Movie Review: Ant-Man!

Paul-Rudd-Ant-Man-Movie

MOVIE REVIEW!!
Marvel’s latest hero to hit the big screen is here, but is the absence of Edgar Wright too much for Scott Lang to overcome? Find out here!

MV5BMjM2NTQ5Mzc2M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTcxMDI2NTE@._V1_SX640_SY720_Ant-Man (2015)

Starring: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Michael Pena

Directed By: Peyton Reed

MINOR SPOILERS

Ant-Man is always going to be a “what if” movie. Like The Dark Knight Rises or X-Men 3, it’s a film that will always have an alternate reality version where the original plan for the film (in this case Edgar Wright directing) stayed intact. However, despite the behind the scenes drama, Ant-Man is an extremely solid Marvel movie. Sure, it doesn’t have the stakes or star power of any of the Avengers films, or the off-beat quirk that made Guardians of the Galaxy a smash, but the Peyton Reed directed superhero flick has a charm all it’s own, and shines brightest when it focuses on Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang and Michael Douglas’ Hank Pym.

Ant-Man finds former criminal Scott Lang (Rudd) released from prison and attempting to get his life back on track so he can see his daughter. Of course, old habits die hard after being fired from another crappy fast food job, and his latest burglary brings him to the attention of Hank Pym, the former CEO of Pym Industries. Pym needs Lang to help him stop his former protégé Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) from selling his “Pym Particle” program that can shrink humans down to the size of insects. With help from Pym’s daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly), Lang and Pym set out to steal Cross’ new Yellowjacket suit and wreck his plans for the future.

What makes Ant-Man work is, for lack of a better term, the smaller scale of the film. Sure, Hank Pym says that his Pym particle suit would be potentially disastrous in the wrong hands, but despite this the film doesn’t really seem like it’s dealing with a world-threatening threat like Age of Ultron. In fact, Ant-Man has more in common with heist films like The Italian Job or The Bank Job than any of the other Marvel films, and that’s what makes this movie a breath of fresh air. It’s Marvel trying out their brand in a whole new different genre, and for the most part it works.

Ant-Man’s casting for the two leads is what makes it so entertaining. Paul Rudd’s natural charm shines in the role, and downloadI’m extremely happy that he’s in the MCU now for the long haul. His Scott Lang is instantly relatable from the moment we meet him, and his scenes with his daughter set the emotional stakes of the movie extremely well. Also great is Michael Douglas’ Hank Pym, who’s definitely got a bit of the anger issue that we all know from the comics. Douglas sells his lines perfectly, and seems to be enjoying his role as Pym. But as good as these two are, they can’t hold a candle to Michael Pena’s Luis, Scott Lang’s buddy in crime. Pena steals every scene he’s in, so much so that if Marvel announced a spin off anything starring his character I’d be there in a heartbeat.

As good as these guys are, Ant-Man’s still not without its faults. Corey Stoll’s Darren Cross is yet again a victim of Marvel’s lackluster villains Achilles’ heel. With the exception of Loki and Winter Soldier, there are still not a lot of memorable villains in the MCU (and no, Thanos doesn’t count yet). Cross’ motivations are sound, but at the same time there’s a feeling that much of the details of his plan were left on the cutting room floor. While the movie’s final battle with Yellowjacket is a ton of fun and has some great visual gags, Cross and Lang don’t really have a lot to fight over. In many ways the Cross and Pym rivalry is the conflict that’s more interesting, and the scenes between Stoll and Douglas are way better than the ones between Stoll and Rudd. Evangeline Lily’s Hope Van Dyne also gets shorted here, in a role that starts off promising but eventually goes the route you were hoping it wouldn’t (there’s the promise of more of her in the MCU, but who knows if that will even come to pass).

Ant-Man also has some weird jumps in logic. Pym mentions that his Pym Particles can have negative effects on the human brain, but no one seems to mention or worry about it’s effects on Lang. There’s also the mandatory exposition dump in act two, and at times some of the MCU tie-in lines seem a little tacked on. But for the most part Ant-Man is still plenty entertaining. There’s a spectacular cameo that’s arguably the highlight of the movie (assuming that the marketing for the movie hasn’t spoiled it for you), and the shrinking effects are extremely impressive.

