Ant-Man looks like it has all the hallmarks of the modern "hero's journey." You know how it goes: The unworthy protagonist must rise above his past, overcome many obstacles, face his demons, and embrace his destiny as something greater.
We've seen this formula already in other Marvel Studios films. Tony Stark was the greedy capitalist who had to fight for his own freedom and decided to do the same for others.
Thor was an arrogant god stripped of his station and cast down, who had to change and grow and prove himself worthy to reclaim what he'd lost.
Even Steve Rogers had to show that he was a hero on the inside before his body could match the size of his heart.
In Ant-Man, the protagonist is Scott Lang, as played by a newly buffed-up Paul Rudd. He's a small-time thief given the chance to turn heroic by Michael Douglas' Hank Pym, who bestows upon him a suit that can shrink his size while increasing his strength. But there's always a catch, and in this case that's Darren Cross, played by Corey Stoll, a wicked entrepreneur who dons a shrinking suit of his own and calls himself Yellowjacket.
This new trailer gives us our first proper look at Yellowjacket, some typically spectacular visuals and more of Rudd's lovable rogue. Plus, there's a cameo by Thomas the Tank Engine. No, really.
Ant-Man is a gamble for Marvel, since the studio's last two releases will have been the mega-hit ensembles Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers: Age of Ultron. Are audiences ready for a smaller-scale (yes, we get the pun) origin story for a hero that most of the general public has never heard of? (Never mind that audiences are gobbling up that very thing on the small screen right now thanks to Daredevil.) Think of Ant-Man as a trial case for things to come.
That's because Ant-Man will be the first movie out of the gate from Marvel's "Phase 3." Phase 3 will be Marvel's biggest and broadest lineup yet, with not only anticipated sequels like Captain America: Civil War and Thor: Ragnarok, but the introduction of several brand new heroes that include Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Captain Marvel and The Inhumans. And don't forget the Marvel Cinematic Universe's debut of a little somebody called Spider-Man. Phase 3 will test Marvel's staying power like never before.
Ant-Man arrives in theaters on July 17, 2015.