Going into Ant-Man with only mild expectations, I found myself greatly disappointed after the only first few minutes. I quickly grew bored of sub-par performances from lead actors: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, and Corey Stoll - to the point that it holds back the surprisingly strong performance from Evangeline Lilly. Although, shallow character development and cliche story arcs make it difficult to deliver believable character portrayals in this latest installment into the Marvel universe.
Ant-Man follows Scott Lang (Rudd), an ex-convict with street and book smarts, trying find his path as well as become a good role model for his daughter, Cassie (Abby Ryder Forston). Opposite of Rudd is Michael Douglas who plays Dr. Hank Pym, a scientist who is desperately trying to keep his invention out of the wrong hands as well as rekindle the relationship with his estranged daughter, Hope (Lilly).
At its heights, Ant-Man is a witty action flick that looks great, especially in IMAX 3D, and provides some of the biggest laughs in any Marvel film to date. At its lows, the film fails to deliver on emotional payoffs, becomes frustratingly predictable, and untimely quips make it difficult to form any connection with the characters.
The last act is easily the strongest with solid action sequences and a well timed comedic presence by both T.I. and Michael Pena. With of all of the fun and excitement at the back end of the film, it is easy to forget about the slow first two thirds of the film - leaving audiences walking out of the theater on a more positive note.
A welcome cameo by Anthony Mackie, Falcon, at about the midpoint of the film is also fun and gives the audience an idea of what it will be like to have the Ant-Man as part of the avengers. As shallow as the character development is in this movie, Paul Rudd does feel like a solid addition to the team. Although, this is also part of the problem with the stand alone film.
Before the final act, Ant-Man feels like a long trailer for Captain America: Civil War, but featuring our newest Avenger. It doesn't dare to offer anything new, and instead recycles a lot of story that we have seen so many times since the first Iron-Man film. Marvel promises a witty heist film, and does deliver, but falls short in other areas previously stated.
There will be a lot of talk about whether or not Edgar Wright would have done a better job than director Peyton Reed, but you won't find that chat in this post. With the material given, Reed actually did an admirable job. Marvel primarily focused on the comedic aspects in the hiring of writer Adam McKay and the addition of Rudd with writing credits - and it certainly shows.
I give Ant-Man a score of 5.5 out of 10, which is slightly higher than the average score of 5 on my scale. If 5 is average than this film is only slightly above that line for me. It could have fallen far below if not for the exceptional final act that almost made me forget about the, at times, horrendous first two thirds of the film. For completion sake, this film is a must watch to keep up with the expanding Marvel universe - but once is enough. When the film finally gets its feet underneath it, Ant-Man excels. The only problem is that it takes too long for the story to arrive at that point. I believe that Paul Rudd will be a good addition to the Avenger line-up, but the stand alone Ant-Man movie may prove to be a forgettable experience.
Sound off in the comments below and let me know what you thought of Marvel's "Ant-Man."