(Final) Director: Peyton Reed
Cast: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas
Review Author: Tony
Rating: 4 / 5 Cans of Guinness
I have to come clean, about a year ago, if you asked me what my thoughts were on the upcoming Ant Man film I would have said it’s destined to fail. I’m delighted to report that I couldn’t have been more wrong. Not only is Ant Man another quality entry to the Marvel cinematic universe, it’s probably the best entry this year.
Edgar Wright had been attached to the project of Ant Man since 2006 and along with fellow writer Joe Cornish, had written 3 scripts for the titular hero by 2011. This caught my attention because of Ant Man inclusion as a key character of the Avengers in the comics. He was actually the founder of the Avengers with his wife Wasp. Also, Edgar Wright has been one of my most highly regarded Directors directing some of my favourite comedies. Unfortunately, Wright left the project in 2014 citing “creative differences” which was a big shock, especially with the film’s release date less than a year away.
I remember reading all the updates on Ant Man, seeing that Adam McKay was offered the gig but turned down directing responsibilities to work on the script; I feared it was becoming a troubled production and that Wright’s original script would be scrapped. Thank merciful god this was not the case, as Marvel used Wright’s script as the foundation and vision for this movie.
Ant Man is a blast, I honestly can’t remember smiling the whole way through a film. It just oozes charisma with a nice helping of quirky writing. The humour is constant, firing on all cylinders; every scene has a good laugh inserted somewhere with its perfect blend of slapstick and hilarious dialogue. The film benefits from having two great comedy writers in Wright and McKay, with both of their style of humour seamlessly flowing throughout the film.
While the comedy is a large part of what makes Ant Man a great addition to Marvel’s cinematic universe, it also finds a perfect mix between superhero and heist movie. The film nails our hero’s powers and abilities, his shrinking ability allows for some great laughs but also allows the effects team to make the world look even bigger; however its Ant Man’s ability to command his ant comrades that truly separates him from any other hero in the Marvel cinematic franchise. We are used to seeing heroes whose abilities are purely offensive, used to smash and pulverizes their foes but in Ant Man we see the titular hero using his abilities to his advantage, to improve on his own personal skills. The ants are just as vital to the plot here as any of their human counterparts, providing some inventive effects scenes. The soundtrack is great, adding to the heist scenes (it reminded me of Brad Bird’s The Incredibles, my favourite animated film ever).
Ant Man’s biggest strength is its cast, with Paul Rudd playing our most grounded protagonist yet. Rudd thrives here due to his experience in comedy but he always seems so likeable and you’re quickly drawn to his character Scott and forgive him for his shortcomings. Michael Douglas is also superb, bringing the bravado and intellect one would expect to Hank Pym. Evangeline Lilly as Hope brings some great range appearing first as a real ice queen but we soon cool to her as we see how strong and capable she is. However it’s Michael Peña who steals the show as Scott’s partner in crime, Peña provides the best laughs as Luis a seasoned criminal with a grin on his face at all times and an infectious positive outlook on life.
The weakest link in Ant Man is Corey Stoll as the villain; it’s become a common trend in the Marvel films that we have one-dimensional. under developed villains. Corey Stoll does his best with the lines he’s given, but it all falls into cliché we’ve seen over countless films. Marvel needs to look at their Daredevil series because Wilson Fisk has easily been their best bad guy on screen.
Ant Man had the smallest budget to date out of Marvels cinematic universe and received very little marketing suggesting Marvel’s lack of faith in the film. However, I believe it to be one of Marvel’s best films and a superior film to Avengers Age of Ultron, largely because it’s quality over substance. While I thoroughly enjoyed the Avengers Age of Ultron, I felt that it rehashed many elements of the first film and had a pretty weak plot which was compensated for with thrilling action scenes. Ant Man is the more focused film that has more freedom to breathe.