Just before I have to start choosing between good and better, Ant-Man at #12 is one of my biggest Marvel disappointments – not because it’s bad, but because it had so much potential.
Suspicion first arose when director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead) was replaced by Peyton Reed, and even though the result wasn’t as upsetting as Wright’s many fans expected it to be, it’s a classic case of a short blanket: not funny enough, not sweeping enough, not exciting enough. Just not enough.
This movie has always been a tough one to crack. Visually, it’s a muscular version of Asterix; storywise, it's the story of a demigod who suffers from the well-known superhero problem of too much power.
Director Kenneth Branagh took all these tricky materials and blended them into a mix between Shakespeare and a soap-opera, and I still admire him for being able to make this whole mess work. Not to mention Tom Hiddleston’s casting as Loki, a stroke of genius that continues to serve the Marvel universe.
This might be Marvel’s most underrated film. After the babble-fest that was the second movie, director Shane Black took over from Jon Favreau, and brought his known and loved style:
fun, funny and silly – in the good sense of the word – action movie. Black, who wrote Lethal Weapon and directed the great Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and The Nice Guys, turned Iron Man 3 into a great comic book movie.
I really liked this movie when it first came out, but re-watching it subdued my enthusiasm a bit. It’s still a beautiful origin story, maybe the most touching one in the Marvel universe, but Joe Johnston’s direction is a bit too routine, and the Nazi villains are just uninteresting.
On the other hand, watching it *after* watching its sequels is a bit unfair.
After Marc Webb’s two Amazing Spider-Man movies, whose super-power was to make the viewer miss sam raimi’s version (with Tobey Maguire), the spider returned from Sony to Marvel – and, no wonder, Jon Watts’ version with Tom Holland was as rewarding as could be expected.
However, the question still remains: why did we need three different spidermen in one decade? And that I cannot answer.
Speaking about corrective experiences, that is exactly what Civil War was for Ultron. Director-brothers Joe and Anthony Russo have in fact created 'Avangers 2.5', and it came out great: a movie that on one hand, took the fantastic action they made in The Winter Soldier (2014) a step further, and on the other, managed to be a much better ensemble movie than Ultron.
Its only fault is the little unnecessary part in the middle, when Spiderman gets in the picture and a long, unnecessary battle ensues between the superheroes, but to be honest, this is just being petty.
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