Judging from the Thursday night early screening audience, Ant-Man probably won’t be the surprise megahit that Guardians of the Galaxy was, which is a shame. Despite its problems both on screen and behind them, Ant-Man ends up being a really entertaining film, and has a lot of charm. It’s far from the train wreck that many fans were worried it would be. At this point, Marvel Studios has earned the right to take risks, and for this to be the film that ends up taking the box office hit would be a real shame. Sure, Marvel’s decision to go forward with this film after Wright’s departure was probably more for financial reasons than for entertainment ones, but Ant-Man’s still a lot better than it has any right to be, and proof that the more Marvel diversifies the types of films they release, the stronger they become.

Verdict: B

Jonwahizzle is a comic book slinger for Jetpack Comics Follow him on twitter and check out his blog, The Collective: Examples of Nerdery for more!

11 thoughts on “Movie Review: Ant-Man!

  1. I saw it last night, and like you said there wasn’t a huge audience in my theater either. Still, I loved it and it’s now in my top 3 marvel films. Winter Soldier > Guardians > Ant Man imo.

  2. I just saw it. I enjoyed it though I saw it more as a launching point for phase 3. Hopefully word of mouth gets more asses in seats. It’s lucky it’s only major competition is Jurassic World despite that film being out for a month.

  3. I really enjoyed Ant-Man it ranks higher than I thought it would. Avengers 2 had me owing and awing with intense action and laying down the foundation for Phase 3 but Ant-Man had me charmed. It had the right amount of serious story telling and humor were I felt like I wasn’t being mocked for liking the film, especially since it seems the “can we change the name” line was either cut or just a punch line for the trailer. Sad to say in my home town the early screening only had 1 show compared to Avenger AoU’s two and still only managed to fill a third of the theater.

  4. We watched it at our theater the other night. With all it’s production problems it held together way better then I expected and while not bad it wasn’t good either.Very middle of the road mediocre. I was surprised by it’s lack of action as well. Also other then sneaking into places he felt very weak and vulnerable when he would shrink kinda defeating the suits purpose. Definitely one of the weakest marvel movies IMO.

  5. I saw it last night and really enjoyed it, my wife said it was her favorite Marvel film to date. It definitely ranks up high with me. I’ve been recommending everyone go see it. I was certain it was going to be a disaster but I feel that a good amount of the Edgar Wright writing/directing survived to this cut. I also thought Paul Rudd was great and I look forward to seeing him in future Marvel films 🙂

  6. The movie seemed very busy to me, which is good because I was never bored. But I didn’t feel like it didn’t really shine until the last 30 minutes. That whole segment was pretty incredible and felt a lot more focused. Paul Rudd was, in the most positive way possible, fine. He was marketed as a “reluctant superhero”, but I never saw that. He seemed to be pretty down to be Ant-Man the whole time. Michael Douglas was the star here imo. He was just fantastic. Altogether I would give this movie 3 bags of popcorn and an ant-size soda.

  7. Just saw it and I liked it, but it is probably in the middle of the Marvel movies for me. For some reason I just kept seeing Paul Rudd, not Scott Lang, so I could never really get into the movie.Very excited about the second post-credit scene and always good to see Avon Barkesdale in a movie.

  8. I think I actually liked this movie better than age of Ultron overall. The story is better told, and it was very funny as well.

    Also, the reviewer seems to have missed the explanation for the ant man helmet. Using that protects the brain from the effects of the particle. Pym and cross were affected because both had to you with the process without the helmet. But Scott always had the helmet on.

  9. I saw it opening day but more because it was convenient than because I was super excited to see it. Turns out I was really glad I did because it was much better than I expected it to be. While it definitely wasn’t as good overall, Ant-man’s tone and charm was occasionally reminiscent of Guardians for me. Also, despite Wright’s departure, I could definitely see his fingerprints all over it.

    The only place where I seem to disagree with pretty much everyone is Cross. I actually liked him as a villain. I mean, he’s not charming (Loki) or a terminator (Winter Soldier) but I found his motivations grounded and realistic. The only issue I had is that they kept blaming his actions on the mental effects of the Pym Particles (those effects were actually my only big issue with the film, it would have been better without that plot point).

    All in all, a fun movie though. It left more of an impression that Age of Ultron.

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