Ant-Man review: A lighter, more carefree and fun entry in the Marvel cinematic universe.
Ever since 2008’s Iron Man took the world by storm Marvel have been an unstoppable box-office juggernaut. They have three films sitting in the top ten highest grossing films of all time (Iron Man 3, and both Avengers), with all their other films featuring high in the lists of highest earning releases for their respective release years. Studio execs will of course be hoping that Ant-Man continues the trend, and having seen the film we think that it’ll do alright.
Much like with last year’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man‘s source material isn’t as well known as the likes of the Hulk, Iron Man and Captain America. Also much like last summer’s smash, Ant-Man is an origin story that glosses over the origin. Granted there is a montage (everyone loves a montage), but on the whole the viewer is invited to just accept what is going on as normal.
Having been shrouded in controversy following the departure of original director Edgar Wright many fans believed that this would be the big studio’s first misstep. Thankfully this doesn’t appear to be the case, with Ant-Man being fun and highly entertaining.
The pacing is perfect. Personally, with the exception of Guardians of the Galaxy, I tend to find that Marvel movies drag ever so slightly after a while into the film, but that isn’t the case here. The two hour run time whizzes past, you’ll arrive at the final climatic showdown a lot sooner than you realise. Whilst the pacing is perfect for the run time, and those with small bladders, it does feel that we’re missing some plot to achieve this result; there is the distinct impression that the deleted scenes will be numerous once released on home entertainment. The villain of the piece Darren Cross / Yellow-jacket is never truly explained, the story happy for him to just be a generic power-mad scientist.
Action fans might find their appetite slightly unsatisfied as Ant-Man is less heavy on the action that other Marvel outings; no cities fall out of the sky, although what action there is, is very well executed and never strays far from the jovial vibe. Female superhero fans may also be a little disappointed, as although clearly tougher and more ready for the task in hand, Pym’s daughter Hope (Lilly) is overlooked. Lilly herself does a great job with Hope, but she’s left out in the cold for a lot of the film. Fortunately there is an impression that this might change in the future.
Paul Rudd may have been an odd choice for Scott Lang, he’s an actor known less for his action and fighting prowess, and more for his funny bone. It’s the same chatter that we heard about Chris Pratt and look how well that turned out. The first phases may have focussed on the dark and moody heroes, hiring well-known and highly skilled dramatic actors (on the whole), this latest phase seems to be all about reinventing the clown. Rudd does a blinding job as Scott Lang and makes a surprisingly good, if not slightly nerdish, action hero.
Featuring the best movie ants since Honey I Shrunk the Kids, Ant-Man won’t have you getting all sentimental about our insect friends, but may make you think twice about washing one down the plughole. Fans of creepy crawlies will really enjoy the interesting ant facts that litter the story. The star of Ant-Man however, isn’t the ants, or Rudd, it’s not even Michael Douglas or Evangeline Lilly‘s haircut, but rather Michael Pena. Pena plays Luis, Scott’s ex-cellmate and wannabe career criminal. Pena easily steals every scene he’s in and Luis’ ‘to the point’ stories will have you in stitches.
Those viewers wondering how Ant-Man will fit in with the rest of the MCU need not fret as there is a fantastic cameo from a familiar face. In fact this set piece may just be one of the best in the film. Make sure you stay post credits as there is not one, but two, credit sequences; one sets up future ant antics whilst the other offers some clues about next year’s Captain America: Civil War.
Ant-Man is a lighter, more carefree and fun entry in the Marvel cinematic universe and will more than tide over those chomping at the bit for next years Captain America: Civil War.
Ant-Man review by Kat Smith, July 2015.
Ant-Man opens in cinemas from Friday 17th July 2015.