Cat burglar Scott Lang must embrace his inner hero and become the Ant-Man to pull off a heist that will save the world.
Paul Rudd - Scott Lang / Ant-Man
Michael Douglas - Hank Pym
Evangeline Lilly - Hope van Dyne
Corey Stoll - Darren Cross
Since the late 1980's there have been attempts made at producing a film based on a lesser known Marvel comics hero, Ant-Man. The first was made by the hero's co-creator and king of Marvel, of course it was Stan Lee, but unfortunately the idea was dropped. Then director Edgar Wright, who is most known for his Cornetto Trilogy which featured the infamous duo Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, and Joe Cornish, a fantastic writer who also did a brilliant job of directing Attack the Block, took on the task of developing a script for an Ant-Man film, a process which started twelve years ago in 2003. However, it took a long time for the idea to reach fruition, and the journey to the film that has made it to our big screens today was troubled, tortured and tangled. The film suffered various production problems, with the most concerning being the departure of director Wright in 2014 over differences in visions. Peyton Reed took over from Wright, a director used to American comedies, and with that decision Marvel Studios hoped and prayed that despite the difficulties the film would still be a success. Thankfully Reed and his team have made Marvel proud with a funny, entertaining and all-round enjoyable romp that has brought another interesting and fantastic character into the Marvel Cinematic Universe who we now can't wait to see more from. Captain America: Civil War can't come sooner.
If you go into Ant-Man though expecting the next Iron Man or Avengers film you will be disappointed as Reed's adventure is a much more low-key affair. All Marvel films are fun, but Ant-Man takes everything less seriously and is an invigorating change of tone from the studio. Refreshingly there are no aliens, robots smashing each other up or long battle sequences that see cities dropping from the sky. Instead what we get is ultimately a heist film focusing on a rather entertaining crew of criminals, with an end-of-the-world plotline and some superhero action dropped in. Some may be disappointed with the different road Marvel has took with Ant-Man, but it helps the film develop its own identity and also allows the Marvel Cinematic Universe to grow as it now includes movies of differing styles each with a unique manner.
Of course Ant-Man has qualities which immediately marks it out as a product of Marvel Studios. Firstly, there is the humour that is injected into all Marvel films, and Ant-Man is particularly funny. With a script that has been written or developed by Wright, Cornish, Rudd and Adam McKay, men used to and successful in the comedy genre, of course the film was going to be rather amusing. There are plenty of quick fire jokes packed into the witty script, but the funniest moments are neat and rather clever tricks, such as the scene involving Siri playing The Cure and the battle on the railway line at the end. The addition of Michael Pena into the cast was a smart move, and his character Luis will certainly make you chuckle, especially as a brilliant narration technique allows him to shine. In fact the whole criminal gang, who are not the brightest crayolas in the box, provide comic relief and round off an entertaining film.
Other elements we expect from Marvel films are also present. There are the standard cameos and references to the wider cinematic universe, all of which are a complete surprise and will give a lot of satisfaction to the fans. These references also place the characters in the world of Marvel and set up things neatly for Captain America: Civil War. There are plenty of thrilling action sequences with neat cinematography ensuring that these are memorable, especially the ones where Lang has shrunk in the Ant-Man suit which involve outstanding visuals. Added in is a touch of romance and emotional moments to balance out the film and ensure it is enjoyable for all.
Unfortunately the female character of Hope, is weak and not as well-developed as she could be, although the story focusing on the relationship with her father does arc neatly and is the most moving plotline of the film. Other attempts at emotion do not play off as powerfully, but we still are able to engage with the characters thanks to the wonderful performances of the cast. Paul Rudd is spot-on as Scott Lang and proves his leading man skills. The perfect anti-hero Rudd is charismatic, cheeky, honest and very engaging, drawing you into his story and the film. Michael Douglas is also great as Hank Pym, a clearly troubled and ageing man with Douglas' performance adding depth to Pym and intensity to the tone. Evangeline Lilly gives a decent performance but is overshadowed by her colleagues, but this may be the fault of the writing which does not provide her much to play with. The same can be said for Corey Stoll's villain Cross. Stoll gives a fine performance but does not stand out, but this may be due to the fact his villain lacks prowess and formidability.
Although by far not the best film Marvel Studios has produced, despite the various production struggles Ant-Man has still turned out a success. Rudd is a likeable anti-hero, or should we say ant-hero heeeyyyy, and leads an entertaining heist film that is a refreshing addition to the MCU with a unique tone. Funny, full of charisma and action-packed, Ant-Man is an all-round entertaining romp despite its flaws.