In early 2008 when such movies like Iron Man and the Incredible Hulk were on their way to being released, nobody ever really expected things to do as well as they did.
Years later, after the overwhelming success of Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America; it was time to make franchises out of anything they had rights to.
This is where films like Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant Man were announced. Practically Z-list heroes that nobody knew a thing about, suddenly thrust into the world of movies. Since the Avengers became a household name, Marvel was willing to take the risk. And after Guardians was another big success, Ant Man was to follow up.
I'll be the first to admit, I was a bit shocked to hear that Ant Man would be coming out before Doctor Strange or Captain Marvel. And not to mention knowing a bit of comic book history I wasn't so sure if Ant Man was the right superhero to start with next.
Sure enough, I saw the film last night and I walked out pleasantly surprised. Rather than treating the movie like a traditional superhero film, Ant Man became something a little different. As Hank Pym (played by Michael Douglas) was some sort of secret agent fighting along side his wife Janet Van Dyne, against the Soviets during the Cold War. Unlike the comics where Hank and Janet were original Avengers, Marvel changed things up a bit.
Enter Scott Lang (played by Paul Rudd), professional thief and martyr who took from the rich and gave back to the poor. And then got caught. Now trying to put his life back together for the sake of his daughter Cassie. When stuck with the idea that he actually has to work for a living, he quickly turns back to crime and successfully pulls off a heist that leads him to the Ant Man suit.
Things get interesting when he is pulled into working a heist to stop Pym's apprentice Aaron Cross from recreating his secret formula to shrinking things. Which Hank believes could create utter chaos.
So with the help of the suit, Scotts heist buddies, and armies of four different species of Ants. They pull off one of the most creatively executed heists I've seen in a movie.
Like Guardians, we're given a different angle into the superhero genre. One where things aren't as spectacular as crashing the Stark Expo, or taking down three Helicarriers. The plot seems simpler and more humble. In the sense that this is about personal vendettas and second chances. Rather than stopping the bad guys from destroying/taking over/profiting from the world.
Paul Rudd's performance is what you'd expect, the snarky sarcastic guy who just wants a second chance at life. Almost reminiscent of Spiderman in a few ways. Douglas plays a very suave and deeply scarred Hank Pym and his chemistry with his daughter Hope (played by Evangeline Lily) really adds to the depth of the characters history which is vastly different from what many comic readers would already be familiar with.
The villain however; typical to Marvel's usual formula, is somewhat flat and not as interesting as what I would have hoped. Like most Marvel movie villains, he's less of a colorful character and more of an obstacle that needs to be overcome by the hero. Which ultimately takes away a lot of the stakes when the final battle of the film comes around.
Aaron Cross seems somewhat angry with Hank for not letting him in on the Ant Man secret and figures out how to replicate it anyway. And then just goes crazy. There is no sympathy, or any other justifiable reason to relate to Aaron.
He's just kind of a dick.
Apart from that, the visuals and the fight sequences are fantastic and something we really haven't experienced in movies. Not since "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids!" of course. Theres even a tussle between Ant Man and Falcon at the new Avengers HQ from Age of Ultron. And it's actually cool to see how they interact with eachother.
Ant Man is a fun movie, and really has a distance between his heavyweight cousins like Thor and Iron Man. It's really refreshing to see something different with each movie that doesn't feature the Avengers. And that seems to fit Marvel's formula best.
All in all, go and see it. The visuals are interesting, the acting is solid, the story isn't too complicated. It's only the villain that really weakens the whole thing.
Also, don't forget to stay after the credits for two scenes. One of which will feature a short glimpse into another upcoming Marvel film!
Until next time, happy moviegoing!