...and pleasant surprises.
I'm going to be honest. Neither Hank Pym nor his protege, Scott Lang, have ever been high on my list of favorite characters. Add to that the news that they were killing off Janet Van Dyne...in the backstory...and I almost decided to give Ant-Man a miss.
Then somebody who's judgment I generally trust gave me a solid nudge. So, yeah. I saw it.
And I was...again, pleasantly surprised.
Ant Man finished number one on opening weekend, but grossed the second lowest of the MCU so far. On second week, it stayed number one, edging out Pixels. (Which is not as bad as it looked from the trailer: It's worse). No doubt the relatively low attendance has something to do with, well, it's Ant Man. He has a funky powerset, he's not overly popular amongst comics fans (even if the editors now try to argue it was never their intent to have him smack Janet around), and, well, ants. Who the heck takes a guy who shrinks and talks to ants seriously?
The answer is: Nobody.
Including the people who made this movie. And that was the right decision. In tone, Ant Man is much closer to Guardians of the Galaxy than Age of Ultron. Yes, there really is a fight on a (switched on) Thomas the Tank Engine train set. Yes, there are ants. There are also incompetent criminals, a marvelous heist, and...well. It's a caper movie, and it's a good one.
Paul Rudd hits the perfect note for Scott Lang - he balances being, to be frank, a bit of a jerk with the lovable rogue archetype. You do find yourself rooting for him. Michael Douglas was a delightfully grouchy Pym.
And I'm willing to forgive them Janet as long as I get Evangeline Lilly's Hope in the Wasp suit. Because even though she's not Janet, she convinced me she was the Wasp just by walking on screen.
IOW, Marvel did it again. How long they'll be able to sustain this, I don't know.
And, thinking about it, I'd like to give some special credit to somebody who isn't on screen and isn't "taken seriously."
Her name's Sarah Halley Finn and she's played a key role in the entirety of the MCU. Yup, in every single movie.
This brilliant woman is: The MCU casting director. Let's give her some kudos, because she has yet to miss a beat.