A friend asked me to prove my nerd cred and tell him: why is Ant-Man cool? What is the benefit of being so small?

I told him that not only can you be small (and absolutely defy the laws of physics, mass and momentum?) but you can also control ants. Like lots of them. And they could get up a pant leg and …I dunno. Do some serious damage?

You know what Spencer, just watch the movie and all your questions will be answered. And you will walk away going “Yeah, Ant-Man is a bad ass and I too would like to to be small and fight crime and tell ants to bite somebody in the wiener.”

Ant-Man In Action
Little Pamplona’s traditional Running Of The Ants

I just returned from a Thursday opening night. Oh, hadn’t you heard? Thursday is now considered part of the weekend, at least when it comes to tallying the “weekend box office”. I will say that I don’t think Ant-Man will be breaking any box office records, but I do think it is a solid hit and another feather in Marvel’s cap of movie adaptions of their comic properties.

I actually went into the movie with medium to no expectations. While potential trouble spots like the swapping of directors and major script changes kept fans wondering if Marvel was going to have their first major misstep, I can say that they deftly melded the 616, Ultimate and cinematic universes seamlessly, yet again.

First issue of The AvengersFans of the comics were rather vocal about the exclusion of Ant-Man and The Wasp from the Avengers movie roster back when the original film was announced. Ant-Man and The Wasp were founding members of the Avengers (along with Iron Man, Hulk, and Thor) so it naturally irked long time fans that Marvel seemed to be picking and choosing who would make up the core team in the movies. Captain America didn’t join The Avengers until issue number four, and Hawkeye and Black Widow until MUCH later than that. But that is the beauty of The Avengers. Pretty much EVERYone in the Marvel Universe has been an Avenger as some point. And with Ant-Man being the last movie in Marvel’s Phase Two and bridging the gap for Phase Three, it seems natural that a founding member of the original source material would be a connecting thread as the original movie Avengers are phased out (due to contract renewals and other commitments for the actors).

Ant-Man Founded The Avengers?

But wait, that’s not REALLY the founding Ant-Man. The original Ant-Man was Hank Pym, played by an oddly spry Michael Douglas. That’s right. A few folks have worn the Ant-Man suit over the years and for this outing, Marvel has opted to focus on Scott Lang, the thief with a heart of gold (as opposed to Eric O’Grady, the perv with a heart of boners). But why not Hank? Why not the original?

Well, like I said, Marvel can pick and choose and it is likely they opted for Scott over Hank for a few reasons:

1. Too many brains – Hank Pym is a world class intellect and The Avengers already have two (now three?) super geniuses on board in Tony Stark, Bruce Banner and now The Vision. Where would one more super smartie fit in?

2. A hero with heart – The Scott Lang story line (a thief who steals to support his daughter) is a great fit for Marvel. A likable, wisecracking, rogue who does the wrong things for the right reasons … what’s not to love?

3. The elephant in the room – This casting switch-a-roo also allows Marvel to gloss over some of the more unsavory aspects of the Hank Pym legacy, such as spousal abuse and divorce. It also takes Hank off the hook for the creation of Ultron (as he did in the comics) and allows Marvel to keep their cinematic universe streamlined. I mean, really, Ant-Man as a hero is cool. Hank Pym as a man is complicated and multi-layered and … sort of likable … but nothing you want to hang a Summer blockbuster on.

Too Many Smart Asses?

Paul Rudd as Scott Lang, Ant-Man
“Hi, my name is Scott. Phoebe’s husband.”

Did Marvel really make the right choice on hanging their Phase Two swan song on the little known, little understood, Ant-Man?  Well, after Guardians of the Galaxy did so well (a title that even hardcore comic fans were like “Huh?”) Marvel definitely hedged their bets with another likable, wisecracking, rogue in the vein of Star Lord. A lot of people dismissed Paul Rudd out of hand, but he brings a fantastic mix of humor, heart and (according to my wife) handsomeness, to the part of Scott Lang and I think Marvel made the right choice.

All I can say is that this is a Marvel “must see” and I look forward to seeing more (or is that less?) of Ant-Man in the MCU.

And as always, stay for the end, END credits. 😉

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