Welcome back kiddos! I haven’t done one of these posts since Agents of SHIELD left us for summer vacation. Luckily, Marvel gave unto us Ant-Man this weekend after years and years of trials and tribulations. So, fellow ODeckers and lost io9ers, sit back, relax, strap in, and enjoy the ride, because I JUST HAD SOME COFFEE YO.
THIS POST CONTAINS ACTUAL SPOILERS. IF YOU DON’T WANT TO BE SPOILED, MOVE RIGHT ALONG...NOTHING TO SEE HERE!
I finally got a chance to see Ant-Man last night. Great GOOGLY MOOGLY was it good. Marvel has this weird schtick where when they make a movie, it makes most of the money over the weekend it’s released and at the same time (Looking at you Genysis) is actually a good movie. It feels like as time goes on, their movies just keep getting better and better. Sure there are some dips, but overall, the quality of these movies is on the rise.
We all know the story of how this movie came to be, but despite it all, I am freaking GLAD this movie did in fact, come to be. And so should you be. I haven’t had this much fun at a movie since Avengers came out so many years ago (really, like 3). Ant-Man is the funniest movie of the Marvel Universe, and easily in my top four favorites (Avengers, Winter Soldier, Guardians, and Ant-Man). It was the perfect end to Phase 2, and did a good job of setting up some elements of Phase 3. I’ll get to that.
Baskin Robbins ALWAYS finds out.
1. That cold open was killer. We began with a flashback to 1989, and Hank Pym bursts in on Howard Stark, Peggy Carter, and Mitchell Carson, who are working in the yet to be completed Triskelion. I have a few observations here, and will spare you the summary of events and explainers of who people are because this isn’t a “review” and I’m not KevinGarcia:
> That digital younger Michael Douglas was spectacular. Like, I walked through the uncanny valley and it didn’t take me out of the movie. I was more amazed at how well it was done than unnerved by the way it looked. Marvel had a lot of actual footage of Michael Douglas from back in the day to work with, and the end result was ON POINT.
> Peggy Carter and Howard Stark aged well.
> The Triskelion is a lot younger than I imagined. SHIELD had been around since the late 40’s or early 50’s, and was just getting a super massive secret base in 1989. You’d think Stark’s old money could have gotten them something like that a little sooner. I would LOVE to see a season of Agent Carter sometime in the 60’s or 70’s, so we could see SHIELD in that era. The spy gadgets would be amazing.
> The fact that Carson was HYDRA (or possibly not yet HYDRA, as he just arranged the sale of the Cross Particles) shows how good HYDRA was at infiltrating. We all know Director Pierce was HYDRA in Winter Soldier, but in 1989 he was still out gallivanting with Fury as a field agent and officer. He might have been on the track to administration, but he wasn’t there yet. Carson was most likely HYDRA, and he was working along side Carter and Stark, SHIELD’s founders. THAT is how good HYDRA was. The best mind and the best agent of the times, and they couldn’t see it right next to them.
2. That gun Cross used to kill Frank. God damn that was cool. Cross KNOWS his particles are unstable, and had the wherewithal to use his failures as a weapon. Why waste a perfectly “good” batch of shitty Cross Particles when you can gooify your enemies in an instant. He literally wiped the floor with Frank. Ew. Cross was supposedly going mad from his experiments into Pym particles and his exposure to the Cross Particles, but the fact that he would think to weaponize his failures shows that the crazy was already there - the Particles just made it worse. Hell, he even wanted Pym to see him sell the suit to HYDRA, and see him capture Ant-Man in the container. That’s some next level crazy right there.
3. As I said before, this is the funniest Marvel movie yet. Star Lord’s dirty spaceship doesn’t touch this movie. The Garrett Morris cameo was tops. TOPS. Lang’s indignation when he saw the Avengers “A” on the top of the “abandoned” Stark warehouse in Upstate New York. FREAKING LUIS. God I loved this movie. I loved the training montage where Lang was meeting the various ants in the yard, and every time it got hairy he would just grow to get the fuck out of there. “It was a lot scarier a few seconds ago.” Oh my sides. It being very important to Falcon that Cap didn’t hear about that fight. WHAT. I lost it. Lang being all awkward around Falcon because he was a fan: HILARIOUS. “Of course you haven’t heard of me...” “I’m in the system!” MORE PLEASE.
Those movie references were on point.
4. Speaking of Luis: He stole the show. From the beginning talking about his mom dying and dad getting deported and his girlfriend leaving BUT HEY HE GOT THE VAN, I was sold. The two best parts of the movie were when Luis was explaining how he got the tip about Pym’s safe, and how Falcon was looking for Lang. PRICELESS. The best part was how excited he was to tell the stories, and how throughout the stories, the different participants all spoke with the same excitement as him. That was ingenious and I loved it. The way the movie ended was perfect. Well, what did he say? “..............Yes!” Oh my god.
5. That Falcon fight. It made sense to me that Lang landing on the roof of the Avengers facility would trip the sensor, because every time we had seen him small up to that point, he did some damage: He cracked the tile when he fell out of the tub; he made the record skip (ultimate base drop); he dented Morris’ roof; etc. Even though he’s small, he’s super dense. Something that surprised me was Falcon’s visor being able to track Ant-Man. That and Falcon’s ability to effectively adapt and fight Ant-Man while he was both big and small shows how next level the Avengers are: Even the normal Avengers with no powers are a force to be reconed with. Lang was right to be surprised and excited that he fought an Avenger and lived. That’s big!
