Walking into Ant Man, I knew this film would be funny. I just didn’t think it was going to be this funny. And we all knew that in order for anyone to take this property seriously, there were a limited number of ways to do it and make it believable. What they pull off in less than 2 hours, (yes, you read that right) works within the larger MCU and fired on all cylinders. If you don’t want spoilers, I’ve saved those for my afterthoughts at the bottom along with another heads up.
Up front, I’m going to say the only “major” problem I had with this movie was that I wanted to know how Edgar Wright would have finished it. I can see his influence over the production and certainly parts of screenplay shine through in various ways. The wittiness of Scott Lang, his interactions with his burglary team, his banter with Evangeline Lily, the clever parts (some partially revealed from the trailer, but still effective regardless) that played with the sense of scale, shrinking, micro and macro battles, and the various ways you could play with that were explored in a good amount of detail. But the flow of the movie is definitely interrupted at inopportune moments. Wright probably would have found the right way to mix a few of these scenes better or place them at different spots in the film. For example, Hank Pym and his daughter’s central conflict was resolved way too quickly. While they handled it in a hilarious way, there was a missed opportunity to really use this throughout the film. Every weak moment in this film will make you wonder what could have been.
Paul Rudd is perfect as Lang, and you will have a hard time imagining anyone else in the role. Rudd drove the comedy from the first moment he’s on screen and didn’t let up. He represents our common man being thrown into a impossible situation and it’s very easy and natural to gravitate towards him and enjoy the film through his experience. The rest of the cast does a great job to augment Rudd, and his heist crew steal some of the show with their moments, which were very well timed and funny in their own right. Michael Pina has excellent moments that reflect Wright’s touches on the film. They will remind you of all the character spoken montages that occur in Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz or World’s End.
Other than the problems I mentioned above, I only had a few complaints: Yellow Jacket wasn’t very interesting; there were a few poorly done dramatic parts that could have definitely been reworked. And for the love of God, can we stop with the CGI fountain of youth that started in X-Men: The Last Stand. It didn’t look good then and it certainly hasn’t become any better. Just cast another actor to play your younger self. Or at least don’t do a closeup shot, did they really think we’d enjoy having that shoved in our faces?
Despite my minor irritations, I really enjoyed what we received given all the production issues that were associated with this film and I think it’s going to stand well on it’s own merits. Trust me, go see it. You will have a blast, or (insert appropriate sized based pun here)
Ant-Man: 8 out of 10
Spoilers may be contained below…..
You have been warned
1. For Pete’s sake, can we pick a Howard Stark and stick with him? Because now that you’ve switched multiple times, I’m willing to bet they’ve screwed up the Howard Stark timeline somehow by showing a gray haired Stark (John Slattery), but we previously saw a deceased Stark who looked like the one from Captain America: First Avenger (Dominic Cooper), obviously not as old as the one we just saw in Ant Man…..ugh. Not sure who let that get out of the door like that. If I’m wrong, please someone explain what I missed….
2. This film had great CGI elements and the shrinking moments were all believable. Michael Douglas with a CGI face to make him look younger, umm no. Just stop that….now
3. Falcon shows up and it was a really cool tie-in to the MCU without being distracting. It let Rudd show off his acting in the suit for the first time, we get to go back to Avengers mansion, and we get to see the full mechanics of the suit working altogether. Perfect and great scene.
4. Normally, I would rail against movie scenes that get ruined by commercials or trailers. But seeing those same scenes happen again on screen never ruined the experience and you’ll still be laughing. This is honestly one of the rare exceptions to that and I pleasantly surprised.
5. Peyton Reed has no business touching a Marvel property. Just look up his list of movies….I’ll wait…..you’re back? Are you as confused as I am? Good, it’s almost as bad as Marc Webb or McG getting permission to do comic book or sci fi movies, it should never happen ever again. I’m betting his success has more to do with Wright’s setup than Reed actually making a major impact. But I will give kudos for not running this thing into the ground. This is the highest rated movie in his career, his last one was Bring It On…..Paul Rudd helps immensely in rewriting the previous Ant-Man script and it shows, I think if it had been Peyton Reed by himself, I wouldn’t be talking about this film as highly.
6. The relationship between Pym and his daughter started with a strong beat, but they wrapped it up way too soon. That thread got wrapped up in 30 minutes when it should be something that ended later in the film. We already had suspicion that she might do something rash that would displease Hank in regard to who would wear the Ant-Man suit and then steal the Yellow Jacket suit. But suspicion gets wiped away with the easy father-daughter resolution that occurred and it would have been more interesting to pursue those problems more.