TL;DR – A surprisingly fun little film, a good introduction to the character that make you excited for the possibilities for the future.
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
Out of all the recent Marvel Cinematic Universe Movies* Ant-Man has probably had one of the more rocky developments, it lost its director, it is also not one of Marvel’s best-known characters. So there was potential for this to be Marvel’s first big stumble, thankfully the final product really works.
The basic premise is that back in the 80’s Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) discovered a technology that would allow someone to shrink to the size of an ant. Realising just how dangerous this could be and that he didn’t fully trust SHIELD (a good idea) he shelved the technology, but now thanks to events he has been forced to bring the tech back to protect against a bigger threat.
One of the film’s strengths is in its casting, Paul Rudd (Scott Lang/Ant-Man) has been in a lot of bad films, but he has this charm about him that just works here in this kind of fish out of water role. This is really important as not only is Rudd the title character (Ant-Man), but he also has to tie together all the different threads of the film and if Rudd had not worked the whole film would have failed. Michael Douglas works well as Hank Pym straddling the line between bitter old man and real optimism quite well. Evangeline Lilly is great as Hope van Dyne, once you understand her complicated story. Michael Piña (Luis) shows his amazing comic timing and Corey Stoll (Darren Cross) plays the manic bad guy with all the pomp and circumstance.
The action is formulated carefully with a combination of close up and wide shots that really show off the concept of Ant-Man in a visually engaging way, also in a way that you can actually follow what is going on and not get confused from a jump cut every two seconds. The visual effects are really quite good, with a special mention to the animation of the ants. They feel like a real presence in the film something I have not seen since Honey I Shrunk the Kids. It was interesting to see how they fit this film into the greater MCU as Ant-Man comes from a very different place than say, Cap. Also generally speaking the humour of the film rally works, however, it is a shame that a lot of it was spoiled in the trailers.
It’s not a perfect film however, the film can be a little too saccharin at times, Lang’s Gang of friends (Michael Piña, Tip ‘T.I.’ Harris & David Dastmalchian) feel a bit superfluous at the start of the film, though thankfully not all of it. Also it is a pity that Edgar Wright left the production as he has an amazing way of integrating visual comedy into his films (See Here: Warning: Strong Language, Violence, and the use of fingers as guns), thankfully some of this remains in the final product but I really would have liked to see his full take on it.
In the end, I really enjoyed the film, had some good laughs, some good action and amazing ants, which in the end is important for a movie called Ant-Man
* For those playing at home the Marvel Cinematic Universe includes (at the moment) Iron Man (1,2&3), Thor (1&2), Captain America (1,2 & 3), The Incredible Hulk, Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man, and the Avengers(1&2). It also contains the Agents of SHIELD, Agent Carter and Daredevil TV Shows. It does not contain any of the previous Spiderman films, though through a deal between Marvel and Sony, the new Spiderman films will be part of the MCU, any of the X-Men Movies or any movies with Mutants, any of the Fantastic-4 films, nor the first Hulk film, Blade Films and Daredevil Films, though Hulk, Blade and Daredevil film rights are now back with Marvel.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Directed by – Peyton Reed
Screenplay by – Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish, Adam McKay & Paul Rudd
Story by – Edgar Wright & Joe Cornish
Based on – ‘Ant-Man’ by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber &Jack Kirby
Starring – Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Bobby Cannavale, Michael Piña, Tip ‘T.I.’ Harris, Anthony Mackie, Wood Haris, Judy Greer, David Dastmalchian, Abby Ryder & Michael Douglas
Rating – Australia: PG; Canada: PG; Ireland: 12A; NZ: M; UK: 12A; USA: PG-13