Review – Ant-Man
Season 2 continues!
It’s been a while since we had a “normal” Marvel introduction film. Guardians Of The Galaxy was a bit more full-on sci-fi (what with being up in outer space and all) and Daredevil getting a full TV series to his name, that means it’s been fully four years since Captain America: The First Avenger, and that’s about the closest comparison I can make here.
Let me start by saying that I find Ant-Man is perhaps my new middle point for quality in the film series, sitting snugly between Thor: Dark World and Age of Ultron. It was, by the standards I now find myself holding them to, exactly medium. Here’s why:
Once again the MCU proves its’ ability to launch trailers that show everything and nothing all at the same time. Most importantly the climactic fight on the back of a train, which is at once everything that the trailer promises and so much more, and no other final fight has been as hilarious as that between Ant-Man and Yellowjacket.
Fans of Ant Man will be pleased to see that Wasp has a role to play in the film, be it ever so subtle. Evangeline Lilly as Hope van Dyne plays the part very well, although Minor Spoiler never gets to don the suit itself, mostly at her father’s insistence that she be kept safe Spoiler Over. In fact her performance may be one of the most empassionate of the film. Michael Douglas delivers superbly as Hank Pym, bringing to life the dedication to scientific pursuit and staunch pacifism of the original Ant-Man, while Paul Rudd‘s Scott Lang balances the struggling family man turned criminal of necessity with the adopted super-hero persona rather well.
Tie-ins to the rest of the series are unapologetic and blatant, at one point almost a little shoe-horned but not badly so. The strong working relationship between Pym and Stark (although for the purposes of the MCU, Howard rather than Tony) make for easy reference making and cameo opportunities and give an entirely reasonable excuse for a jaunt into the new Avengers facility introduced at the end of Ultron.
The film is generally well paced, and builds to a superbly conceptual finale that raises some interesting questions, and closes with two credit scenes; one halfway through as a nice little rounding-up moment that sets the characters up for phase three; the other is the beginning of Civil War made very real.
For those of you not aware, this film began as being directed by Edgar Wright, most famous for directing Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s film series the Cornetto Trilogy and a perfect fit to the comedy-action of Ant-Man. He left because he wanted to end the film in a way that didn’t fit the plans for the next part of the MCU, and was replaced by Peyton Reed who may be a massive nerd and Ant-Man fan, has greater romcom credentials.
It’s the inconsistency that the transition brought that weakens this film. While the scenes themselves don’t obviously “clunk” from one director to another, there’s an overall blandness brought about by the two styles mildly conflicting. It doesn’t ruin the film, that I can’t emphasize enough, but it’s always there. Most notable perhaps in the Avengers Compound scene, while it’s entertaining, and successfully sets up the end of the final fight with Yellow Jacket it seems a little forced.
Paul Rudd gives a somewhat forgettable performance barring the occasional notable scene and general enthusiasm. He’s somewhat outshone by Douglas, and this is the first film I’ve seen Corey Stoll taking a major role and thoroughly enjoyed his version of the eponymous counter to Ant-Man. Michael Pena’s character Luis is entertaining but seems a little pointless all told, really just more of Michael Pena being his own stereotypical self.
It’s good. Watch Ant-Man but while you shouldn’t expect one of Marvel’s greatest, you can still expect a higher standard action film with compelling storyline, characters, and another part in a project that never ceases to amaze its’ audience in its’ scope and ambition!
And watch the key-chain.