As a nerd who likes nerdy things, one who grew up specifically reading Avengers comic books, I was surprised to find I had no desire to go see Avengers: Age of Ultron.  And this is really striking a nerve for me because I was forced to sit through all those cheesy special effects in the crappy super hero shows and movies of the 70s and 80s simply yearning for the day when they could take what was in my imagination and put it up there on the screen.

It took a major brand name director to get me back into the theater for a superhero romp. Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man in 2002 was a revelation. It was exactly what I had been picturing in my head all those years ago when I had my nose buried in Marvel comics.  It was fun. It was funny. It was heroic and tragic. It was everything a Marvel Comic Book should be.

I wasn’t all that fond of Batman Begins but The Dark Knight literally changed the way I looked at the standard way of telling the hero’s journey.  That had more to do with Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker, but still, that is a powerful movie.

Then came Iron Man with  Robert Downy Jr’s spot on take on the insouciance of Tony Stark and, later, Captain America which was nearly perfectly square, something required of Steve Rogers’ character.

The first Avengers movie was loud.  The second Captain America movie was tiresome. All the Iron Man sequels were repetitious.  The Man of Steel was just bad.  The glut was upon us and the strange, fringe things that we had loved for their strangeness and fringeness now became a part of the dull, machined, franchised pablum of corporate entertainment.

And then came Guardians of the Galaxy to remind us how much fun these stories could be.

Different, new, helmed by a comedic actor, it went to all the places franchise sequels don’t go.  I saw it four times and just talking about it makes me want to break out the disk and watch it again right now.

Ant-Man is this year’s Guardians. It’s the anti-Voltron.  It’s fun — hell, at times it’s actually nutty — and it’s different and it still manages to be exciting.  Oh, and Michael freakin’ Douglas is in it which adds a tremendous amount of gravity.

Paul Rudd is charming and, even though he exited the process before filming began, the script has Edgar Wright’s clever prints all over it.  The special effects work that shows Scott in his shrunken state, especially when he’s running with the ants, is amazing and Corey Stoll’s bad guy is suitably over the top.

Plus, the whole thing is driven by daddy issues.  Priceless.

Go see it.

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