Review: Ant-Man Is Like The Small Scale Movies That Marvel Began With
Director: Peyton Reed
Screenwriter: Edgar Wright (screenplay and story), Joe Cornish (screenplay and story), Adam McKay (screenplay), Paul Rudd (screenplay), Stan Lee (comic book), Larry Lieber (comic book), and Jack Kirby (comic book)
Principal Cast: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Bobby Carnavale, Judy Greer, Abby Ryder Fortson, and Michael Pena
Summary: armed with a super-suit with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, con-man Scott Lang must embrace his inner hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.
If there is one thing that is infamous within the Marvel Cinematic Universe is Ant-Man. It has been in the works as long as Iron Man under the direction of Edgar Wright. However, something happened between Wright and Marvel, the rumor is that Wright wanted Ant-Man to be more stand alone, and they parted ways just before the production started. Ant-Man has become the butt of many jokes with most people predicting that it was going to be terrible. I’ve had pretty high hopes though since the second trailer and when I started reading the current Ant-Man comic. Director Peyton Reed also seemed very enthusiastic at last years comic con but I was still wondering whether or not Marvel was going to be able to pull this one off.
Ant-Man is not only a great movie it shoots close to the top of the Marvel movie list with only two, maybe three titles, that top it.
There are a lot of things that Marvel is good at but the main one is casting. There were a lot of people that weren’t happy with Paul Rudd’s casting as Scott Lang but I personally think his team with Michael Douglas as Hank Pym is great. They play off of each other so well and some of the movies best moments are between the two of them. In the comics Scott Lang is second only to Clint Barton as far as human disaster go. However, in the movie universe Clint appears to have himself to have himself together, so that title has to go to Scott. He’s a criminal who turns to crime as soon as things get hard and they have been hard for a while. His knack for the criminal element turns the movie into Ocean Eleven with more human and ants. Ant-Man continues the Marvel tradition of their movies being more than just superhero movies.
There were a lot of worries going into Ant-Man with Edgar Wright leaving so late into the production that this was going to be the one that fails. As I said I was fairly confident due to my love of the character but I was surprised at how good Ant-Man turned out to be. It feels like it should have been part of the smaller scale movies from phase one lining up nicely with the original Iron Man as far as tone goes. As it falls now Ant-Man feels like a breath of fresh air compared to the chaos that was Avengers: Age of Ultron. One of the downsides to the Marvel Cinematic Universe is that the more connected everything gets the more alienating to new fans you become. This was very apparent during Avengers: Age of Ultron but Ant-Man, much like last summer’s Guardians of the Galaxy, feels like something that someone who has somehow gone this long without seeing a Marvel movie can walk in and not be completely lost.
This isn’t to say that it’s a perfect production. My personal favorite Marvel movie, Captain America: Winter Soldier, remains the best of the series but this one is easily up there with Guardians of the Galaxy as far as great films. The movie is much slower paced than almost any other action movie this summer with the first two acts being mostly training sequences as Scott learns to shrink and make ant friends (he literally names the ant he flies on). Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) is mostly on hand to serve as a parallel father-daughter relationship for Scott and his daughter and to point out how much better she would be suited to this super hero thing than Scott. She becomes some sort of meta joke about how Marvel still doesn’t have a leading lady that I’m not sure was entirely intentional. The pacing might throw people off if someone was going in expecting nonstop action and having to wait until act three to get the fights they wanted. Scott also has a merry band of ex con friends with the great Michael Pena stepping in to steal every scene he’s in. While our villain Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) isn’t the greatest once we have the fight with the shrinking Yellowjacket suit it’s quite menacing. The final fight is a great mockery of all super hero destruction scenes only shrunk down to a children’s toy chest.
Ant-Man is a movie a lot of people thought was going to fail but Marvel has once again proved that they can make even the craziest ideas work. After a summer with lots of movies that hit the ground running and never seem to stop it was nice to see one with the confidence in itself to slow down and give us some truly great character building. I already loved the character of Scott Lang and I’m pleased that Ant-Man will help you love him too.