Well it’s opening night here in the U.S., and for us comic book movie fans we were treated to the film that is Ant-Man. If you were able to make it there I’m sure you are just as thrilled and happy as I am. This movie is nothing short of a full-on accomplishment on Marvel’s already spectacular record. There are just so many things that work in this film, and so little that doesn’t. This movie is so good that it actually stands out amongst the films on Marvel’s roster already, and that is truly saying something. So, let’s shrink down to the Quantum Realm and dissect this movie down to the smallest minutia!
Immediately, the standout act in this film is its leading man Paul Rudd. And, when I say leading man, I really mean it. This is definitely an ensemble movie, but much like Cap or Iron Man, Scott leads his team throughout the movie. Paul Rudd brings this amazing sense of heart and compassion that is just not seen to this degree in any other Marvel film. His acting also helped make him, for myself at least, the most relatable (soon to be) Avenger to date. Rudd has this charisma that isn’t based in being a big presence, but rather being the everyman. He plays a regular guy, with albeit amazing talents, so well that his unique charisma is based on his ability to make you feel like he is someone we know. Rudd is the perfect balance between funny, realistically normal, heroic, compassionate, and heartfelt. There wasn’t a single moment watching his performance that I thought he did something wrong, or unskillfully. Rudd, as a leading man, creates a very interesting character with Scott Lang, and I can’t wait to see him interact more and more with other Avengers.
I shit you not. Michael Peña is the funniest character in this movie. I will go even further and say that he’s funnier than any other side character in any other Marvel film. He’s better than Drax, Rocket Racoon, Rhodey, Loki, Falcon, Black Widow, or any other character that has been put at #2 or used for comic relief. You can tell he just enjoyed every minute of this film, and that his character was written masterfully. He was so well rounded with his comedy and role that he fit in like the last piece of a difficult puzzle. He gets the largest laughs throughout the film hands down. Interestingly, Michael brings a similar sense of realism to his character much like Paul. He seems so much like a normal person, with again great talents, that you almost forget that he is performing some amazing feats. I can’t wait to see more of his stories played out, and I want to hear about everything going on in his life over and over again.
Evangeline Lilly & Michael Douglas
Hope and Hank’s relationship working was either make it or break it for this film. In my opinion, both actors masterfully crafted this father/daughter relationship so well that it not only made the film, but elevated it even further. After learning of Janet’s possible death, and Hank’s crusade to save her while alienating Hope was such a touching moment in the film that made you really feel the pain and heartbreak that both characters felt. Not only was Michael Douglas perfect in his balance between harshness, compassion, and heartache, but Evangeline worked off of that so well. You could feel the vitriol she had towards her father while simultaneously wanting to prove herself to him. This relationship is really the backbone of the film.
This movie is all about redemption. Marvel has taken swings towards redemption stories before with Thor, Guardians of the Galaxy, and even Iron Man to an extent. However, while all of those movies are great, none of them are at their cores stories of redemption. Thor may have to be worthy to wield his hammer, the Guardians are crooks joined together to do some good, and Iron Man stopped selling weapons, but Ant-Man is all about doing what’s right for not only the sake of his world, but for the world he’ll leave behind for his daughter. He also wants to live up to the expectations of his daughter and be the man that she needs/wants him to be. This is his driving force throughout the film, and helps create a nice blanket of emotion that covers the entire plot. Not only with Scott do we see his motivations driven by redemption, but also with Hank Pym. His depression and anguish caused by guilt for not only losing his wife and being unable to save her, but also his alienating his own daughter in pursuit for his wife. He has lost the most important person in his life, while driving away the only other person he loves. For years he’s lived with this weight, and it is now his time to make-up for the wrongs he committed and be the father he needs to be. This movie, while being hilarious and action-packed, hit me on an emotional level that few Marvel films do. I think this is largely in part due to the focus of this film, but as mentioned earlier, the relatability of each character. I think both go hand in hand though, because most people can’t relate to being worthy to wield a hammer, stopping the sales of arms, or saving the galaxy with aliens, but many people can relate to hurting the ones they love the most. And like both Scott and Hank, we all want nothing more than to try and redeem ourselves in the eyes of those people we hurt, and make amends for the harm we caused.
Now you might be wondering I chose this photo of Corey Stoll rather than one of him in costume. That is because, Marvel always has villains that look enticing, but rarely deliver to be memorable or compelling. However, Corey Stoll as Darren Cross is absolutely memorable and enticing. His best moments are all when he’s out of the suit. He is brutal, brilliant, and psycho. He is a villain that is cunning and perceptive rather than one who relies on brute strength. His suit does definitely make him a great match for Ant-Man in battle, but his political maneuvering, cutthroat business tactics, and brilliant perception make him a match for both Hank and Scott on a physical and mental level. I really think we’ll be seeing more of him once he escapes the quantum realm. I hope Marvel doesn’t throw this character away because he was one of their better villains.
This part is short, but WE’RE GETTING WASP! And, as Hope says, “About damn time!” I’m excited to be seeing this original Avenger alongside Scott in more adventures. The costume looks so damn good too. I can’t wait to see their final product.
What Didn’t Work?
Don’t get me wrong, I loved every moment of this film. There are just times where I felt like they could have slowed things down for a minute to let me catch my breath. Also, the montage used for his training, while being fucking great, still left me desiring a bit more. Also, I wish they would have explained a bit more of the science. I might be alone on this, but I love hearing all of that mumbo jumbo when watching a film where my protagonists are people that work with this kind of material. I feel like the science was adequately explained, but not necessarily given enough spotlight. Also, by the end of the movie, my group and I all collectively said, “Oh shit. Is this the end already? I thought there was definitely going to be something else.” I think this is in large due to the nonstop pace. As much as I enjoy it, the pace can make the movie connect a bit less than it would if it slowed down enough for me to sit back and understand each plot point a bit more. This isn’t a huge problem, but it was definitely something I immediately noticed at the end of the film.
Let me just say, I loved this after credit scene by itself. But, it just did not feel connected enough to Ant-Man. Also, when Cap says they’re on their own, that is such bullshit. Literally, almost all of the Avengers are going to be on Cap’s side. It doesn’t really make sense that he can’t seem to trust anyone at this point other than Falcon. In fact, it seems even more unlikely that he’d suddenly trust Ant-Man after Falcon had one encounter with him and THEY FOUGHT. I really love that we’re getting some Civil War footage, but was that really the best tie-in we could get? It just didn’t seem to jive that well with what I had just seen with Ant-Man.
This movie delivers on so many levels. It is Marvel’s most relatable movie. Marvel is changing the game they started, and they still crush it. Ant-Man is just the beginning. Even though Marvel is moving more and more towards fantastical stories, I think it is important for them to create characters that we feel more in common with because it creates a whole other level of experience when watching the movie. Ant-Man was a great movie, and is my #3 all-time favorite Marvel movie. If you haven’t seen it already, and for some reason read all of these spoilers, then I implore you to go out and see it. Then, go home and relish in the glory you witnessed, then get the fuck back out there and see it again!
As always, please be sure to tell me what you guys thought of the movie, as well as my points on it. Do you agree with me? Am I stupid? Did you hate Ant-Man? Be sure to sound off below! It really does help if you be sure to share this and like it as well as follow me on Twitter @HaneyCasey, MoviePilot.com/HaneyCasey, and on my website SlackerNerds.com. Thanks for reading!