6. The visual effects in this movie were amazing. I liked how fast Ant-Man disappeared when he shrank. No exaggerated warp, just BAM he’s small. Deal with it. Marvel’s visuals get better and better with each passing movie. By the time Infinity Wars Part II comes out, I won’t be able to even.
7. Now, I know a big plot point of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is the consequences of a large fight in a populated area causing thousands of deaths. I also understand a large gripe of Man of Steel was that Superman didn’t do enough to save anyone during the fight. I also believe that it was his FIRST fight as Superman and he was learning to be Superman.
Marvel is amazing at making sure the heroes save people and taking the time to showing it happen, because that’s what heroes do. They don’t just punch and fight and crack wise. They help people. Luis was excited and weirded out by being the good guy for once, and in embracing that role, saved the guard he had earlier knocked out and got him out before the building blew. Hell, we even saw Lang command the larger ants carry out the smaller ants once the job was done. LEAVE NO ANT BEHIND.
8. On that same note, Marvel made me care about an ant. What the fuck, Marvel? How did you do that? I was legitimately sad when Cross shot Antony. (By the way, NICE SHOOTING. He hit an ant with a bullet.) Watching Antony’s wing fall to the ground was heart breaking. STOP CUTTING ONIONS IN THE DAMN THEATER.
9. Flashbacks. This movie had two amazing flashbacks. First, we saw the building of the Triskelion, and Hank interacting with Howard and Peggy. Second, we saw Ant-Man and Wasp in action. That was magnificent. Marvel needs to cast someone to play Janet Van Dyne (my nomination: Kate Beckinsale) and make a One Shot revolving around the mission with the Nuke that she disarmed. I want to see Pym’s Ant-Man and Janet in action side by side, in the fight leading up to her disappearing.
Another plus: Pym mentioned that in the Quantum Realm, the rules of our universe, such as time and space, mean nothing. It is completely possible that a future installment will have Ant-Man back in the quantum realm (or, another character (I’ll get to it, don’t worry)) finding Wasp. As Pym said: time and space mean nothing there, so when she is finally found, she will not have aged because to her, it could have only been seconds since she entered the realm, yet years to us all. Now you have the original Wasp (again, Kate Beckinsale) as a recurring Marvel character, and a kickass woman at that. DO THIS MARVEL. DO THIS.
10. Those shrink / enlarge discs Ant-Man used. VERY COOL. I never knew Thomas the Train could be so terrifying. I bet Ant-Man uses the enlarging disc or the serum behind it to become Giant Man in the very near future...
11. When Carson grabbed the Cross Particles and ran, my first thought was “That is good. I bet the Secret Warriors have to deal with deranged, crazy subjects like the involatle Centipede subjects from the first season in the upcoming season of Agents of SHIELD. I wonder if some disgruntled Inhuman will get a dose of the Cross Particles, using it to fight SHIELD. Hmm.. Could you imaging what a mini, more than normal crazy Grant Ward could do? Holy shit the possibilities. Oh the wisecracks Coulson and Hunter will make.
12. Hope’s prototype Wasp suit was GLORIOUS. I hope she shows up sooner rather than later.
13. Here’s where I get speculative. Feige has said in recent interviews that Ant-Man is connected to Dr. Strange in that it teases the quantum realm and some effects and environments that will be important in Dr. Strange. I think I know which part he is referring to. When Ant-Man was shrinking into the quantum realm, he kept phasing through various particles as he got smaller and smaller. At one point, he phased into a realm where geometric shapes were changing all around him, and when he phased into one, it engulfed him, changed, and then we were again with Ant-Man as he drifted through nothingness.
The point that relates to Dr. Strange is the geometric shapes realm. Ant-Man ended up in the very basic state of existence at the end before he used the grow-disc to get bigger. Before that, he passed through the geometric shape after a short pause. I think this is the general fabric of reality, and is the gate between dimensions that Dr. Strange’s spells and powers travel through. Dr. Strange is able to manipulate these dimensional particles, and pick and choose what realities he travels to and from. Ant-Man did not have that control, so he remained in his own reality, both entering and exiting those geometric particles. When Dr. Strange masters his craft, he will be able to manipulate those particles, and bend reality and travel dimensions.
Maybe, in a future movie, instead of Ant-Man finding Wasp, Dr. Strange does, after sensing some tiny disturbance in the fabric of the dimensional particles. Maybe he, with the help of Hope-Wasp, or visa versa, is the one who saves Janet-Wasp.
14. Last point, because I know you have shit to do: Maybe, just maybe, Ant-Man is more intergal to the defeat of Thanos than we all realize. The Infinity Gauntlet controls space and time. The Quantum Realm does not obey the same rules as our universe. Maybe, the key to defeating Thanos isn’t punches and kicks, but reducing him (or the gauntlet) to the quantum realm, where the rules of space and time do not apply. The gauntlet and infinity stones will be rendered useless, and Thanos can be defeated.