Ant-Man is interesting because it showcases a character that doesn’t have the majestic scope of other Marvel Cinematic Universe heroes, but tells a compelling story and draws us further into the MCU. It succeeds on the strength of its lead actors and its tight script, despite the departure of Edgar Wright and the challenges faced in reconciling his original vision with the larger MCU. Best of all, it touched me emotionally and excited me for the sequel.
All that’s well and good, but here’s the real interesting thing from my perspective: I wasn’t originally sold on Ant-Man. I couldn’t decide if it looked good or not based on the trailers, and I was pleasently surprised by the finished film. I’ve concluded, therefore, that the persons responsible for cutting that trailer should be drawn and quartered.
AVAST! HERE BE MOVIE SPOILERS! (BUT NOTHING THE TRAILER DIDN’T SPOIL ALREADY)
The trailer basically spoils the whole movie, and that’s a damn shame. Ostensibly Ant-Man is a heist movie about stealing the Yellowjacket suit before the big bad can perfect it and use it to wreak havoc or sell it to Hydra. But just when the team is on the cusp of pulling it off, their plan gets scuttled and the way is paved for a big climactic fight between Ant-Man and Yellowjacket. The problem with all this is that we already know everything — the whole plot, more or less — from the trailer. We see the final battle between Ant-Man and Yellowjacket, so we know the heist will be unsuccessful on some level. It destroys all the tension of the heist — the main thrust of the movie — because we know from the get-go it won’t work.
We also have the final action set piece spoiled for us in the trailer: a kid’s room with a model train set. This is a great focal point for the last battle, and I don’t understand why the trailer spoils damn near the whole thing. I would have loved to be surprised by its twists and turns instead expecting them the whole time.
Incidentally, Terminator: Genisys did this too. The movie’s big plot twist, which doesn’t happen till at least half way through, is given away right there on screen in all the trailers. Seriously, what the hell were they thinking?
This is not to say that there aren’t surprising parts in Ant-Man. There were some things I wasn’t expecting, and the final fight didn’t end the way I thought it would at all. Some really cool stuff ends up happening (which I don’t want to spoil), and I still enjoyed the fight despite mostly knowing how it would play out.
My gripe, really, is that they ruined the heist part of a heist movie. The trailers should have focused on Ant-Man and his team training for the big event and then some shots of them trying to pull it off. We could have been treated to lots of awesome tiny man stuff, like the first time he shrinks, or the first time he flies Anthony, or him falling towards a tiny laser grid while his Russian hacker buddy struggles to turn it off in time. That would have gotten me invested in the character and excited to see what happens. Instead we got shown action scene after action scene, with no context at all for the characters. Yawn. The battle on the train set didn’t even need to be there.
Paul Rudd’s character, Scott Lang, is an interesting guy in the movie with a sympathetic backstory and a family to worry about, but we don’t learn anything about him from the trailer other than that he’s a thief. Nor do we learn anything about Hank Pym and his daughter (Michael Douglas and Evangeline Lilly), who are really the emotional center of the piece. If the trailer focused on these guys instead of showing me context-less action, I probably would have been more enthusiastic.
Were trailers always this bad, or is it a new development? It’s like Hollywood has decided the audience is too stupid to be enticed by movies if they aren’t shown all the best parts and plot twists in a trailer. And maybe they’re right. It’s a sad world we live in.