The darkest times are upon us in an otherwise fun, event-filled, and growing Marvel Cinematic Universe. To celebrate the coming release of Marvel's "Captain America: Civil War," where two ideals will come to a head, let's reflect on the "marvellous" films that this studio has put together. I will be going in order from 2008 - 2015, ending with thoughts and predictions for "Captain America: Civil War." These will be minor reviews and more of a re-evaluation of my thoughts on these films, how they hold up now, and how well they connect/impact the films that came after. Here we go.
WARNING: THERE WILL BE SPOILERS THROUGHOUT!!
Part 12: Ant-Man (2015)
Although this is a very recent release, I am still going to give a few brief updated thoughts on this particular film, as it does have significance in the upcoming "Captain America: Civil War," which is now less than a month away. Following Scott Lang, played significantly better than I could have ever expcected by Paul Rudd, the audience is placed right into his criminal life he has lead as he is just fresh out of prison and wanting to make things right in order to see his daughter more, and eventually come to an agreement with his ex-wife. As most Marvel films go, they always seem to take a generic plot and put a fresh spin on it, and once again, they have pulled it off with flying colours.
Gripes aside for a minute, I must say that if you are really into the comedic aspect of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, then this is most likely the film for you. Going through literal development hell, getting multiple directors before settling on Peyton Reed, fans across the world were worried, especially with Reed's track record of films, which included the likes of "Bring it On," "The Break Up," and "Yes Man," just to name a few. Now, these are not all terrible films, but they are definitely not Marvel quality, and while there have been some nice transitions to big blockbusters in the past, like say Marc Webb with "The Amazing Spider-Man," even though he was able to handle the big budget scale, it doesn't always mean you are cracked out for something like that. Quality-wise, those films have become widely disliked.
Getting back on track, sadly Marvel decided to go the route of having another Ant-Man suit for our titular hero to take down (ie. The Yellow Jacket), and which I have grow sick of seeing cop outs with villains in this universe, I still find myself entertained, as the writers seem to have a way of keeping it fresh, while still feeling overdone. Whatever formula they use, I hope they continue to keep it up. Evangeline Lily as the love interest/future sidekick, Michael Douglas as the mentor/titular character from the past, and Corey Stoll as the villain were all well-cast and I bought everyones chemistry on-screen together; However, the actor who absolutely stole the show for me was Michael Pena, having quips around every corner and telling hilarious stories to liven up any dull moment.
Tying into S.H.I.E.L.D in the opening scene and bringing in Peggy Carter was a really nice touch, seeing as "Ant-Man" was definitely the lesser known character to date, which would inevitably show in it's low box office return, even though I was hopeful that it would pick up and become a sleeper hit like that of "Guardians of the Galaxy." About halfway through the film, nearing the climax, Scott is just about finished with learning the ins and outs of his suit as he accidentally comes across the S.H.I.E.L.D base, seen at the end of "Avengers: Age of Ultron," and Falcon swoops in to fend off a "potential threat," when little did he know that he may jsut be recruiting him in the future, as we have seen in tidbits from recent trailers.
To address my few gripes, I would say that is is essentially a film that rips off the origin of Spider-Man, but just replace the young high-school photographer aspect with robbery and you have yourself the origin of "Ant-Man." I know I may get a bit of flack for saying that, so I will explain myself by saying all of these origin stories are similar in many different ways and if everyone of them did not have similarities, I think it would be much harder to create characters who can bond and work together in future movies. They all understand each other for the most part, which makes it so much fun to watch. I also think the villain is probably one of the weaker ones we have seen in a very long time, but that is made up for in a very good climax.
Overall, this film has it's ups and downs, but overall I still really enjoy it after looking back and re-watching it a few times. "Ant-Man" marks the twelfth and final film before the release of Marvel's next big screen adventure, "Captain America: Civil War," which pins ideals head to head, and includes most of the Avengers, choosing sides for what they believe in, and clashing in an emotional brawl that they may not all recover from. I can't wait for this film. Comment below if you agree that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is on track and will be for a very long time. This Universe is just so much fun, and if the films continue to mirror that word: Fun, then bring on as many as you want. Bring on the Civil War!
Review By: KJ Proulx