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Last month, prior to spending some time with the cast and filmmakers behind MARVEL's ANT-MAN at Walt Disney Studios, I had the opportunity to attend the very first press screening of the film at an AMC in Burbank. It's always best to see the finished product before delving into interview territory for those involved, but that can be a tricky situation - depending on the film itself. Fortunately, I exited ANT-MAN with a smile on my face, and a ton of thoughts racing through my head as I worked to digest the multi-layered approach to a comic book character that most mainstream audiences are likely unfamiliar with. MARVEL's ANT-MAN scores big by "going small" - the first true "family" film in the MARVEL Cinematic Universe (MCU).

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If you've been following my coverage on MARVEL's ANT-MAN over the past couple of weeks, then you already know that I had an action figure companion accompanying me on my trip to Los Angeles. While my MARVEL Legends Infinite Series Ant-Man was Hasbro's articulated version of Paul Rudd's Scott Lang, they haven't done a version of Corey Stoll's Darren Cross/Yellowjacket just yet - sans the tiny, half-inch figure that comes packed alongside and equally-small Ant-Man... inside the package with the bigger Ant-Man. It was pure luck that I happened to find the Funko Pop! Vinyl version of Yellowjacket the night before I was set to meet with actor Corey Stoll, a lucky score at a Hot Topic store on Universal CityWalk. The next morning, it was hard to tell who was more excited about the figure - me, or Stoll.

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After witnessing the first-ever press screening of MARVEL's ANT-MAN in Burbank last month, I wandered out onto Universal CityWalk while collecting my thoughts and trying to fully comprehend the multitude of elements at play within the 12th entry into the ever-expanding MARVEL Cinematic Universe. Those who've seen the trailers and clips or have really delved into the coverage here on this site or others, have seen bits and pieces already, but when I say that ANT-MAN is a superhero movie like no other - I truly mean it. There's the action you'd expect; a comedic side carrying the torch first lit in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY; stories of family drama with father and child; and then there's this whole "heist film" thing happening... and for me, that's the real hook. With 2001's OCEAN'S ELEVEN remake being one of my favorite films (and I worked for one day on its 2004 sequel), the fact that a MARVEL film brought some of that stylish humor into the mix is an unexpected treat - one made perfect by the crew assembled by Paul Rudd's Scott Lang/Ant-Man. Enter the "Antourage": The Getaway - Dave (T.I.), The Hacker - Kurt (David Dastmalchian) and The Inside Man - Luis (Michael Pena).

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Growing up as a child of the 1980s - watching certain, more "grownup" films than I probably should've at the time, Michael Douglas was a hero - my first memories of his performances coming from THE CHINA SYNDROME, ROMANCING THE STONE (and its sequel) and A CHORUS LINE. Later, WALL STREET, FALLING DOWN and THE GAME - all of which became personal favorites - really hit me, and those are just such a small, small fraction of the work of a man whose ANT-MAN co-star Paul Rudd refers to as "acting Royalty." The amount of pure good in Douglas' filmography is immense - as is the diversity... but something had been missing until 2015, and that's a full-blown Comic Book movie. So how did the 70-year-old actor decide that MARVEL's ANT-MAN would be his entry into that world? It's all about diversity, fun and friends...

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A couple of weeks ago, I was walking through the dealer booths at BotCon (the annual TRANSFORMERS convention) when I came across a guy selling something that wasn't quite supposed to be out yet - Hasbro's MARVEL Legends Infinite Series ANT-MAN assortment. Being just a week away from going head-to-head with actor Paul Rudd at the #AntManEvent and press junket in Los Angeles, I couldn't think of a better travel companion than a figure from the twelfth entry into the MARVEL Cinematic Universe, and this chance encounter was actually the solution to an earlier problem. Funny thing is, I'd previously reached out to both Hasbro and Diamond Select Toys with requests for their upcoming figures, but both were fruitless attempts. Yet here I was in a convention center in St. Charles, Illinois... and there it was staring at me. $32.40 later my action figure sidekick (sorta my thing) for the next adventure was locked. Action figure ANT-MAN would soon be in the hands of his flesh-and-blood counterpart (and pretty much the entire cast of the film)...

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At CROSS TECHNOLOGIES, "Big Things Come from Small Beginnings," and on July 17th the future of warfare will arrive. CEO Darren Cross recently announced through corporate communications that the company will introduce "The Yellowjacket," the "ultimate secret weapon" that posits the idea of a soldier the size of an insect. Intrigued? You can view the announcement message from Mr. Cross in the embedded video player below.

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