Published on March 27th, 2018 | by Lauren Bycroft0
Road to Infinity War: Ant-Man
Ant-Man is an MCU film with a different kind of energy. While Guardians of the Galaxy tackled the comic, offbeat terrain first, Ant-Man is smaller and more intimate. It’s a story of fathers and daughters that does not end with the stereotypical superhero fight to save the city, world, or universe. In that final battle between Ant-Man and Yellowjacket it’s all about saving Scott’s daughter Cassie – being a father who is there for his daughter in the most literal sense. While many if not all of the MCU’s films have dealt with family drama, personal demons, and the like, Ant-Man feels a bit like the first to really get entrenched in more day to day family issues and it’s a nice change of pace.
Additionally, this is the first time we see a mantle passed on to the next generation. In the comics our beloved superheroes are inhabited by different people all the time. See Jane Foster becoming Thor, Sam Wilson (Falcon) taking on the title of Captain America, or Miles Morales as the new Spider-Man to name just a few. This is something that MCU fans will likely have to face in the wake of Infinity War as a handful of the Avengers, at the end of their contractual obligations, move on and make way for a new Cap, Thor, or Iron Man. But Ant-Man is the first time we really see the legacy handed down to a new hero. And what a legacy it is. The very nature of Ant-Man’s powers makes his combat some of the most invigorating in the MCU. He moves in a way the other Avengers simply cannot.
But this also brings to light a major weakness in the film, holding back Hope Van Dyne – the extremely capable and clearly only real choice to don the Ant-Man suit. Yes, Hope and Hank’s relationship is a major facet of the film, signaling what could become of Scott and Cassie down the road, but it’s cliché in its execution. The movie should really be about Hope stealing the suit for herself and saving the day. It’s very frustrating to witness. The film’s mid-credit sting unveiling the Wasp costume and presenting it to Hope feels like an attempt to excuse the marginalization of Van Dyne but can’t retroactively reframe everything that’s come before it. The best we can do is get excited to see her share billing with Lang in Ant-Man and the Wasp.
Ant-Man is really at its best when its leaning into the things that make it different from other MCU films namely Michael Peña and its heists. The film is electric when Scott or Ant-Man and his team are pulling off a robbery at Pym’s home, infiltrating Pym Technologies or when Luis is speaking. The score also stands apart from the more traditional superhero music of previous Marvel films. It has a more bombastic, retro adventure vibe and it only serves to heighten the film’s playful, comedic elements. It’s one of those contradictory films that are both original and familiar. It lacks the confidence of James Gunn’s Guardians and it’s hard not to wonder – without any disrespect to Peyton Reed who has the unenviable task of inheriting a film that did not start as his vision – what might have been had Edgar Wright been able to see things through.