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Saturday, July 18, 2015

How Ant-Man Gave Me Hope for the Future

As Marvel's bigger hero's and their big screen careers slowly wind to a close, Marvel must turn to their lesser known characters to pick up the torch and continue the ridiculously huge cash cow that has been sucking viewers' wallets dry for the last 10 years or so. So far, Marvel's foray into the movie industry has been nothing but exceptional. Both Avengers movies have been superb and each of those characters movie's have been equally as fantastic. But now that those characters are coming close to the completion of their own respective trilogies and the final Avengers movie is coming, Marvel is clearly not keen on giving up the regular installments in their film franchises.

The problem is, once we get away from the popular characters like Captain America and Iron Man, we dive head first into the characters that only the bigger fanboys know really anything about. Ant-Man is the first of those movies. When I first heard that they were making an Ant-Man movie I could not have been more skeptical. Seriously, Ant-Man is, in my personal opinion, is one of the lamest superheroes ever. Sure, there are worse, but not many. I mean, he's just some dude that can make himself small and control ants. Weak. When I found out that Paul Rudd would not be taking up the mantle of Hank Pym (who is Ant-Man in the comics, for those of you who don't know), I was even less interested in seeing the movie.

But see it I did. And, I have to say, I was more than pleasantly surprised. It was a kind of reboot. Not fully, but somewhat. Rudd plays Scott Lang, a mechanically brilliant theif who is taken under the wing of the aging Hank Pym (Kirk Douglas) to become the new Ant-Man. I won't go too much into the plot to avoid spoilers, but the way they re-crafted the story but kept the classic characters in play was nothing short of brilliant. It didn't abandon its roots while it moved the character into the future and that was perfect. I think what I liked most about Paul Rudd's Ant-Man was the fact that he wasn't some idealistic do-gooder that wanted to rid the world of evil. He was just some guy that had a rotten string of luck and wanted to do right by his daughter. It made him vastly more relateable as a character and, thus, more fun to watch.

The cast was excellent. I'm a die hard Paul Rudd fan. Ever since his role as Mike Hannigan in Friends, so he can pretty much do no wrong in my eyes. His performance was spot on with all the trademark Paul Rudd humor. His quasi-sidekick Luis was a classic comic relief character that was just fun to watch. Corey Stoll nailed it as the villain, proving he can be an unlikely hero (watch The Strain on FX) and an absolute dickhead of a bastard. Ant-Man also had my personal favorite Stan Lee cameo, mostly because of the context of which he pops up.

So, as the title of this post suggests, when I walked out of the theater last night quite pleased with what I'd seen, I had a renewed hope in Marvel's future in the film industry. When I see the lineup of all the characters who will be getting their own movies in the next several years, a lot of which should never really make it to the big screen for one reason or another, I now feel like maybe even the weakest characters will be able to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and make a really entertaining movie. I can only hope that they keep up their stellar track record of making their characters both loveable and amazing as they have in the past. The more obscure the characters get, the more they have an opportunity to recreate those characters like they did with Ant-Man.

It will certainly make a great next five years or so at the movie theater. 

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