Ant Man and Marvel Movies Overall

I’m just back from seeing ANT MAN with my friends Len Wein and Christine Valada.  I really liked it.  It’s a slight film, but it has heart and humor and thank god we weren’t threatening New York, or the Earth or the Galaxy or the whole damn Universe (Thor: The Dark World).  We were also watching it at the sybaritic Cinepolis theater with the full bar and meals and four kinds of popcorn (caramel corn — yum) and reclining leather seats with foot rests, etc. etc.  Paul Rudd is charming and not at all the muscle bound hero.  Michael Peña damn near steals the film.  Evangeline Lilly is a smart competent woman who isn’t traditionally Hollywood beautiful.  The villain felt like he’d been pulled from central casting — all he lacked was a mustache, but the fight sequences were fun because the direction and writers never took them too seriously.  Scenes that were titanic in power when the guys are ant sized are presented as silly when the would pull back to the real world to show a toy train falling over with a tiny “tink”.

I noticed that GRRM wrote a post about Ant Man and talked about the Marvel movies and his rankings (which are wrong 😏  (Teasing.  You get that I’m teasing, right?  I assume some of you heard our debate at the Worldcon in Reno so you know George and I have a long history of disagreeing in fun and with great abandon.)  Anyway, I thought I’d try and set him straight.  Anyway, here’s my list in order of terrific and why.  The two Spiderman films aren’t technically part of the Marvel juggernaut, but he’s a Marvel character so I’m going to include him.

SPIDERMAN 2 with Toby McGuire and Doc Ock (not those terrible remakes).  The scene where he stops the train and the commuters realize he’s “just a kid” can make me cry every time.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER.  Certainly the first half of that film is damn near perfect.  After that it becomes your typical superhero movie, but the early scenes with Dr. Erskine are just perfection.  I use that movie when I teach because it shows the power of the medium to say in a visual what would take pages in a book.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY – a perfect little jewel of a movie with flawed characters who touch your heart and who actually grow and change in interesting ways.

IRON MAN 1 — Terrific film about a man finding his soul.  They should have stopped there and just let him be a brilliant asshole in the Avengers movies.

THOR  and not just because… Loki (sigh).  I use that film when I teach to help illustrate the difference between plot and theme.

X-MEN: FIRST CLASS – beautiful evocation of a different time and the relationship between Charles and Erik is gorgeous.  It didn’t hurt that the movie had two top ranked actors in those roles.

AVENGERS – I liked the film a great deal.  Too many action sequences but at least they seemed like they were designed to move the story forward.  Unlike the second Avengers film which seemed designed to just have another big CGI fight.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER – a grown up film about issues of freedom and security and a man and a woman who are merely friends.

ANT MAN – (see above)

X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST (the less said about X-Men 3 the better and this film fixed that).

SPIDERMAN – the first film with Toby McGuire


So, I think I’ll stop there.  This was fun thinking back on all the hours of genuine entertainment these films have provided.

3 Responses to Ant Man and Marvel Movies Overall

  • Christopher Long says:

    Well, I don’t agree with a lot of the rankings, here, but I do agree with a lot of your reasoning, if that makes any sense? The two big places where we disagree are on “Spider-man 2,” which I loathed (Ock is the crazy one, not the tentacles, and the villain does not get to save the day), and Michael Peña’s character, who reminded me of a person I know out here in the “real world,” and dislike immensely. Twice I actually said aloud (but quietly), “would somebody please shut him up?” It left me a little befuddled, as I loved him in “Shooter” and thought he pretty much *stole* “End of Watch.”

    I am looking forward to the idea of Spider-man being integrated with the greater MCU, though that, too, distresses me a little. (Marisa Tomei as Aunt May? But… but I can’t feel unbridled *lust* for freaking *Aunt May!* That’s not right!)

    I am also really looking forward to “Doctor Strange,” mostly because Benedict Cumberbatch is one of a very tiny pool of actors who pass my personal acid test for being able to play the character. You know all the weird little exclamations the character uses in the comics? “By the Crimson Bands of Cyttorak,” and “By the Vapors of the Vishanti,” as example.

    My personal rule for an actor making the cut as Doctor Strange has always been me being able to imagine the actor saying “By the Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth!”– and not laughing at the thought. Cumberbatch makes the cut.

    (Interestingly, so does Chiwetel Ejiofor, who is rumored to be playing Baron Mordo. Tells me that the casting people are really on the ball, as those two characters should be very alike in some ways, so me being able to imagine either actor playing either role is a good thing.)

    • Melinda Snodgrass says:

      I’m very interested in the Doctor Strange film. Fingers are crossed on that one.

      I loved Spiderman 2 because of the incredibly humanity of it. Ock is a tragic figure and that was a nice change from all the megalomanics who inhabit most of these films.

  • Melinda Snodgrass says:

    After chatting with my friend Jeremy Brett on Facebook I have to conceded that Winter Soldier should have come in above the X-Men movie. I love the Cap because he is an unabashed hero. He reminds me of my father. A man whose word was his bond and a handshake was enough for a contract. No lawyers needed. The Cap’s defense of liberty when faced with the might of the surveillance state and Fury’s flexible morals was lovely.

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