Please note the review below may contain minor spoilers - I've done my best to keep them to a minimum.
The ant-sized Ant-Man is finally here, the latest inductee to the Marvel cinematic universe. Ant-Man may of started itís
life in directorial-hell, but the finished product packs some charm for all audiences.
In standard movie fashion, Ant-Man begins with a flashback of sorts with a pretty hideous looking old-age makeup done on Peggy Carter,
accompanied by Howard Stark and a very hawkish Agent Carson.
After a trip down memory lane, highlighting - much like Captain America before him - Ant-Manís conquests in various conflicts, the trio
engage in a meeting with Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) in an effort to bamboozle him out his closely guarded tech - the lauded Pym particle.
Fortunately Hank remains stern in his convictions, vowing to never give out his secrets to anyone.
Fast forward a couple of decades and we have a glum looking Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) currently serving his last day of incarceration - about to
receive a punch to the face from a fellow inmate, a going away present if you will. Now a free bird, Scott hopes to rekindle his relationship with his
estranged daughter - but with the job front looking grim for an ex-con - itís not long until he returns to his old ways.
Itís here we are introduced to Scottís group of eclectic Ďfriendsí, his very own Oceans 11 heist crew if you will - easily stealing
the show is Michael PeŮa as Luis, with his drawn out stories, who himself noted were mainly improvised. Using the latterís information, the group
target a specific home which houses a vault containing the Ant-Man suit, unfortunately the whole thing is a setup by Hank Pym himself,
in order to observe and test Scott Lang for a future endeavour.
Said endeavour, is the introduction of Ant-Manís main villain - Derren Cross (Corey Stoll) - once a student and underling of
Hank's, who after ousting his mentor is now CEO of his company. Derren is attempting to recreate a Pym particle of his very own - only he has very
different ideals than Hank, on how the technology should be used for the greater good. What follows is a mini-heist movie with some Marvel action thrown
in for good measure, the result is a movie that works on the small levels really well, whilst fitting into and adding upon that greater Marvel cohesion -
but not a film that really stands out or will even stick with you months down the line.
Chief among this is Paul Ruddís performance - coming into Ant-Man I was expecting him to nail the Scott Lang character -
instead we got an aloof, disinterested Scott who plainly seemed like he didnít want to be there. This really hits home when Ant-Man tries
to introduce the more heartfelt scenes involving his daughter, meant to tug at audience's heart-strings it instead comes across more as a skit that becomes
an increasingly regular occurrence throughout the movie whenever Scott tries to deliver serious lines, it just felt contrived.
This is also at odds with the representation of the Scott Lang character himself, someone who is meant to be highly intelligent and actually knows the
mechanics of the suit, unfortunately Paul Rudd failed to make me a believer. Corey Stoll at least showed up, itís just a shame the
writing for his villainous character wasnít up to snuff - with the basic premise being heís bad because, well because heís a bad guy - there was
unfortunately more depth within in a wet paper towel than his character. Leaving it up to father and daughter Dr. Hank Pym and Hope
(Evangeline Lilly) to be that audience perspective and at least attempting to inject some heart into the film, through their strained relationship
over the loss of Hankís wife.
The biggest drawback for the hardcore comic book fans of Ant-Man, will be how disparate the onscreen material is, in fact Iíd say this is
the first modern Marvel movie to date that is just plainly not all that faithful to the source materialís history - likely a decision of trying to squeeze
itself into that bigger Marvel pie.
It would of been interesting to have also seen originally planned director Edgar Wright try his hand at it,
because the injection of comedy in Ant-Man works well - but likely the trademarked way all Marvel films seem to be shot, was at odds with
his own style, hence new director Peyton Reed taking over a month before filming began.
What did work extremely well within Ant-Man are the Honey, I Shrunk The Kid throwback scenes involving Ant-Man
becoming well, ant-sized - we sadly just didnít get enough of it. With practically every prominent action scene already showcased in full-effect within
the movie's preview trailer in the months leading up, itís up to these smaller off-beat scenes, wherein Scott has to get to grips with his new giant-sized
world or command the various types of antís to fill that void. As Ant-Man invariably becomes part of the Avengerís movies down the line,
I can see these kind of scenes - much like the Hulk in their first outing - becoming highlights of the greater whole. Speaking of, it was also a nice
surprise to see a particular new Avengers character make an appearance, solidifying those Marvel ties for future movies.
When all's said and done Ant-Man is a fun film. Whilst the action might not be particularly memorable and none of the main cast
really stand out - the ant-sized mechanic in a giant-world works well on screen and sure to be included in the expanding Marvel cinematic universe
down the line.
Those invested will already go to watch Ant-Man, their next piece in the Marvel puzzle. But even as a standalone film Ant-Man
will give you some laughs, just donít expect to be blown away by its thin plot or performances.
Ant-Man is currently available to buy on Blu-ray & DVD via Amazon or on-demand via Amazon Video.
24th July 2015
- 3 Out of 5 Stars
Paul Rudd performance
Potential to be more
Ant-size works well