Comic book movies are a new norm for us these days. I remember as a younger lad, watching those first Spiderman and X-Men movies gain popularity. It warmed my nerdy little heart to see these heroes that I grew up approach the larger-than-life status that I had always had for these characters in my mind. Comics have replaced our myths and have given us a new outlet for saving and understanding our world. As The Justice League and Avengers get more and more cosmic facing threats that endanger the universe, it is exciting to see our myths restore order and overcome the greatest odds.
After watching Ant-Man and The Wasp with my nephews, I was not only excited but encouraged. Marvel made an action packed film about a couple of shrinking folks and used that opportunity to show why we have a world worth saving. It is incredibly fitting that a movie about the minuscule would zero in on the small things that make our lives unique in the grand scope of the threatened universe.
The first time we see Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang playing with his daughter and it immediately sets the tone. We see a man who’s only priority is his family. We see a man with access to some of the most incredible technology in the world and chooses to keep it hidden for the sake of his child. Peyton Reed’s Ant-Man sequel is packed with insane action and the wonderful visual that we have come to expect from the Marvel franchises. The biggest difference was that the stakes were so acutely honed on the direct repairing of the relationships of our main and secondary characters.
Even in the scene with Michael Pena’s Luis is under the “truth serum” and reveals that his new business venture is in the red and apologizes for not telling his friends Kurt and Dave, played with a hilarious but subtle T.I. and David Dastmalchian, we see a group of people that are truly concerned about each other and the things that matter to them even in the face of a world quickly being filled by being with supernatural powers. And quite honestly, I would love Luis’ ramblings to Hope about wanting a suit leads to a Luis, Dave, and Kurt spin-off. Every super-hero movie has that humanizing component; something to ground the gods in our world so we can relate more. The reason these three ex-cons resound so purely with us though is because they never shift their hopes and dreams to match the hero’s. And Scott Lang never shifts either. Each character is the hero of their own story and gives time to each of their priorities. They show us that out communities are worth saving by participating beautifully in one.
Getting back to the nerdy kid from the first paragraph. I got giddy at the hint of Goliath and if I am honest was a little sad when Lawrence Fishburne (a welcome sight in any movie) didn’t suit up to fight and/or save a giant Ant-Man. Perhaps when Luis was asking for suit, he wasn’t that far from getting one. I think we are all ready to see Michael Pena get a “bigger” part in the MCU. I love the introduction of Ghost and the quantum realm. And after the post-credit scene, we can expect a quantum Lang to be the key to thwarting Thanos. The humor is abundant classic Rudd but never felt forced to detrimental to the seriousness of any given moment. Marvel has tapped into the things that has always made these characters fun to read on a small scale and once again has grown them into our modern myths. As we gear up to grab our best buds and watch the second half of Infinity War, we should view everything the MCU throws at us under a strong microscope. It’ll be the small stuff that changes the world.