Marvel currently have an assembly line for superhero movies with a production schedule taking them right up to 2020 at least. With Ant-Man however, they’ve broken the mould and done something very very different.
In what could be considered Marvel’s most ambitious project to date, Ant-Man brings us an entirely new look the superhero/comic book movie genre. If Guardians of the Galaxy was Marvel’s Star Wars-esque Space Opera, then Ant-Man was their attempt at a classic comedic heist movie… And it did not disappoint.
Hardcore Marvel fans could be forgiven for having their doubts throughout the production of the film. Marvel going with Scott Lang as Ant-Man instead of Hank Pym, the Edgar Wright fiasco, and Ant-Man in general not being the most bankable hero when it comes to a more casual audience.
Their doubts however, were dispelled. Paul Rudd proved overwhelmingly why he & Scott Lang were the right men for an Ant-Man adaptation.Taking much from the “To Steal An Ant-Man” comic arc, Ant-Man provides us with two hours of solid fun and humour along the lines of Oceans 11 while still being very much a Marvel superhero movie.
Scott Lang (Rudd) is fresh out of San Quentin prison after a sentence for Grand Larceny, attempting to get on the right track so he can care for his daughter Cassie, when a tip from his old colleagues leads him to breaking into “an old billionaires” house while he is away. Little does Lang know that said billionaire is one Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), creator of the Pym Particle that makes the mechanics of the Ant-Man suit possible. Lang finds himself wrapped up in Pym’s plan to stop his old apprentice Darren Cross (Corey Stoll), now CEO of Pym Technologies, from recreating the Pym Particle for the nefarious Yellow Jacket suit and selling it to an old enemy.
Chaos is guaranteed especially in some of the most fantastic fight scenes we’ve seen in any superhero movie, never mind a Marvel movie. The shrinking/growing dynamics provide surprisingly destructive and hilarious contests. The Thomas the Tank Engine scene from the trailer provides the best example of this (we don’t want to spoil the best one!). While miniscule, we see wanton destruction caused by Ant-Man and Yellow Jacket trading blows, but zoom out to a standard perspective and you simply see a toy train flying across the room. The concept is fantastic on screen and massive credit to Marvel for making it work so well.
The chemistry between Rudd, Douglas and Evangeline Lilly, who plays Pym’s daughter Hope Van Dyne makes for great viewing. The tension of the fraught relationship Pym & his daughter have is balanced well with the wisecracking Lang providing excellent comic relief. Combine this with Lang’s just about competent crew which includes Tip “T.I” Harris, the end result is Marvel’s funniest effort to date that still manages to pull at the heart strings throughout. Ant-Man will make you laugh, make you cry, and make you crave another ant-sized adventure.
While the focus is clearly on Lang, Pym & co. and rightfully so, it is their movie. Marvel once again has demoted the villain to a bit-part player. Yellow Jacket/Darren Cross while showing great potential as a crazed maniacal villain is swatted away quite quickly… and quite literally. Once again Marvel proving that unless you’re Loki or Thanos you won’t last very long. However this doesn’t take away from Ant-Man’s quality as a tremendously fun caper for anyone with half an interest in comic book movies.
As mentioned previously, Rudd proved without a doubt why Scott Lang & him playing the character were the right men for the shrinking hero. While many criticised Marvel for not going with Hank Pym as the titular hero, Rudd’s performance and penchant for hilarious one-liners provides a very different and more entertaining character than a younger Pym would have. Douglas is fantastic in the role as Lang’s mentor and there is always the avenue of a prequel movie detailing Pym’s adventures.
Another question raised during the lead-up to Ant-Man is where exactly it would fit in the Marvel Universe, and if it was going to at all. However tie-ins to the greater MCU are apparent from the outset. References, cameos, easter-eggs and name drops firmly cement Ant-Man‘s position in the MCU. Throw in two stellar end credits scenes and it’s job done as far as Marvel are concerned.
Overall, Ant-Man is a solid instalment within the MCU and while it’s not the best movie Marvel have produced, it has certainly proved Ant-Man‘s potential to mix it with the bigger kids in the superhero playground. A massively fun adventure that once again doesn’t require you to have any knowledge of the character to enjoy and again provides a refreshing alternative to the typical comic book adventure. And remember folks! Stay in those seats until the very end!
Marvel’s Ant-Man is in theatres now!