We are in the endgame now. In just a few short days, Avengers: Endgame opens in theaters, bringing to a stunning conclusion a narrative told over a decade and 22 total films. That adds up to a lot of hours spent taking in the stories of a wide array of superheroes each on their own individual path even as they come together in a unified mission to save the world. But among the many, someone must rise to the top. Being “the best” is more than just power, strength, and smarts; it's about heart and courage, and, fundamentally, evolving into the best version of one's self and doing what is truly the right thing, no matter what it takes. By that metric, the best hero is absolutely Ant-Man.
For starters, Ant-Man has quite possibly the most authentic heroic journey in all of the MCU. When you really think about it, all of the major heroes of the MCU were already on a path for a greater destiny well before they got a suit and code name. Captain America was a determined and patriotic young man named Steve Rogers who was already doing good to the best of his ability before a little serum made him the powerhouse we all know and love. Tony Stark was already at the top of his game in terms of his work, though his values have shifted over time. Bucky, Rhodey, Sam, Carol Danvers? They were military. Even Hawkeye is extraordinary with his amazing skill with the bow and arrow in addition to his S.H.I.E.L.D. training.
In contrast, Scott Lang is just a guy. Fresh out of prison, Scott just wants to get a job and be a good dad, but that's not exactly something that's easy to do when you have a felony record. Unable to keep a steady paycheck, Scott eventually agrees to commit a burglary. He just wants to provide for his child, a desire that leads him back to the crimes that kept him away from her in the first place. It's that motivation that directly leads him to becoming Ant-Man. His skill at theft is a solid bonus and why he's picked for that role in the first place, but at his heart, Scott isn't looking for greatness, to save the world, or even be famous. He just wants to be a good dad, and he’s willing to break the law to do so. Hero sold separately.
That willingness to be on the wrong side of the law in order to step up and do the right thing is one of the primary reasons Scott is the best hero, but what really sets Scott apart is how he behaves after doing the right thing that gets him on the wrong side of the law. After Civil War, for example, Scott's under house arrest, his budding relationship with Hope van Dyne/Wasp is pretty much over as his efforts in the previous film had dire consequences for Hope and her father, Hank Pym. Yet, with days left on his house arrest, he reaches out to Hope and Hank after he thinks he gets a message from Hank's wife, Janet, who might be trapped in the Quantum Realm. Why? Because it's the right thing to do. Letting them know that their mother and wife, respectively, may not be lost is something that matters to Scott on a human level. It's also an action that, once again, throws him into "heroics" at potentially great personal cost, but he does it anyway.
And it's important to note that Scott only ended up on house arrest after selflessly putting himself on the line just to help Captain America, someone Scott has literally no obligation to help. Scott has no reason to respond to Sam Wilson/Falcon's request when he comes calling -- suit or no suit, Scott is just focusing on his family at this point. Yet he puts himself out there once again because Cap's cause is the right thing to do.
Scott Lang doesn't have superpowers. He doesn't have any special skills. He doesn't have a genius-level intellect. He doesn't have military training, fancy gadgets, godlike powers, and he's not from space. Scott Lang is just a guy who gets up every day and tries to be a better man than he was the day before, taking care of his family and doing his best to be a role model for his little girl. He's all of us. It doesn’t get more heroic than that.
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