Last year, Marvel Studios proved, with Guardians of the Galaxy, that it can bring comic book characters and concepts that seem weird or silly even by that genre’s already super-stretched standards to the silver screen in an immensely satisfying way. Based on the Ant-Man trailer released today, I’d say they’re poised to do it again.
I admit I know nothing–literally, nothing–about this character beyond what his name conveys. He’s an ant-sized superhero with a stupid name. (No wonder Paul Rudd asks Michael Douglas if that name can be changed.) But this trailer makes me want to see this movie. Here are a few reasons why:
- It looks like it’ll be fun. How could it not be, with a title and a premise like that? (Well, if it really wanted to try to suck all the glee out of a joy-filled superhero scenario, it could take a few lessons from DC’s Green Lantern movie of a few years back…) I love the way Scott Lang (Paul Rudd’s character–I dashed to IMDB to learn who these folks are playing) gently deflates Hank Pym’s gravitas-filled “summons to adventure” speech with his simple, bemused, “Huh.” Perfect! Like Guardians, Ant-Man will have all the eye-popping, CGI action we’ve come to expect from big-budget superhero movies, as well the character-driven humor we often lack.
- It celebrates science. I don’t know how Scott shrinks to insect size, but I’m guessing it’s not magic. Sure, it’ll be comic book science, but I bet it’ll be at least tangentially inspired by real-world science. Our society needs more people caring about science, and if Ant-Man can inspire kids–or, for that matter, even grown-ups–to start wondering how they might use real science to save the day and make the world better, then that result alone will justify the film.
- It affirms everyone’s value. Regular SFC readers know I harp on this theme a lot, mainly thanks to the influence of Doctor Who. But I really do think our society needs to recover a sense of every person’s dignity and potential. Hank tells Scott he has something to offer. That’s an incredible gift. Think about the people who’ve believed in you, who have asked you to share the unique person you are with the world. I get the sense Scott is not some “promised one,” messianic-type superhero; he’s simply someone being asked to contribute what he has to give. To borrow biblical language, he’s being called to let his light shine. Granted, it’s a theme we see a lot in this type of movie… but maybe that’s why this type of movie deserves to be made, because it’s a theme we need to remember.
- It focuses on the future. “It’s not about saving our world,” Hank tells Scott. “It’s about saving theirs“–meaning the world Scott’s daughter and all of today’s children will inherit. As much as I like superhero stories, it’s hard to deny that most superheroes fight to save the status quo. This trailer suggests Ant-Man will keep a broader vision in focus. When I think about the forces that threaten the welfare of future generations–overpopulation, climate change, paralyzed government, income inequality–I know I’d welcome a superhero story that inspires me to be a hero for my kids, for everyone’s kids, by doing what I can to improve the life they have yet to live.
Well, before I get too serious and hear a well-earned “huh” from you, tell me: What did you think of the Ant-Man trailer?