10 Thoughts on… Ant-Man: Great, But Underwhelming (Spoiler-Free)

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1) Ant-Man: A great time yet underwhelming

2) Ant-Man is Marvel’s strangest film yet, somehow surpassing last year’s summer blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxy-home of the talking tree and raccoon- in the weirdness factor. That’s mainly because of the ants and the shrinking and the growing and whatnot.

3) The movie stands on its own from the rest of the MCU- though there are certainly major shout-outs- it overall feels self-contained. Ant-Man is very much a comedic sci-fi heist film rather than Marvel’s usual superhero dramedy. However, it is also mixed up in superhero origin story territory and falls into those tropes.

4) There is no way in hell you can take tiny people running around with an ant army seriously. You can, however, have a lot of fun with it and the writers certainly do- it’s the only thing that prevents this formulaic superhero origin story from being too formulaic.

5) Normal sized guys getting their asses kicked by teen tiny Paul Rudd make for extremely entertaining sequences. Using ants tactically, and fights that take place everywhere from inside a briefcase to a Thomas the Tank Engine train set makes this visually one of Marvel’s best movies.

6) The movie played out exactly as I expected it to. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing- I still really enjoyed myself while it was happening, but it is overall forgettable. For a movie touted as Marvel’s weirdest it really needed one major departure from the norm (such as: Wasp)- other than the ant gimmick- to make it truly unique.

7) Pros: Paul Rudd makes a very likeable Scott Lang, Michael Douglas as Hank Pym with his deadpan delivery is fun to watch, Michael Peña is hilarious with his perfect monologuing, and Corey Stoll as villain is over the top goodness. It is a comedy and when they stick to the wacky scifi heist setup the scenes are golden.

8) Cons: Evangeline Lily-who was great to watch- didn’t have nearly enough to do despite the script going out of its way to show what a badass she is. The movie’s “emotional core” of father-daughter relationships was lacking.

9) The Hank-Hope relationship is sour throughout the film, and they rarely seem like family at all. The Scott-Cassie relationship is bare bones, you get that he loves his daughter, but there isn’t a huge amount of development.

10) What this boils down to: Ant-Man is a perfectly serviceable superhero film and you will have a good time in the theater. In the context of the larger MCU it’s nothing special.

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