Don't worry, Marvel fans: "Ant-Man" may be small in stature, but the movie is big on fun.
The 12th movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, "Ant-Man" focuses on Paul Rudd as an ex-con named Scott Lang, recruited for an initiative much bigger than himself — and one that requires him to become much smaller than himself, too. It's an odd duck in the Marvel Studios lineup, and that's saying a lot, given that this is the same universe populated by a gun-toting raccoon and a talking tree. But does odd work here? Does "Ant-Man" earn its stripes as a worthy Marvel movie? To quote one of the movie's best characters, the answer is a resounding "YES."
Here are nine reasons you won't want to miss out on Rudd's Marvel debut:
Paul Rudd as Scott LangMarvel Studios
A more humble and human Marvel hero than any who have come before. Aside from some solid tech savvy and better gymnastics skills than your average bear, Rudd's Scott is an everyman, which feels like a first for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He's funny, he's earnest, he's relatable, and he's great. "Civil War" can't come soon enough.
Michael Douglas as Hank PymMarvel Studios
The first Ant-Man now operates as the Doc Brown to Scott Lang's Marty McFly. It's not nearly as flamboyant a performance as Christopher Lloyd's iconic turn in "Back to the Future," but Douglas brings the same kind of gravitas to this particular Marvel movie that Robert Redford brought to "Captain America: The Winter Soldier." When he talks about how he can communicate with ants with his mind, you buy it with a straight face… most of the time, anyway.
Evangeline Lilly as Hope Van DyneMarvel Studios
She's the daughter of Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne, so she better be a badass. Luckily, Marvel and Lilly both deliver on the promise of an awesome new heroine in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. More than her actual work in "Ant-Man," though, is the potential for future greatness from Hope. You'll understand once you sit through the film.
The Supporting CastMarvel Studios
But especially Michael Peña as Luis. Oh man, Michael Peña. He doesn't need a superhero name, costume or power-set in order to steal the whole movie out from under everyone else. Every time you see Peña on screen, he's the one to watch. He's the best. Get hyped.
The Wright StuffMarvel Studios
The moment Scott shrinks down to size for the very first time, you immediately recognize the signature Edgar Wright stamp all over this movie. Wright's DNA is intertwined throughout "Ant-Man," but never more apparently than the way the hero's powers and action scenes unfold. Even though Edgar and Marvel parted ways many moons ago, the two remain together in many important ways.
The Final FightMarvel Studios
The biggest battle of "Ant-Man" has the smallest setting of any final Marvel movie climax, and yet, it's one of the best. You will love it.
The Avengers Call-OutsMarvel Studios
For my taste, the movie works best when it's independent of the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe. Still, you can't help but crack a smile at the sight of Howard Stark and Peggy Carter in the 1980s, the occasional digs at Tony and Iron Man by Hank in the present, and even some unexpected in-your-face Avengers action. It's a smaller movie than "Avengers: Age of Ultron" in every sense, but it's very much connected to what Marvel already offered up earlier this year.
The Post-Credits ScenesMarvel Studios
Stick around all the way through the end of the credits. You won't want to miss what "Ant-Man" is setting up moving forward. And speaking of moving forward…
The FutureMarvel Studios
There are no plans for an "Ant-Man" sequel at the moment, and maybe we'll never see one. That's fine. He'll return in "Civil War." There are tons of reasons to believe that characters from "Ant-Man" have a future in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, too. "Ant-Man" opens up an entire new world that Marvel needs to explore moving forward, although not necessarily in an "Ant-Man" movie.
In other words, there is a ton from "Ant-Man" to look forward to in the future. It can't come soon enough. But first, you'll need to put your eyes on this movie. You'll have that chance as soon as July 17. Make room on your calendar accordingly.