As a movie reviewer/blogger do you ever just wake up in the afternoon (that's when everyone wakes up, right?) and just think how Marvel Studios possesses absolutely no chill? Can they just stop being so amazing with their movies and series? I am a fan, for sure, but it just feels like I spend half my time writing about some new great thing they did. After the sheer joy that was Avengers: Age of Ultron I figured I'll tone down any and all excitement about Ant-Man. In fact, I'd just wait for it to come out on DVD. Seriously, they can't just leave out Hank Pym and Janet van Dyne from the original Avengers line-up and then hope to somehow make it work now, can they? They can't just give Ultron, Pym's creation, to Tony Stark and just get away with it, can they? I finally went to see Ant-Man and Marvel did all these things and made it work! Ant-Man is my favourite entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). I hate Marvel, damn it!
Ant-Man is reminiscent of the Daredevil series in terms of its scale in the MCU. It takes place after the events of Age of Ultron and, whilst still quite a major event, it is more of a closed-in story about characters that are a bit more accessible than the Avengers. While the Avengers are busy dropping cities on people, characters like Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) are just trying to get by. The story kicks off with Lang just being released from prison and trying to make amends with his daughter and keep away from his former life as a thief. He then gets caught up in some superhero stuff with Dr Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and the brilliant man's daughter, Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) and eventually becomes Ant-Man. The villain of the piece is Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) who ends up donning the Yellowjacket suit. Cross's motives are very much like those of Loki in Thor, which is to say he is just a whiny child really. Loki has a certain charm so ends up working as a character people are interested in, but Marvel still seems to struggle to create compelling villains. The Kingpin is the only villain they have really done well to date. Pym and Janet's past story is merely hinted at, but enough to let you know how they fit in with Howard Stark and Peggy Carter's SHIELD.
A heist film
Like Winter Soldier was a political spy thriller, Ant-Man is a heist film more than a superhero film and a very funny one at that. This movie knows how to push all the right emotional buttons with the audience. Scott Lang is the sort of character you can really root for and his misfit team of friends provide a lot of very funny comic relief in the film. Michael Peña (Fury, 2014) as Lang's fast-talking friend Luis, plays the role of the funny guy to perfection. David Dastmalchian (Animals, 2014) and rapper TI appear as Lang's other wacky companions, Kurt and Dave and they also deliver a pretty solid performance. Ant-Man sees Peyton Reed (Yes Man, 2008) in the director's chair and fan favourite, Edgar Wright (Scott Pilgrim vs the World, 2010) as one of the screenwriters. Wright was first signed up to direct Ant-Man in his popular zany style but got replaced with Reed later.
Do you guys remember how much fun old-school movies like Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989) were? Ant-Man's action sequences are reminiscent of that in their hilarity. When Lang shrinks down to the size of an ant he retains his strength as a normal sized adult male and can also control various ants with the aid of a device behind his ear created by Pym. This allows some really fun action sequences and also introduces us to one of the cooler characters in the movie, one of the ants that Lang lovingly names Antony.
Ant-Man is a really great entry into the MCU and is well worth your time. The 3D effects are really good and I imagine seeing it in Imax would be great as well. It's been on the local circuits for a while now so if you haven't seen it yet I'd recommend you do so. Take your mum, dad, grandparents, children and strangers in the street with you.