Ant-Man hits theaters in a few weeks, and still has a decent chance of being Marvel’s first big MCU bomb (since, as we know, the last potential bomb, Guardians of the Galaxy, was powered by the awesome that is Chris Pratt and being a good movie). It’s had a whole bunch of delays, a highly-publicized director change, and the fact that no one really knows who Ant-Man is anymore unless you’ve been reading comics for years. And before anyone comments, yes, I know that the third figure fell over. I didn’t notice until it was time to edit photos. I’d like to be clever and say it was because I was hiding the spoilery character… but yeah, I’m not that forward-thinking.
It’s pretty surprising that we’re getting an Ant-Man set at all. LEGO has typically stuck to a few movies, Avengers, Iron Man 3, Avengers 2, and Guardians of the Galaxy. That’s left things like the other solo films out in the cold, which is a shame. There were a lot of good set ideas in those movies, like the fighters in Dark World or maybe minifigs for Falcon or the hydra peoples in Winter Soldier. Since Ant-Man (either Scott or Hank) have been outside the Avengers world thus far,
and we haven’t seen how they connect elsewhere in the MCU (okay, the latest trailer sort of spoils that a bit)… all of which makes getting an Ant-Man set that more unusual.
The shocking part of this set is that it jumps in at the $19.99 price point, which was starting to look like an extinct creature in LEGO lineups. It comes in with 195 parts, but it’s pretty unclear if they’re cheating and counting the big bricks as extra parts… I mean, I would. It’s interesting reviewing 76039 Ant-Man Final Battle with no pre-conceptions… I haven’t seen the movie yet and I have no real expectations for it. There’s a lot to like at first glance, and the “big” bricks are just a wonderfully meta touch. There’s something to be said for a set where you can tell the designer enjoyed making it, and this seems like one of those. The question is can that effort on the designer’s part make it worth our time and money?
When Super Heroes came into being, the $20 price-point looked to be the spot where we’d be getting the best bang for our buck; 6867 Loki’s Cosmic Cube Chase and 6866 Wolverine’s Chopper Showdown, and later on we got 76004 Spider-Cycle Chase and 76017 Captain America vs. Hydra… all of them strong sets that were well worth $20 of your hard-earned money. Unfortunately, recently, we’ve seen a shift away from that price point across the lines in favor of $25, 30, or even 40 being the nice sets. Star Wars got two $20 sets, compared to five sets in the 25-40 range. DC gave us the fantastic Green Lantern set at $20, but that was the low-end set this year. I hate to say it, but it’s starting to look like LEGO is trying to put this price-point out to pasture… so we may want to enjoy it while it lasts.
Well, I guess we now know that Hank Pym will be donning some Ant-Man armor in the movie, at least based on the minifig lineup. Kind of curious that the only place he’s shown on the box is in the minifigure lineup, but not in the playset picture itself. We also get Scott Lang, the “star” of the movie (and current Ant-Man in the comics), as well as long-time Ant-Man foe, Yellow Jacket (who should be called Yellowjacket… LEGO likes giving extra spaces).
I have no idea how to actually peg down the inclusion of Yellowjacket as a figure here. He’s obviously the big bad in the movie, but everything I’ve seen in the movie has Darren Cross as the bad guy. He’s the villain for Scott Lang, and had an origin at the same time (and, if you’re reading the current comics, you know that he’s currently messing with Lang on sooooo many levels). In the comics, Yellowjacket was two different characters… Hank Pym when he got tired of playing with ants (it happened a lot) and Rita DeMara, who has been an ally and foe of the Avengers (and also tied to the Guardians of the Galaxy, albeit in their year 3000 form).
I really don’t like the MCU co-opting a female hero/villain to turn it into another old white dude, but maybe they’ll explain it in the movie (though I strongly doubt it). It seems far more likely that they’re going down the “stole Hank’s technology” route with all of this, and that does fit Cross well enough. There have been a few promotional stills for the character, and the biggest miss I can see is that most of the printing looks greenish-yellow instead of just yellow (you know, like a wasp). Apparently Cross is just an Old Republic trooper, based on the head used.
The torso, like the Ultron torsos, has a heavy Sci-Fi feel, but there’s nothing about it that really makes it unique or special to Marvel or Ant-Man. It really reminds me of some of the more specialized Space torsos we’ve gotten over the years in stuff like Space Police or the Mars subthemes. It’d be pretty easy to combine this with torsos like that and get a pretty decent look, especially when you mix in the helmet.
The backpack is an interesting way to build the stinger setup we see for Yellowjacket. It adds a bit of play features, and the arms can be positioned… but it really messes up actually positioning the figure. See that big white plate that I included in the set picture? That’s there because I couldn’t get the figure to stand up any other way. There are some cool parts, like that technic backpack that’s seen some mileage in Ultra Agents and Ninjago (I thought it was a new part initially, as I don’t buy either of those lines unless they’re on clearance).
