't get delusions of grandeur or anything, he simply went back to his daughter and continued to life a normal life. He didn't buy a mansion and build fancy equipment. He didn't sign up with S.H.I.E.L.D., and he didn't even escape and try to lay low. He simply went about his business, though crime-free this time.
The Action Is Intense and Hilarious
As is true with any superhero film, Ant-Man has quite a bit of action. Instead of the brutal, militaristic action scenes in films like Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, and The Avengers, Ant-Man has simple hero versus villain battle scenes like the classic stories. Instead of the Ravagers versus Ronan's army or the Avengers versus the Chitauri, we get to see Ant-Man fight Yellowjacket, man against man, mono y mono.
A problem with the action scenes in many of the Marvel films is that children make up a large portion of the movie-goers for thee particular films. With all of the Iron Man action figures or foam replicas of Thor's hammer, much of the marketing draws in the younger crowd.
That means the scene where Coulson gets impaled, the scene where Loki chops off one of Thor's hands, and the multiple times that Nick Fury, Black Widow, and Captain America get shot in The Winter Soldier, young children were in the audience watching along with all of us.
Ant-Man handles the battle scenes beautifully, with each intense bout being accented with a witty one-liner or a hilarious run-in with Thomas the Tank Engine. One second you are in awe in the heat of battle, the next second your stomach hurts from laughing so hard. That's how you handle a superhero movie.
It Connects with the Rest of the MCU
Yes, The Winter Soldier name-dropped Tony Stark and Stephen Strange, and yes Loki shape-shifted into Captain America for a few seconds, but in the scene with Falcon in Ant-Man, we truly realize that it truly is a Cinematic Universe. In both Avengers films, all of the various superheroes and heroines had to be brought together, but this is the first time where characters have stumbled upon each other accidentally.
The scene with Falcon perfectly introduced Ant-Man into the MCU to prepare for the Civil War. The MCU is full with many different characters now, and it's about time some of the lesser characters got some more screen-time.
A Quick Word on the Guardians of the Galaxy
You may have noticed that I have barely commented on James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy, and I have done so for a reason. While GotG is widely regarded by many Marvel fans as the best of the MCU, I do not consider it to be a superhero film. Instead of powered heroes fighting devious villains, we have a group of aliens banding together to take down a galactic threat. That sounds more like a space opera along the lines of Star Wars to me. So for the purposes of this article, I am not placing GotG in the superhero category.