'Ant-Man' Review

Ant-Man. A movie that quite literally went through development hell, finally got released and seems to have gone over well with most critics and audiences. After the disappointingly mediocre 'Avengers: Age of Ultron', can this make up for it and get the Marvel Cinematic Universe back on track?

I doubt many critics managed to write a whole review of this movie without ever mentioning Edgar Wright at least once, so I'll quickly offer my take on it and swiftly move on 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 his take on a superhero movie. The little I knew about Ant-Man felt like a perfect fit for the guy and 'The World's End' ensured me that he wasn't gonna stop nailing every project he tackled so it broke my heart when it was announced that he had left the project after working on it for almost a whole decade. What we know about his reasoning for leaving - I am completely on his side as Marvel has a continuous trackrecord of not clashing well with a lot of auteur filmmakers. It's pretty obvious by this point they're after people willing to include a lot of teasers and tie-ins to other movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which of course means editing large chunks of the script to fit them in. Something Edgar Wright (who penned the original script with Joe Cornish) would obviously never in a million years be okay with. While these tie-ins can be fun at times, I would rather just have a good standalone 'Ant-Man' movie. It's a shame Wright's vision of the film did not pan out as Joss Whedon said it was the best script Marvel ever had (judging by the quality of Wright's other scripts... I believe him). But none of this will get in the way of my thoughts on the actual finished film as it is. And speaking of which...

It's fine. It's not great, it's not bad, it's fine. Despite being a much smaller story than the other phase 2 movies, it still feels too ambitious as it tries to be a comedy, adrama, an action movie, and a heist movie all at the same time. All this does is forcing it to cut all the corners on every type of movie it wants to be. Thanks to this, it never succeeds in becoming any of them. It alsoseems to borrow very heavily from the first 'Iron Man' to the extent that it could easily have been the exact same script rewritten with Ant-Man instead. I also can't say I share a lot of people's sentiment about the humor on display here as I found myself not laughing very often as far too many jokes fall flat.

While watching it I kept wondering why they couldn't just put Hope Van Dyne (played by Evangeline Lilly) in the Ant-Man costume because we are constantly being shown she's clearly superior to our main character Scott in every conceivable way needed for this heist to work. The lazy excuse the movie concocts for this is incredibly lazy and forced and still does not change the fact that she is still by far the best candidate for the job. I was so baffled that the movie drew so much attention to the problem and yet never properly justified it.

The weakest part of the movie though is definitely, once again, 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 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 Corey Stoll gives a good performance. The only reason any of these films have villains is so our hero can have someone to fight by the end of it. By now it's getting really tiresome, so how about really deep and complicated villains for phase 3? Please? I am getting sick and tired of seeing the same things over and over again and by this point I've almost lost all interest in the whole universe.

The two MVPs in this film however are Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas who both gave very good performances as Scott Lang and Hank Pym respectively. Paul Rudd manages to sell being an average man while also a skilled technician with ease while Michael Douglas plays easily the most interesting character in the film. I would love to see him return in the role because he is clearly not phoning it in this time like he does for most projects he's involved with these days.

The visual effects are quite outstanding. Through the visual effects, lenses and insane out of focus backgrounds, whenever Ant-Man actually is the size of an it truly feels like we are just as small as he is. It's a wonderful effect and adds a very unique visual style to the film's money shots. These moments combined with the heist sequence in the third act is by far the best part of the whole film and I wish they had focused more on the heist aspect instead of blending it in with all the other elements that didn't work quite as well.

If I had to say whether or not you would enjoy the film though, I'd say you would. 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). It's a overall a better movie than 'Avengers: Age of Ultron', but it's still not a standout in anyway. Hopefully we'll get better movies from Marvel Studios next year.


- Lucas


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