Ant-Man Was Great! This Post is a Rambling, Contradictory, Incoherent Mess

Ant-Man, as most reviews have already pointed out, is good.  It's fun, it's funny, it exists firmly in Marvel's cinematic universe while being entirely its own thing, and it continues Marvel/Disney's run of good movies.  You can't be mad at a good movie.

It's probably safe to assume that the MCU will continue to be good over the next few years leading into their major culminating set piece, Infinity War.  By virtue of their existing properties and the subject matters at hand, I don't see Doctor Strange, Black Panther, or Captain Marvel failing, even if they hit the same trope-y story beats as everything that's come before.  If it ain't broke...

However, I'm somewhat disparaged at the fact that Marvel/Disney seem to be the only ones capable of churning out hits.  The last movie we went to see was Avengers: Age of Ultron, which I thought was a fun ride as well, albeit one that felt more like a stepping stone than an event.  Between the two were big releases Jurassic World and Terminator: I Refuse to Misspell Genesis.  Initially, I was cautiously optimistic, but as trailers released, I lost interest.  Why does the world need a made-up dinosaur?  Zoo's don't go combining zebras and alligators to get people in the park.  And Terminator trashing already convoluted timelines in an effort to make a new normal that actually makes no sense, just based on the previews alone, gave me more headache than intrigue.  The review on those told me my trepidation was founded and I wasn't missing anything.  One succeeded and one failed.

Based on Jurassic World's success, we're now going to be inundated with halfhearted attempts to capitalize on nostalgia, something I've addressed before.  Where Guardians had a hero grown up alongside my own childhood, it was a new adventure, just with this framing device of nostalgia.  Not a "Hey, remember you liked this? Look at how similar and familiar we are!" like Jurassic World has been accused of.  Alas, Top Gun 2 and Goonies 2 are things that might be happening.

But Hollywood studios' are also still hard at work trying to copy (and ultimately ruin and run into the ground) Marvel's model.  DC/WB continues to not really get the properties they're dealing with, and where I'm definitely going to see Batman v Superman, and hope that it's good, I am not really confident they can succeed.  Spider-Man is thankfully back in the fold of Marvel (with asterisks and caveats of course), but not before Sony really tried to screw the guy with a universe basically filled with villains.  The X-Men are very hit and miss and they will be definitely tested in the next few years as Fox branches out away from the X-Men themselves, maybe even somehow connected to the Fantastic Four, because, money?

Fantastic Four is the next film out that I'm remotely interested in.  But my interest is in that I kind of hope it fails and Fox gives the property back to Marvel.

Still yet after that, maybe the Martian and Crimson Peak in October.  Those are non-franchise films, so perhaps a breath of fresh air, fingers crossed.  The year closes out with James Bond, Hunger Games, and Star Wars, each things that I want to see (Bond and SW are kind of duh, of course I'm excited for those), but they're franchises.  I don't have a problem with franchises, I love the MCU & Bond, I want to love the DCU, and it's no big shocker that I am a devout Star Wars fan and apologist.  It can absolutely suck and I'll be getting the home release as soon as it drops.

All of that aside, the doom of franchise and the mediocrity of copying formula, the MCU continues to be good despite all of that for two reasons:  the overarching story has stakes that keep you coming back like good television and even within the overarching story, there are continuing stories like Captain America and Thor, and going forward, maybe Ant-Man.  They're layered.  Each thing can be taken on its own, even subsequent sequels can be enjoyed by themselves.  Should Marvel bring their women to the forefront?  Absolutely (though I will contest each movie so far has had women often stronger, smarter, and craftier than the hero at large).  Break the formula mold?  Absolutely.  Spider-Man will be a major test of that; we all get it, Parker is an orphan raised by his aunt and his uncle died after he got superpowers so he feels guilty.  Let's just get to Spidey.  I think they can do it.  Meanwhile, the Batman v Superman preview has shown us that we're going to see Bruce's parents get shot...again.

Ant-Man kind of glossed over the origin thing, we have no idea where the Pym Particle came from or how Cross created his copycat formula, we just get suits that shrink.  That's great!  I really only wanted to see that anyway.  We get the inevitable training montage, sure, but not a lot of time was wasted on it.

I want to see that more in my franchise movies, just get to it, the public is acutely aware of how these things work by now.  But also, I want to see more one-offs, completely disconnected from anything.  I really want the Martian to be good, better than Interstellar, in that it might have a story worth caring about.  I want Crimson Peak to be a spooky ghost story that tells it in one.  I don't need Crimson Peak 5 in two years.

Sequels and franchises are where the money is at, I get it.  And I get excited when something successful has the chance to continue forward.  But Top Gun does not need a sequel with jet fighters fighting drones (that happened didn't it? and it was a terrible movie then).  And I don't care about the Goonies having grown up.  Or Vacation?  I really don't care about Rusty's family.  Part of that joke was that the kids were perpetually teens and changed every movie...now he's going to be the main character?  Will it be a different actor for the next one?  Okay, actually that might be hilarious.  But I'm not thrilled about this new one coming out right now.

Marvel?  You keep doin' you.  Everybody else?  The body cannot subsist on comfort food alone.

Step Right Up