Every time I hear somebody mention Ant-Man, I think, ‘That’s right! Ant-Man is a thing!” It’s shameful, I’ll admit, for a person as wrapped up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as I am to forget entirely (and continually) about one of their releases. Especially one starring an actor I like as much as Paul Rudd. Especially, especially one that’s less than two months from hitting theaters. But I do. I forget about it. With all the excitement surrounding Avengers: Age of Ultron and Civil War and the Spider-Man deal between Sony and Marvel, Ant-Man has slipped through the cracks.
But no more! With the release of a new trailer this week, I’ve vowed to pay Ant-Man the respect and attention (that I hope) it deserves. In that spirit, I want to give said new trailer a closer look and see what there is that’s worth seeing.
Let me start by confessing that, although I’ve come across Ant-Man in a number of Avengers comics, most memorably those connected to the Age of Ultron run, I’m unquestionably an Ant-Man neophyte. In fact, I almost didn’t write this post at all, because I worried that somebody with so little knowledge about the character (especially the non-Hank Pym versions) wouldn’t be able to offer the insight any die-hard Ant-Man fans might be interested in (If you’re thinking, “There aren’t any die-hard Ant-Man fans,” then hi, welcome to the internet, I hope you enjoy your stay). But then I realized that I just was actually just the person for the job. Why? Because I’d be willing to bet that the vast majority of the butts in seats at theaters showing Ant-Man this summer will be just as green as I am when it comes to the character. I’m seeing this trailer through the same eyes as most people who will eventually see the movie, and there’s some value in that.
So let’s (finally) get to it.
Whew. The first Ant-Man trailer was extra heavy on the “Fulfill your DESTINY!” epic heroism stuff, but lighter in the humor department, which was kind of surprising considering Paul Rudd’s presence (why waste a strong comedic talent) and Marvel’s general approach to comic relief (they tend to actually have it in their movies). We get another joke about the name, but we also get a pretty decent one-liner exchange between Rudd’s Scott Lang and Michael Douglas’ Hank Pym, a good ol’ fashioned sucker-punch courtesy of Evangeline Lilly, and a visual gag wherein a Thomas the Tank Engine crashes into Corey Stoll’s Yellowjacket in the middle of a fight. I remember seeing the first trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy (another property I had next to no familiarity with) and thinking that if the movie could get the blend of comedy and action just right, it had a chance to be pretty good, weird as it all seemed at the time. Ant-Man is in the same boat. Of course, Guardians wowed me (and a bajillion other people) in large part because it nailed that combination. And though I’m sure that a great many people will balk at a movie titled Ant-Man, this trailer gave me reason to believe that Peyton Reed (with help from Adam McKay’s script) might pull off an overachievement of considerable proportions.
Another lingering question about Ant-Man, namely, are the action sequences involving a miniaturized hero going to translate on screen, was answered pretty definitively by the trailer. I mean, how about that gun barrel flip-and-sprint! Yeah, the action sequences looked pretty awesome, and part of the reason why is that the suit’s functionality was illustrated clearly enough that even somebody unfamiliar with the way Ant-Man might throw down got a solid sense of how the powers granted to him by the suit make him (A) formidable as a hero and (B) interesting in relation to all the other, more well-known heroes in the MCU. The shots with the ants were particularly well done and offered a sense of scope that had been missing until now.
Also, we got a sense of the suit’s role in the movie’s primary conflict. And while seeing some glimpses of the action between Ant-Man and Yellowjacket’s competing suits, I’m a little worried that this aspect of the storyline follows too closely to Iron Man, where Obadiah Stane (greedy corporate type) wanted to weaponize the tech developed by Tony Stark (reformed heroic type) for his Iron Man armor. Cue conflict, mayhem, destruction, etc. It’s possible, of course, that there’s more to the story than the trailer (I would hope this is always the case), but it’s at least worth watching going forward.
I said before that I’ve often forgotten about Ant-Man, but this trailer has revived my anticipation in a way I wasn’t sure was possible. It really looks like the movie has a chance to bring something different to the MCU (especially with some of the effects and action sequences). There’s no question that Age of Ultron and Civil War are the main attractions over the next year, but I’m done underestimating Ant-Man.
One line, spoken by Hank Pym early in the trailer, really stuck out to me. At about the :24 mark, he says, “You give godlike powers to everyone, it’s gonna be chaos.” Obviously, the line pertains to the plot points hinted at in the trailer involving the militarization of ant-suits. But Kevin Feige, grand designer of the MCU, recently said in an interview that the events of Ant-Man will be the bridge between Age of Ultron and Civil War. And Civil War centers around the debate over superheroes being forced to register with the government, so maybe the line is a tiny hint about where Ant-Man’s loyalties lie?
All right July 17th, you can go ahead and get here now.
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