This one took everybody by surprise with how good it was, especially after it’s wacky production history. Let’s see how the numbers stack up!
Overview: Scott Lang is an ex-con desperate to get his life back together so he can be more active in his daughter’s life, but when he tries robbing the house of Hank Pym, he discovers the Ant-Man suit and ends up being recruited to stop a wealthy businessman from gaining the suit’s secrets.
This one’s a pretty standard collection of training montages, snappy humor, and heroic redemption, but it gets a higher score for its weird sense of humor (that was no doubt a carryover from Edgar Wright’s involvement early on). Especially Cassie. She’s so weird and sassy and adorable! I heart Luis and his rambly stories, too, but Cassie is just such a wonderfully written character. I ADORE her reaction to the creepy bunny she gets. “He’s so ugly! I love him!”
I did take a point off for its, “We can’t introduce the Wasp yet because this is the man’s movie and you have to wait for the Wasp to show up in later films” subplot. Not cool, Hollywood.
I’m a huge fan of the shrunken photography style of Scott’s mini-man adventures. Also, the ants are adorable! I’m not a fan of bugs in real life, but these ants are alright. Any movie that can make you cry when an ant dies heroically is doing something right.
The Villain: 7/10
Darren Cross is OK. He’s not a boring villain, but he’s got the pretty basic grab bag of motivations. He doesn’t go full moustache twirler, which is fine, I guess, but still, I wish he’d had some sort of likable qualities. Douchey businessmen make great villains, but I wish Yellowjacket had been given a bit more oomph. He feels more dangerous early on when he’s zapping his opponents with the shrinky-goo-blob gun than he does when he goes full costume.
There really aren’t that many explosions in this one. But when they are used, they’re done so pretty effectively.
Count: Like, 3?
Favorite explosion: totes when Cross’ lab blows up.
The Hero’s Journey: 8/10
Scott is totally a hero you can root for. He’s a good guy with a Robin Hood complex. He’s brash, but clever, and his daughter is his entire motivation. I also like that we get to see him as a victim, but not as a passive victim. His meeting with Hank Pym allows him to take charge of his life and find a new purpose. And later on, when he gets recruited into the Avengers, he finds a stable place in the world, which is awesome.
I REALLY wish the Wasp had been more than a historical footnote and a teaser in the end credits. It would have been awesome to see Scott standing up for Hope and convincing Hank to let her don her own suit. Then she could have trained him as the Wasp and the two heroes could have teamed up to save the day. It wouldn’t really have drawn focus from the main story since Cross’ main beef is with Hank, not Scott. Scott is just the weapon Hank throws at him. But Hope is Hank’s daughter, and would have had more of an emotional connection with Cross’s vendetta. PLUS! There would have been a great moment where Hope could have saved Scott who had gotten himself into a damselly moment.
It feels like a missed opportunity. I know the two will team up in their next film, but still…
I LOVE Falcon’s cameo, obviously, and I love how it ties into Civil War later on. I also like that it solidifies Falcon as a legit Avenger instead of a henchman. He’s basically one of my favorites.
Alright, let’s see how it did.
Score and Rank
1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (46/50)
2. The Avengers (45/50)
3. Iron Man (43/50)
4. Iron Man 3 (42/50)
5. Guardians of the Galaxy (41/50)
6. Captain America: The First Avenger (40/50)
7. Thor (39/50)
8. Avengers: Age of Ultron (39/50)
9. Ant-Man (38/50) I’m legitimately sad this one ended up so far down here. It’s legitimately a lot of fun. Sigh…
10. Thor: The Dark World (36/50)
11. The Incredible Hulk (34/50)
12. Iron Man 2 (33/50)