Over the weekend, the final movie of Phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe came out, Ant-Man. While there's been a plethora of reviews that have come out that have been overly positive for the film, which many people were thinking was going to be Marvel's first "flop," there's one thing people aren't discussing, and that's the fact Ant-Man, as a movie, is two hours of insanity.
While still sticking with the Marvel formula of film-making, Ant-Man actually breaks away from the pack by delivering something very different from what we've seen in the past few years, much like how James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy embraced humor to get people excited about super-heroes in space, Ant-Man uses humor to bring a character that never should have made it to the big screen to life.
What makes this film so different from the rest of Marvel's films? We're breaking down a few of the highlights of Ant-Man that made it one of the weirdest and most interesting MCU films we've seen in quite some time.
Warning: There's minor spoilers for the film here. We're not giving away the end credit scenes but we are getting into some specific elements of the film as a whole.
It's a Heist Film, Not a Super-hero Film
Ant-Man is the Ocean's Eleven of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While there is an element of the film where the hero has to stop the bad guy before he somehow ends up destroying the world through his own nefarious means, this movie is really about a guy who steals a suit that is hired to steal another suit.
The majority of the film revolves around training, which in turn is actually planning for the big heist, set for the third act. It's an origin film with a twist to it, and frankly, it's a breath of fresh air. While Ant-Man wasn't the strongest of Marvel's films, the formula can feel stale at times, so adding a bit of a genre mix to it makes it a stronger film, much in the same way Captain America: The Winter Soldier is one of the top dogs because it's just as much an espionage film.
Alongside the heist is more of an ensemble cast that each play their important role within the film. As much as this film is about Scott Lang trying to redeem himself in the eyes of his daughter, it's also about a group of people using their specific set of skills to achieve a larger objective, which is a great part of many, but not all, heist films.
Hank Pym is a Mad Scientist
There's one thing we're not seeing a lot of people talk about, when it comes to Ant-Man and that's the fact that Hank Pym is downright insane and obsessive. On the surface, much like Scott Lang's journey, Hank's story is about redeeming himself in the eye's of his daughter. However, there's a lot more to this character...
Hank Pym has created a suit that enables a user to shrink. He's created some cool technology alongside it and he's even created shrinking suits that can fly. So why does Hank Pym need all these ants? Because Hank Pym has lost his mind. Think about every scene in this movie. There's ants, everywhere. Hank Pym has ants in his house, in his basement, in his yards, and possibly ants in his pants. Joking aside, why?
Why would Hank Pym want to control flying ants if he already has the tech which can fly Ant-Man around? There is mention, a few times throughout the film, that Pym Particles mess up your brain chemistry. Because Hank wore the suit for so long and was around the particles so much, he's gone a bit wacky. His obsession with ants has taken over his life and he's really into trying to pass on that obsession to Scott. Hank becomes incredibly intriguing as the movie progresses and something the audience cannot take their eye off of as he walks the line between genius and mad scientist.
Luis, Scott's Cell-Mate/Wine-Lover
A staple for Marvel's films has been the comedic side of it all. Yes, the idea of super-heroes flying around the world, in crazy suits, fighting bad guys in equally crazy suits is a wacky idea, but Marvel really has a great tongue-in-cheek approach to it all by adding quick one-liners here and there, which creates a great connection between the audience and the film.
Ant-Man went almost to the point of over-the-top with the comedy but while the juxtaposing giant battles in a small world seemed to be the comedic highlight of the film, the real star of the show was Michael Peña, who played Luis, Scott Lang's closest friend and ex-cellmate in prison.
Luis, who went to jail for stealing two smoothie machines, is the heart of the film. He's the character that keeps scenes moving and he's a actually a complex character that isn't just a comedic relief... from the comedic film. At first, he comes off like an idiotic ex-con who seems like someone who would never be friends with Scott. However, as the movie progresses, he becomes an integral part of this team as he's incredibly intelligent, cultured, but just a tad socially awkward. Every moment with him is memorable, but none more memorable than the time Luis told Scott about his friend who knows a guy, who knows a guy, who knows a girl, who cleans this place, that has a safe.
After seeing this film with a group of friends, every single one of us said "When does Luis get a solo film?" Marvel, get on that.
Marvel's First Mid-Level Hero
The Avengers take on the largest threats on Earth and beat it down with the assembled justice. They are the only people that can handle those sorts of problems. On the flip side, Daredevil takes on the low-level thugs. Ant-Man isn't on the Avengers level (although he'll be in the thick of it in Captain America: Civil War) and he's above Daredevil's level, so where does he fit in?
With the introduction of Ant-Man comes a whole new level of superhero, one that isn't front page of the paper, but also one that isn't beating down petty-thieves. Ant-Man is truly Marvel's first mid-level hero. Phase three of Marvel could introduce more heroes of this level with maybe Doctor Strange, Captain Marvel, and Black Panther, but that's just speculation. More than likely these may be Avengers level heroes.
Ant-Man and his crew are more taking down corporate felons more than anything else. They stop the problem before it really even starts, but these problems tend to be on a much smaller scale, not pun intended.... actually, yes, pun intended. That's what sets it apart from the rest of the Marvel films. It has nothing to do with super-power sets but merely the threats he's taking on. Sure, Hawkeye and Black Widow are powerless heroes, but they're taking on Ultron. Ant-Man is taking on a crazy Darren Cross while riding a train set. There's a big difference there and something we haven't seen in Marvel yet.
Those are some of our favorite things about the recent Ant-Man film. If you saw it let us know what you thought and what your favorite moments are.