Ant-Man has hit the screens and it is so much more than many of us expected it to be. With all the production problems, delays and the departure of director/writer Edgar Wright and some actors, the project looked like it would be the first miss Marvel would have had in years. But, director Peyton Reed and the new members of the team managed to steer the ship in the right direction and Ant-Man turned out to be a fun and special movie.
Ant-Man takes place after the events in Avengers: Age of Ultron, but the story is so reminiscent of the Phase One origin movies, that it could have featured anywhere in the MCU timeline, as only 5 minutes of the whole movie have any reference to the rest of the cinematic universe. Armed with a super-suit with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, con-man Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) must embrace his inner hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), plan and pull off a heist that will save the world. The menace comes from Darren Cross (Corey Stoll), Pym’s old protege, who is trying to develop a similar shrinking formula, to sell to the highest bidder. Scott and Pym are helped by the doctor’s daughter, Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), who is working closely with Cross and by Scott’s old gang from his burlgar days. Ant-Man has a very direct story, not too many twists, but it plays very nice into this whole universe Marvel has created and is a very different kind of movie, just like Captain America: The Winter Soldier was. Nothing to complain about here, but nothing to praise either.
When it comes to the actors, Ant-Man really delivers. All of them play their characters very well, with a few exceptions, each playing their role in this ensemble and two of them really stand out. First of all, Paul Rudd is a delight in this movie. I don’t know how he will fit into the greater Marvel team, but in this movie he really gives Scott Lang a bright, comedic and serious spirit and really creates an unique character in the MCU. Unlike other heroes, that fight for their country, for fame or other grand reasons, Scott Lang fights to give his daughter a better life. The parallel between his relationship with his daughter and Pym’s relationship with Hope makes one of the better points of this movie. Next on the list is Michael Douglas. I read that he also had problems with Edgar‘s departure, but in the end, he managed to give a fun and credible performance with this new team in place. Unlike Robert Redford in Winter Soldier, who gave a good, but stereotypical performance and seem to be there only to bring his name on the table, Michael Douglas really fits into this movie. Maybe because he is one of the good guys and gets a better portrait, more background story and more interaction with those around him. His chemistry with Paul Rudd in the mentor – protege relationship really stands out and even his interaction with Evangeline Lilly is convincing enough, albeit not as good. Evangeline doesn’t give a very strong performance, but honestly speaking, she doesn’t really have much to work with, except for the build-up to another female superhero Marvel so desperately needs. The weakest link in this movie is Darren Cross really. The former apprentice of Hank Pym has very very simple motivations as a villain (greed, money) and also, his relationship with his ex-mentor is poorly constructed. After seeing Corey Stoll in House of Cards, I really think he has talent, but, as usual, Marvel wastes talent on one-sided villains. The supporting cast is worth mentioning, but is not really worthy of high praises: Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer and T.I, but Michael Peña really is the comedic soul of Ant-Man.
Though they could be counted as characters, the ants themselves, present in the movie a lot, go into the CGI category, that really deserves its praise. All the effects are at the standard Marvel has familiarized us with, but the cinematography is what stands out in Ant-Man. The scenes when Scott uses the costume and all the world becomes bigger through his eyes are beautifully done using macro photography, a method wich really gives details to all the objects Ant-Man sees around him. The music also deservers recognition, as it stands different from all the superhero typical music we have been accustomed with. Christophe Beck manages to capture the spirit of the comicbook hero and merge it with some heist movie feeling.
In the end, Ant-Man has its flaws, but manages to stand out and deliver a fun, entertaining and fresh superhero movie.