“Ant-Man” Is the Freshest Marvel Experience Since “Guardians of the Galaxy”

Marvel finishes Phase 2 with a bang.

While Ant-Man might hold the dubious record of owning Marvel’s lowest opening weekend box office numbers since 2008’s The Incredible Hulk, I think most people who saw it would be inclined to believe the movie exceeds all expectations and delivers the freshest Marvel experience since Guardians of the Galaxy.

Two of the biggest strengths here are the humor and the beautifully choreographed action sequences. Hindsight is of great benefit to us, but we should have known from the beginning how the casting of Paul Rudd as main character Scott Lang would impact the overall tone of the movie.

He is already the most genuinely likable superhero in both Marvel and DC – a slightly awkward, down-to-earth guy with a keen sense of humor and a cute relationship with his adorable daughter.

Rudd is also credited as one of the screenwriters, and it seems like his presence was one of the reasons why Bobby Cannavale, who portrays Lang’s daughter’s step-dad, said the filming process was like an independent film with room for improvisation.

As for other supporting cast members, Michael Peña provides a large number of laughs as Lang’s former cellmate and a member of his heist team, including two “tip montages” you’ll have to see for yourself for maximum effect. Rapper T.I. gets in on the fun with some good lines as well and it’s his second film appearance to make me chuckle, with the first being his cameo in Entourage.

The most important part about the humor in this movie is that, as far as I can remember, most of the action sequences are very serious until the end when Ant-Man and his adversary fight on a train set – and even then, the humor is limited to “hey look how dramatic the fight looks when we zoom in so it looks like Ant-Man and the bad guy haven’t shrunk, but then look how silly it looks when we zoom out and it’s just two tiny figures duking it out on a toy train set!”

Humor during the most inappropriate moments was an absolute killer in Avengers: Age of Ultron so it was good to see some restraint here; I was worried Marvel was starting to get a little too relaxed when the premise of their movies involves saving the world from heinous villains at the cost of thousands of civilian lives.

In any case, the action was great too and Ant-Man’s ability to shrink and grow at will provided some of the most creative fight scenes not only in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, but on a general level. Also, Evangeline Lilly was amazing (she’s my future bae), as was Michael Douglas – it’s pretty incredible to think of Wall Street and Basic Instinct and then see Douglas here. But to be fair, he punches the shit out of two people, so that was fun.

Corey Stoll as the main bad guy was an okay villain – I thought he was a little too hammy, although his costume was pretty dope.

All in all, Ant-Man was surprisingly good and it would be a shame if this is the one Marvel movie you skip. By all means, do what you will, but this might be the last genuinely interesting cog in Marvel’s never-ending machine.

And it might be the last time someone as innocuous as Paul Rudd rises up to the occasion and saves the world.

Also: Evangeline Lilly, if you see this, you are the best.

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