Director: Peyton Reed
Writer: Edgar Wright, Josh Cornish, Adam McKay, Paul Rudd, Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby
Stars: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll
Ant-Man is the latest instalment of the much beloved Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and accomplishes one of the funniest, if not the funniest Marvel superhero movie to date.
Ant-Man stars Paul Rudd as Scott Lang, a master burglar and struggling father, who is recruited as the new Ant-Man by revolutionary scientist and Ant-Man predecessor Dr. Hank Pym to save the world from mad scientist Darren Cross (Corey Stoll).
After a disappointing departure of Edgar Wright as director, it really left me wondering whether or not this movie is going to be any good for the MCU or be another one of the few rotten apples in the MCU basket. Edgar Wright is in my opinion one of the most talented directors to date with credits to The Cornetto Trilogy and one of my favourite movies Scott Pilgrim vs The World, and so when a director of that caliber leaves a project like this leaves you wondering why he left, whether he realise its going to be flop or perhaps creative differences, either way he decided to leave and left his contribution to the screenplay. And so when I sat down not knowing what to expect my doubts where silenced.
Ant-Man is a movie that knows its ridiculous, and plays on that note humorously throughout the movie, but not in a cheesy and repetitive manor. As well as Edgar Wright's departure, Paul Rudd's casting in the movie left me puzzled, but yet again my doubts were silenced. Paul Rudd plays Scott Lang perfectly and is without a doubt the best and most likeable characters of the movie, maybe even on par with Chris Pratt in Guardians of the Galaxy. His comedic style and presence slotted in perfectly with the writing and the atmosphere that is so perfectly radiated by Paul Rudd and his three companions Luis (Michael Pena), Kurt (David Dastmalchian) and Dave (T.I.).
Alongside the comedy, the action and special effects sequences are superb and so immersive and fun to watch. Whenever Paul Rudd puts on that Ant-Man suit I was immediately transfixed and I knew I was in for adrenaline fuelled action scenes that were so invigorating to watch. Even when you became so involved in the action scenes the comedy element would blend in excellently leaving you laughing whilst having your eyes fixed on the screen to see what would happen next. The science that explains how Scott Lang is able to shrink to the size of an insect is surprisingly so fascinating and interesting to hear and is broken down so its not overly scientific and impossible to understand, sometimes it even led my mind to wonder what the science could do in reality.
Michael Douglas who plays the original Ant-Man plays Hank Pym to a tee. You understand his struggle with his daughter Hope played by Evangeline Lilly and his company and science, all three of which cause him great moral strain but he conveys a performance that makes you realise he loves them all dearly. His references to The Avengers and the Stark family are also very clever and funny, which leads me on to my next positive point.
A film like Ant-Man, that is so unusual and almost unheard of when comparing it to the bigger Marvel characters you wonder if its going to fit in with the Marvel franchise. The writers cleared this worry when expertly placing a member of The Avengers in hilarious but clever style, which does to my delight potentially set up later instalments of Ant-Man in later Marvel productions.
Putting these great components aside the movie does fall short on a couple of things which may not come as a surprise to Marvel movie fans. The problem with the villains is still not solved. While Corey Stoll does play a convincing and disturbing villain, his character Darren Cross or the Yellowjacket isn't greatly expanded. It seems to be in many Marvel features the villains besides Loki that we love are either just wiped out in a puff of air or just not developed. Ultron was excellent in Avengers: Age of Ultron but again was just wiped out and not massively developed, Ronan was convincing but not greatly developed and again wiped out and many others that appear in the Marvel stand alone movies are just expanded which refrains me from attaching and understanding them. Thats what DC do so well, expanding their villains, creating and developing a villain that you can relate to, and I'd love for Marvel to use this philosophy with Thanos in the upcoming Infinity War movies.
The lead female role is also a little stale, the aforementioned issues with Hank Pym and his daughter Hope do work and are believable, however there were too many scenes where their daddy-daughter issues began to look a bit ridiculous. With a movie that is this funny, you do need an element of emotion to balance the ridiculous with the reality, and whilst this did do so by creating a convincing sub plot, it dragged a little with an annoying performance from Evangeline Lilly at times. There were also a few plot holes here and there which I think Marvel are at fault for, as the board and producers will want certain scenes in certain movies which seems to be an occurring element as we lead up to the Infinity War movies.
These negatives are soon overshadowed by great fun, entertainment and performances from Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas due to great comedic screenplay and accompanied by great special effects to create a much more badass Honey I Shrunk the Kids. This movie deserves every bit of money it gets and is perhaps the best stand alone superhero movie of the MCU.