Ant-Man. A movie that quite literally went through development hell just got released and ended up still becoming quite a success with the critics and the regular audience. The movie joined 'Iron Man 3' and 'Captain America: The First Avenger' with a 79% rating on rottentomatoes so it is safe to say that the movie ended up working for most people. But what did I think?

I doubt many critics manage to write a whole review of this movie without mentioning Edgar Wright so I will just start saying my piece on that and then move straight to the actual quality of the film. Edgar Wright is one of my favorite writers and directors working today and I was really excited to see him do both for a superhero movie. The little I knew about Ant-Man felt like such a perfect fit for the guy so it broke my heart when it was announced that he had left the project after working on it for almost a whole decade. For what we know about why he left - I am completely on his side as Marvel has had a trackrecord of not clashing well with a lot of filmmakers. It is pretty obvious that they wanted to include a lot of teasers and tie-ins to other movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe which of course may include having to edit large chunks of the script that Edgar Wright penned together with Joe Cornish. While these tie-ins can be fun... I would rather just have a good standalone 'Ant-Man' movie. It is a shame Wright's vision of the film did not pan out as Joss Whedon said it was the best script Marvel ever had (and judging by the quality of Wright's other scripts... I believe him). But this will still not come in the way of my thoughts on the actual finished film. Speaking of which...

'Ant-Man' is in no way a bad film and it is in no way a phenomenal film. Despite being a much smaller story than the other movies in phase 2 it still feels a bit too ambitious as it tries to be a comedy, drama, action and a heist movie all at the same time and it ends up having to cut a few corners on all of them. The structure is quite poor thanks to this as it does not quite manage to juggle all of these different movies. It also borrows very heavily from the first 'Iron Man' film so I would not recommend watching those two back to back. People are also raving about the film being very funny but I honestly do not see where they are coming from as there are jokes that fall completely flat a bit too many times (which is just awkward when nobody laughs in the theatre when something was obviously supposed to be a joke)

I kept wondering while watching the movie just why they could not put the character Hope Van Dyne (played by Evangeline Lilly) in the Ant-Man costume because we are being shown over and over again that she is clearly superior to our main character Scott in every way necessary for this heist to work. Of course the movie does concoct a reason for this but it is very lazy and still does not change the fact that she still is the best candidate for the job. I was so baffled that the movie drew so much attention the problem and yet never truly justified it.

The weakest part of the movie though is definitely the villain and this leads into the main problem in general with the Marvel Cinematic Universe which I covered a little in my review of 'Avengers: Age of Ultron'. They just cannot develop a strong, memorable and threatening villain. Darren Cross is just not an interesting character and he will most definitely fall right in the pile with all the other forgettable villains these movies have which is a shame because the actor Corey Stoll gives a fantastic performance. The villains are just in the films because there has to be someone our hero can fight in the end. How about really deep and complicated villains for phase 3? I am getting sick and tired of seeing the same thing over and over again so they are going to have to mix it up somehow.

The two heroes in this film however are Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas who both gave magnificent performances as Scott Lang and Hank Pym respectively. Paul Rudd manages to sell being an average man while also being quite a skilled technician with ease while Michael Douglas plays the most interesting character in the whole film and I would love to see him return in the role because he is clearly not phoning it in this time like he has for most projects he has been involved with for the past couple of years.

The visual effects are quite outstanding. Whenever the Ant-Man is the size of an ant it truly feels like we are just as small as he is which is a huge thanks to the lenses and the insane out of focus backgrounds. It is a phenomenal effect and adds a very unique visual style to the film. These moments combined with the heist sequence in the third act is by far the best part of the entire film and I wish they had actually focused more on the heist aspect instead of like I said earlier; mixing it in with all the other stuff that did not end up working together quite well. 

If I were to say whether or not you would enjoy the film though, chances are you will enjoy it a lot if you have not seen it yet. Despite its shortcomings it is a very fun movie and has a third act that is much better than the first two which is rare with the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. The rating I give it falls right in line with 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' but I do not know yet which one I preferred. This one is probably a better movie - but the interactions between the characters in Age of Ultron made that film more entertaining. I will have to think about that for a little bit but nevertheless, 'Ant-Man' is a good movie.


- Lucas


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