Ant-Man: One More Score for Marvel Studios

Lots of us had our doubts about Ant-Man. He’s a decidedly second-tier character with complicated origins, and Marvel seemed to have some difficulty filling the director’s chair. Was Ant-Man going to give Marvel Studios its first flop? It turns out that Marvel managed to pull off another score with Ant-Man.

Sure, the movie has its faults. The writers contradict their own supposed science a few times, and the plot recycles too many elements from Iron Man (2008). Even so, Paul Rudd’s amusing depiction of Scott Lang carries this movie that gently mocks the super-hero clichés we’ve come to expect in this kind of film.

If you’re tired of super-hero blockbusters, you might still want to give Ant-Man a chance since Ant-Man is really a heist movie. Try forgetting that Ant-Man was originally a comic book character, and instead enjoy this movie for what it truly is, a movie about a likeable rogue who needs to steal something.

Some people might complain that since Scott Lang has a superpower it’s a super-hero movie. True, he can shrink to the size of an insect, and this adds a new twist to the typical heist. But twists aren’t new; other heist movies, for example Inception, have added incredibly fantastical elements.

Ant-Man contains most of the elements from classic heist films. The likeable rogue finds himself in a spot of trouble. He thinks he can get out of trouble by pulling one last job. Unfortunately, the job requires overcoming an insane security system, so our protagonist assembles a crew of colorful misfits to help him. In this case, some members of the crew happen to be ants. Things go more or less according to plan, until they get all twisted up in the third act.

In Ant-Man the twist isn’t the typical double-cross; rather the movie switches genres and becomes a super-hero film. Super-hero movies must include a super-powered fistfight. In Ant-Man the super-powered fistfight replaces the traditional third act of the heist movie. Marvel also includes the symbolic death-and-resurrection scene that seems to have been worked in to every super-hero’s origin story since Iron Man in 2008.

Though Ant-Man has its flaws, Marvel Studios has done a credible job creating a heist film under the umbrella of its super-hero franchise. Actually Marvel Studios has given audiences a commendable amount of variety within the confines of their cinematic universe. In the spring of 2014, they offered audiences Captain America: Winter Soldier, which if one overlooks the red, white, and blue costume isn’t really a super-hero movie at all. It’s more of an espionage thriller, and a very good one at that. Winter Soldier only bogs down during the obligatory scenes that set up future installments.

After Winter Soldier, Marvel gave us Guardians of the Galaxy, which doesn’t feature a single super hero. The movie is a spectacularly entertaining sci-fi comedy, and it’s also worth noting that the comic book that inspired the movie wasn’t a particularly popular one. Hardly anyone had heard of these characters before the film’s release.

In 2016, we’re going to get Doctor Strange, which probably won’t be a typical super-hero movie either. It’s very likely that this film starring Benedict Cumberbatch will veer into the genre of supernatural thriller. I’m interested to see how far Marvel pushes the scary with this one.

So take heart, even if you’re not a fan of super-hero movies. Marvel Studios is offering some variety, and most of it—Ant-Man is no exception—has tended to be of above-average quality.

My advice is that if you’re looking for an entertaining super-hero movie, go see Ant-Man. However, if you’d really rather see a light-hearted summer heist, go see Ant-Man. If you don’t like super heroes or heists, there’s no help for you.

2 responses to “Ant-Man: One More Score for Marvel Studios”

  1. I have to admit I was skeptical. I thought it would be a “honey I shrunk the kids kind of thing” and I could not imagine ant man as a marvel caliber super hero. But darn if they didn’t pull it off! I think he could hold his own with the rest of the avengers. What say you?

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