*Warning, this article includes spoilers*
Although the title of the best series of films surrounding the same central characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is perhaps reserved for Captain America or The Avengers, my personal favourite is the Ant-Man series, consisting of “Ant-Man” and “Ant-Man and the Wasp”.
This may come as a surprise to many, as most people seem to view them as kind of nothing films, with the only part that’s of any importance being the mid-credit scene in Ant-Man and the Wasp, where Scott Lang (A.K.A Ant-Man) is stuck in the Quantum Realm when Thanos’s snap happens. Our captain and chief of H.M.S FinalBoss, James, isn’t a fan of the films either. But for me, these films really resonate very well and occupy their own, special little corner of the MCU. And here is why.
The Ant-Man humour for me is the perfect level of silliness I require from a light-hearted, fun and easy to watch superhero film. There is the regular level and style of humour that every MCU film has and then there is the slightly more adult, purposefully comedic humour from the Guardians of the Galaxy films or Thor Ragnarok. Humour wise, I think the Ant-Man films seem to occupy the space somewhere between Ragnarok and the rest of the MCU films. The films definitely try to be more comedic and I think it really pays off.
The Luis recap scenes are a particular favourite of mine, where the character played by Michael Peña uses his “street” language and hilarious amount of unnecessary detail to tell past events. Apparently, there is footage of Luis recapping the entire MCU, but I have yet to find that myself. There are other small things that I found hilarious like the Hot Wheels case for all of the shrunken cars, the giant Thomas the Tank Engine or Scott being an absolute pro at lockdown before it was cool.
The Ant-Man Characters
The characters and the casting choices in the Ant-Man films are excellent. Paul Rudd is the perfect addition to the MCU, playing the protagonist Scott Lang. Scott isn’t a god, a billionaire or super-spy/soldier/king/genius. In fact, in society, he would be considered a bit of a villain as he is an accomplished and convicted thief. However, he is basically just a decent, regular bloke who makes terrible decisions and just wants to do right by his family. He is perhaps, in that sense, one of the most relatable Marvel characters.
Hope van Dyne (or Wasp) is another fantastic character, played by Evangeline Lilly. Evangeline wasn’t given a particularly easy or likeable character in The Hobbit films, but in Ant-Man she is given another go at the sassy, strong, female kickass that absolutely oozes confidence and competence, with much greater success. In many ways, Hope is much more competent than many of the main heroes in the MCU. I really hope with a more diverse and inclusive era of Marvel on the way, we shall see much more of Wasp.
Other characters I really enjoy include the hopeless but loveable rogue, Luis, the grumpy, sarcastic mentor and creator of the Ant-Man technology, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas). I also adore Scott’s daughter, Cassie Lang (Abby Ryder Fortson in Ant-Man and Ant-Man and the Wasp, Emma Fuhrmann in Avengers: Endgame). She is so quirky and funny, essentially a miniature, female Paul Rudd.
I have heard criticism that the villains in the Ant-Man films are forgettable, which I think is a fairly fair assessment. Certainly Yellowjacket wasn’t too bad but definitely not a part of the film that makes it “great”, and the mobster, boss guy Sonny Burch in Ant-Man and the Wasp is almost entirely forgettable. However, Ghost (played by Hannah John-Kamen) is an absolutely first-class villain in my book. Not only is her suit and powers super cool, she really isn’t a bad person. Like many of my favourite villains, she is a regular person who has been mistreated, struggles with survival and is only really a villain in regard to the plans of the “good guys” and the villain being at odds with each other. If we do not see more of her, I will be really disappointed.
The Importance Of Ant-Man In The MCU
Ant-Man is so incredibly important to the MCU. The entire plot of Endgame can only happen because of the events of Ant-Man and the Wasp. I would argue that the only film more important to the climax of the entire Infinity Stone saga is Infinity War, which you could call a prequel to Endgame. Sure, many films layout many aspects that are key parts to Endgame. Pretty much any of them that physically has an Infinity stone in them and Civil War for setting up Infinity War. However, the entire plot of Endgame is based around a time heist, which can only happen because of Scott Lang being trapped in the Quantum Realm and discovering that time works differently there. It is also worth pointing out that the rat that triggers Scott being returned from the Quantum Realm is more important and influential in Endgame than War Machine (Boom! Were you looking for this opinion?).
Ant-Man and Ant-Man and the Wasp are definitely underrated. Although most of the MCU films are fairly easy-going watches, the Ant-Man films are some of the best easy, laid back superhero films. Perhaps Ragnarok is a “better” film but often the humour in that is very “Taika Waititi”. Although that is absolutely something I enjoy, I think it could be a downside for some people.
The Ant-Man films, especially Ant-Man and the Wasp, embodies silly, daft and almost slightly slapstick at times humour that I really enjoy. It also benefits from not taking itself too seriously, which is an endearing quality to me. They know the name Ant-Man is a bit stupid, they know they are going to make a comedy heist, so they don’t try and insult the viewer by trying to sell it as a serious film. In many ways, these particular aspects remind me of the Lego Batman film, something else I enjoyed immensely. Many people have legitimate grievances with the Ant-Man films, but they have certainly earned their stripes with me.
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