So I watched Ant-Man…
The final trailer for this movie and Avengers: Age of Ultron dropped around the same time and after seeing the two trailers, I had a sneaky suspicion that I would like Ant-Man more than I liked Age of Ultron. And guess what? That suspicion was correct.
Okay, basic plot: Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is a master thief who’s just been released from prison and wants to straighten his life out so that he can be allowed to see his daughter. Unfortunately straightening out his life doesn’t come easy and Lang falls back to his criminal ways. Lang steals a mysterious suit from the home of Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) – the founder and former owner of Pym Tech who also moonlit as the superhero – Ant-Man. Pym recruits Lang and tasks him with becoming the Ant-Man in order to prevent Darren Cross (Pym’s former apprentice) from recreating the technology behind The Ant-Man suit and using it for evil.
I loved this movie. It feels like a throwback to the kind of superhero movies that were made before superhero movies were cool. It’s measured and patient in its build-up and takes a lot of time setting up the hero, in fact, this movie (in terms of style) feels like a cross between the first Spiderman movie and the first Iron Man movie. This movie devotes the majority of its time to training montages and showing us how Scott learns to control the suit and its power. I’ve always liked this approach to superhero movies because it illustrates that being a superhero isn’t just about having a power or an ability; it’s about transforming yourself from an ordinary person to this extraordinary person who does good.
Paul Rudd was the perfect choice for this character. He’s a character with a lot of humour and heart but he’s also very accessible. I know Rudd went through the standard six pack and bicep treatment that you need to play a superhero these days but he still feels like an average guy and there’s something about seeing average people doing amazing things that helps you connect with the characters. Speaking of connecting with characters, here’s a sentence I never thought I’d say: I was so sad when one of the ants in this movie died. One of the features of Ant-Man’s suit is that it allows the wearer to communicate with and control ants. So the ants are a big part of this movie and form part of Ant-Man’s army and, as happens with most armies, soldiers die and you wouldn’t expect to care about ants dying but you do and you will.
Going into this movie I’d heard multiple reports about how amazing Michael Peña is in this movie and that he steals the show. When I hear such things I tend to become a bit apprehensive and expect to be disappointed because hype and expectation often ruin movies but Peña lives up to the hype. He plays Luis, Lang’s former cellmate and all round professional idiot and he’s hilarious. From the way he speaks to what he actually says, I was close to rolling on the floor with laughter. Michael Douglas and Evangeline Lilly also do fantastic jobs as father and daughter, Hank and Hope Pym. I’m really excited about seeing more of Lily in future Ant-Man movies because she’s a real badass.
The biggest problem I’ve had with Marvel movies post-Avengers is that none of them felt like they truly existed in the universe created by the first Avengers movie. If the world is in peril, shouldn’t your first job be to call The Avengers? This movie addresses that and makes quite a few references to The Avengers and explains why their presence isn’t needed or wanted. There’s also a very subtle reference to the presence of Spider-Man somewhere out there which I loved. The universe that Marvel is creating is amazing and watching Marvel be able to make movies for it’s B-list heroes just shows how far away DC is from matching them let alone beating them.
The only problem I had with this movie, is the same problem I have with most Marvel movies – the villain is extremely vapid. I think Corey Stoll does some solid acting as Darren Cross/Yellowjacket but he isn’t given the screen-time or large enough proportion of the script to make him a truly memorable villain. Like most Marvel villains, he’s evil because he’s evil and the character doesn’t have any substance to him. I really hope Marvel figure out how to write interesting villains soon because it’s a problem that isn’t getting any better.
Overall, this movie is so much fun. I was laughing from start to finish and there’s a great sense of the traditional spirit of superhero movies in this film. I enjoyed this a lot more than Age of Ultron (yup, I said it). Worth a watch 8/10
P.S. Don’t make the same rookie mistake I made. This is a Marvel movie, there’s going to be a mid AND post-credits scene so stick around.