Ant-Man

So. Ant-Man.

The thing about Ant-Man is that it gets judget at least three ways. As a movie, as a superhero movie, and as a Marvel movie, and all three give you different results.

It fares best as a superhero movie. It's way better than Green Lantern or Man of Steel, more comfortable than X-Men First Class, less convoluted than Days of Future Past, better looking and better action than The Wolverine, and way, way smarter than the Garfield Spider-Mans.

As a movie, it fares well, but slightly less so. It's chock full of Unresolved Daddy Issues, with strained father and father-figure relationships between Pym and his daughter, Lang and his daughter, Pym and Lang, and Pym and his protege. And most of the funny bits are "superhero movie funny", not "comedy funny".

As a Marvel movie, there's no escaping that this is one of the lesser lights. It's not as skippable as the Ed Norton Hulk, but it'd be almost impossible for any Marvel movie to be that. And if they cut out one major scene and the pre-, mid-, and post-credits sequences, it actually could have been as skippable. but now everyone's signed to multi-picture deals and will end up in Civil War in one way or another.

When it's at it's best, Ant-Man is light, breezy, and does very clever things with the core power - shrinking and growing things. The combat applications are endless, and the movie does a great job of coming up with lots of clever action sequences that use the powers to their fullest. And when the acting, writing, and tone all align, the movie hums.

When it's not at it's best, there's usually some kind of clumsy, predictable emotional or superhero trope beat taking place. The most egregious is a super-obvious example of "Never turn the dial to 12. Awful things will happen. Awful things happened once." followed by "I have no choice but to turn the dial to 12 and accept that bad things will happen, but I'm the protagonist so I get out of it through cheese ex machina." I'm sick of that. I don't need my heroes to overcome the impossible. I'm fine with them overcoming the very very difficult.

On a number scale, a solid 75 out of 100. On a school grade, I'd give it a B. But I prefer a more experiential system - I'd give Ant-Man a "see it once in the theater and don't pay full price for the Blu-Ray". By comparison, your Iron Man 3's or Avengers or GotG's would be twice in the theater, buy and watch the Blu-Ray day of release.