Baskin Robbins always finds out! Baskin Robbins don’t play. Normally, well so far a phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe usually comes to a close with an Avengers film. Phase 2 is different in the fact that Ant-Man closes out instead introducing fans to brand new characters. Some characters we didn’t know we needed in our lives until they popped up on the big screen. Now, the fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe would happily take a film with just the supporting cast members talking to each other. I know I’m ok with that. There was even uproar to have one of the side characters narrate the events of the MCU up until the events of Avengers Endgame.
Director Edgar Wright (Scott Pilgrim Vs the World, Shaun of the Dead) was originally attached to direct way before the Marvel Cinematic Universe was what we know it today. Unfortunately, due to creative differences Edgar Wright left the project while still getting the screenplay credit. Like Guardians of the Galaxy Ant-Man is a property not many casual fans were excited about and frankly the same can be said for the hardcore fans too. Is the story of a man that can shrink even compelling enough to start a franchise with? According to Marvel Studios head aka our lord and savior Kevin Feige it is. He finds a way to integrate Ant-Man into the overarching storyline and have it work.
The character of Ant-Man can be traced all the way back to the early days of Marvel Comics. Debuting in a book called “Tales to Astonish” is the first person to pick up the moniker of Ant-Man; Hank Pym (Michael Douglas). He is the original, part of the original Avengers team along with his wife Janet Van Dyne aka the Wasp. Some years later Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) picks up the mantle of Ant-Man after Hank retires. Scott is a thief and an ex-con who possess tech experience. He hooks up with his former cellmate Luis (Michael Pena) who offers to bring him in on a tip for a job he heard about.
Lo and behold the job was set up by Hank at the protest of his daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly) who wishes to perform the task herself. The task at hand is stopping Hank’s former protégé Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) from replicating the Pym Particles Hank used to power his Ant-Man suit. With the help of Hank, Scott wishes to play a bigger part in his daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson) life. Aiding Scott and Luis is Dave (Clifford T.I. Harris) and Kurt (David Dastmalchian).
If this film turned out anything like the test footage that was released than this would be a huge win for Marvel Studios. Good thing the film does. The shrinking technology is the most intriguing with how often Scott shrinks to ant size and back to normal size. It’s genius how they play with what shrinks while Scott is fighting. In fact, the shrinking wasn’t overdone – it serves its purpose with the action at hand. It isn’t the main focus, but it steals the show. Paul Rudd is the perfect candidate to play Scott Lang. His dialogue isn’t as smart as his character is portrayed to be – it’s more comical.
The comedy is one of the elements that works exceptionally well in this film. The comedy is subtle enough where it doesn’t take over the drama. To date this is probably the funniest MCU movie that has been released. The jokes work to the respect of the performances. Each performance whether leading or supporting knew how to approach the humor where the jokes feel organic to the story while not overdoing them. Michael Pena is by far the standout comedic performance when he goes into his flashback stories. These scenes are completely unexpected but are hilarious regardless of how many times the film is viewed.
Ant-Man is a great example of how well de-aging technology can work for a film. It’s used in a minimal sense but it’s very effective for the story. There have be instances in other films where the de-aging doesn’t work at all – Marvel Studios utilizes the tech to their advantage. This film is a big win for marvel – no it didn’t make a billion dollars at the box office – it proves that no matter the character they highlight in a leading role, if done correctly with care, it’s a win. Marvel even finds a way to make its fans feel sympathetic towards an ant. The ant shrieks while being shot out of the sky for crying out loud (R.I.P. Ant-thony).
Ant-Man does suffer in the same ways that previous films have – with the villain. Yellowjacket is just another insignificant generic carbon copy villain. Just as forgettable as past MCU villains. One of Marvel’s flaws in their overarching films. Darren Cross literally has no motive for unleashing the Yellowjacket on the world. Hank not sharing with him the secrets of the Pym Particles turns him evil – it’s not very compelling of a villains story. There is also the plot hole of how Darren learns of this heist and of who Scott is. Yes, he mentions word travels fast when you invade an Avengers facility but how does he find out. There is also a second significant plot hole that never gets addressed. When the confrontation happens and Mitchell Carson steals the Yellowjacket serum, it never gets mentioned again.
Ant-Man doesn’t feature any new Infinity Stones than we’ve already been introduced to. Like every Marvel Cinematic Universe film (well any Marvel film in general) Stan “The Man” makes his cameo appearance in one of Luis’s flashbacks. Every cameo to date brings out the biggest grins to the audience. The mention of Tales to Astonish by Darren is a pretty sweet Easter egg that comic readers would pick up instantly.
Overall Ant-Man is a solid entry into the MCU and another pretty fantastic origin story. The performances are highlighted by a well written script that features some of the best humor a Marvel film has had. The pacing and runtime are on par with previous entries in the universe. A second cameo of an Avenger is one of the best scene’s as Scott steals a part for the heist. Ant-Man features two post credit scenes. One teases the next film and first of Phase three (review coming next week) Captain America: Civil War and the second credit scene is a shot of Hope’s new suit that will be featured in the sequel. If I were to rate Ant-Man, I’d rate it a 4.4 out of 5.
So, tell me guys, have you seen Ant-Man and if so, what do you think about it? Do you agree or disagree with me? Comment below or send me an email and let me know what you think.
Ant-Man is directed by Peyton Reed is Rated PG-13 and has an 83% on Rotten Tomatoes. Ant-Man was released on June 29th, 2015 and has a runtime of 1 hour and 58 minutes. Ant-Man can be streamed on Disney Plus.
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Ant-Man will return