As an Ant-Man movie, Scott Lang was always going to end up as the Ant-Man of choice. Never mind that Pym was the origin of the character, one of the original Avengers, and an important part of the comics for decades now… he’s got one piece of history the character will never live down, no matter how they try to retcon it. I mean, Scott was turned into Ant-Man back in 1979 (and introduced initially a month after I was born)… that’s before swapping out characters was cool.
As a figure, this continues what a lot of the Marvel sets have had lately and given us a torso that fits the look of the character (and matching legs), but is generic enough to have use elsewhere. I’m not sure that that really speaks about Marvel’s design in the movies, but it’s nice for builders. The helmet is obviously a bit more specialized, and I guess it matches the MCU look for the character, but I miss the dopey Ant-Man look from the comics.
There’s a confused looking alt-face, which I think is more just a general representation of how Paul Rudd looks in all of his movies. Like Yellowjacket, there’s a lot of potential for reuse in this character if you feel like picking up more than one of the set. Not sure what you’re going to do with that helmet, but the rest of him has solid value.
Of course, one of the running rumors on why this set took so long to get out, was that it kind of gives away that we’re really getting two Ant-Men in this movie. Unless, of course, Marvel is just making crap up in one of their sets, which has never happened with an MCU set before.
We don’t know how Janet Van Dyke / Wasp plays into the MCU at this point, and I’m not going to make any jokes about domestic violence because it’s just not funny (I make no such promises about his robbing of the cradle with Catherine Zeta Jones). I’m curious to see how this all plays out in the movie, to be honest, because I’m going to give a 50/50 chance he ends up dead (we know Lang survives, since he’s been confirmed in future Phase 3 films).
The torso and legs are generic and quite a bit darker, but I have to say, that face looks nothing like Michael Douglas. That’s probably due to the fact that it’s actually just a reused Gandalf face. Kind of lazy, and makes it seem like this guy was just thrown in there so we’d get another helmet.
This is an odd set for the “set” part of things. There’s the ant, which I’ll detail below, as well as some leftover junk and some “big” LEGO bricks. We get the small versions of the giant bricks, some ants (or maybe spiders), and an alternate black minifig head (I guess for the Ant-Man helmets or something). There’s also one of the little jumper things, which I propose we just call ankle breakers, which I’ve gotten a little pile of thanks to the Marvel/DC lineup this year.
The giant bricks are what really catch your eye on this set, and on one hand, they’re a very cool idea. I like the look of the large parts, but the whole launcher system, for sending the little screws, really diminishes what it is. The length of the screw makes it hard to actually launch it, and it’s not really clear that it’s anything other than looks.
It’s a nice meta touch to this set, making the miniature world stuff out of LEGO (and screws), but really, I like them more when you make a couple of slight modifications and turn them into stand alone pieces. Let your imagination work on the battle and move things around… the little catapult part doesn’t really add anything. You’ll need to do some part swaps on them, because LEGO chose to do the connectors for the catapult in something other than red or yellow.
The last, and largest, bit of the set is a gloriously large Ant. While the movie is called Ant-Man and features the miniaturization heavily, it hasn’t shown much in the way of controlling insects, which was the more important of his powers. The comic tie-in for it shows a little bit of that, but it didn’t work, so I’d be curious to see how it goes.
There’s a lot to like with this little guy. There are dark blue slopes, which are always a plus, and those huge wings could potentially be used in other ways. Other large insects, obviously, but I know someone is going to go back and do some Galaxy Squad insect-ship MOCs with this sucker… and they will be pretty cool.
The articulation on the body is surprisingly good as well, and having six legs, which do pose somewhat despite being rigid, makes it a lot easier to get a variety of looks with the bug. Compared to some of the other Mech-style builds we’ve gotten in Super Heroes, the insect actually feels like something you can move around without it falling over.
In short, this is a very solid set at $20, and the 195 parts don’t feel wasted like some of the other low-price sets have felt. It’s not perfect, since the playset features are probably the weakest part of the whole thing. The figures are very nice on one sense (being generic and reusable), but somewhat weak on the other (reusing heads that don’t look anything like the characters). Part of this feels like it was just sort of thrown together to capitalize on the movie, but despite that, it’s a solid four out of five, and likely worth the price when you see it. There is enough parts value, and it’s somewhat hard to resist getting an army of giant ants. I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords.
What I liked
- Price feels right for what you get… this set is what a lot of the $20 sets should strive for
- Figures have a lot of generic elements that could be used in other types of builds
- Brick-built bricks are more self-aware and humorous than LEGO usually goes for, and the ant is a fantastic element of the set
What I didn’t like
- Yellowjacket isn’t really yellow on his figure (it’s more yellow-green), and Hank Pym’s head is just wrong
- The playset features are somewhat needless. They don’t work all that well, and they make the brick-built bricks weaker by locking them together
- Super jumper bricks are still pretty worthless, and likely to break minifigures when you pop them on and off a few times