Why we should care about ‘Ant-Man’

Disney announced today the Nov. 6, 2015 release of “Ant-Man,” directed by Edgar Wright and featuring the longtime Marvel Comics hero. No casting has yet been announced.

Why should we be excited about “Ant-Man?” He’s just a guy who shrinks, right?

Wrong. Here’s why we’re excited about “Ant-Man.”

Edgar Wright. This is the guy who directed cult classics like “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz.” And he loves Ant-Man. He’ll bring an offbeat approach to a somewhat offbeat hero.

He’s important. Ant-Man, also known as Henry Pym, was a founding member of the Avengers. He’s been there since the beginning – in the comics, at least. He’s linked to the Wasp, his girlfriend/wife Janet Van Dyne, who in the comics gave the team its name.

He might be edgy. If they choose to go that way, “Ant-Man” as a solo movie or member of “The Avengers” paves the way for some domestic drama. In some versions of the character, Pym has anger control issues and even abuses his wife. It’s a character point not unlike Tony Stark’s alcoholism. It might not make its way into the movies, but a lot of people will be wondering and speculating, and that creates buzz.

Ant-Man is not Aquaman. I love Aquaman as much as anybody, but he’s (unfairly) received a reputation as the worst member of the Justice League. And to the outside observer, Ant-Man seems just as limited. He shrinks. Hmm. But in reality, Henry Pym has a lot of cool capabilities – apparently the Ant-Man test footage screened this summer at conventions demonstrated this – and they’re not all based around shrinking. Pym has also, at various times, adopted other personnas including Giant-Man (Guess what? He not only shrinks!) and Yellowjacket (Goes with Wasp, get it?). Plus he’s a genius, not unlike Tony Stark and Bruce Banner. Getting Pym on the team will add a lot to the roster.

Most of all, Ant-Man’s existence in the Marvel movie universe paves the way for my favorite Avengers villain of all time, Ultron, an android created by Pym who becomes a recurring and deadly enemy for the supergroup. If the next “Avengers” movie – due out a few months before “Ant-Man” – revolves around Thanos – that guy glimpsed in the end credits of “The Avengers” – then Ultron would make a great bad guy for the third movie.

Excited yet?

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