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Ant-man: a movie review

Ant-Man is the latest installment in Marvel's cinematic world of superheroes defined best by the Avengers. While Ant-Man is not as well-known as figures like Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor, if history is an indicator this probably isn't the last time he'll make an appearance on the big screen. One reason is that Marvel films continue to generate a lot of revenue with Ant-Man becoming the twelfth consecutive offering by the company to open at first place in the box office.

However, Ant-Man is an entertaining story in its own right that has moved beyond a decent bit of initial skepticism to earn its way into the Marvel pantheon of heroes. Alex Abad-Santos speaks for many critics when he said in his review for Vox that "I owe Marvel an apology…I was convinced that Ant-Man was the result of Marvel freebasing hubris…And then the company proved me wrong, delivering a movie with the same brilliant magic as many of its best films that reminded me of what makes Marvel so great."

The film centers on a discovery by Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) that enables him to turn himself into the size of an ant while multiplying both his strength and athleticism. As Ant-Man, Pym serves as one of America's top agents during the Cold War. However he grows wary of the possibility that his new technology might fall into the wrong hands and hides it away from the world. Unfortunately, his protégée, Darren Cross (Corey Stoll), becomes obsessed with replicating the formula. Once successful, he plans to sell it to the highest bidder.

That is understandably worrisome to Pym so he seeks out Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) to become the new Ant-Man in order to stop Cross. Lang has many redeeming qualities and is quite intelligent in his own right. However, we are first introduced to him as he is leaving prison where he spent time for burglary. Interestingly, it is the same qualities that enabled him to be such a successful thief that make him Pym's perfect successor as Ant-Man.

The film hinges on Lang's ability to take those qualities and use them for the good of others rather than for his own reasons. While he's not a bad guy, his past calls into question his ability to make that transition and much of the movie is focused on his journey from vigilante to hero (as it's a super-hero movie, you can probably guess how that plays out).

Similarly, God has given each of us a unique set of talents and gifts that can be used either for his purposes or our own. Whether it's musical ability, intellect, personality, or any other characteristic that helps to define who you are, the Lord has given you those qualities for a reason and he wants to help you understand what that reason is. Your ability to fulfill your purpose in this life hinges on that understanding.

So how do we discern that purpose? The first step is recognizing and embracing the fact that you have gifts and that God created you for a reason. For some, those gifts might be readily apparent. For others, they are more finely woven into the fabric of your existence. However, whether your gifts are easy to recognize or not, never doubt that God has equipped you for a role in his kingdom that was specifically designed for you (1 Cor. 12:12-26). Understanding and embracing that truth is vital to fulfilling that role.

Second, prayerfully seek the Holy Spirit's guidance in recognizing God's gifts in your life. As Janet Denison once wrote, "Your Kingdom purpose is the service God has gifted you to perform, that has eternal value…When last did you see God at work in your life, and the end result was people encountered God in their own lives? Chances are, the answer to that question is your Kingdom purpose." So take the time to do a bit of Spirit guided self-evaluation and keep an open mind as sometimes God wants to use the qualities that we might regard as insignificant to accomplish the amazing. There is no gift too small to be of eternal use in God's kingdom.

Ultimately, we are given the opportunity each day to use God's gifts for our glory or for his. Scripture is clear on which option is best so choose wisely and you will know the fulfillment that can only come from living out your kingdom purpose. God created you for a reason. Are you living like it?

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