We’ve seen Gods who control thunder, invincible heroes and men in clunky iron suits but now Marvel Studios have delivered a new hero and it’s a man who shrinks… yes, shrinks. Has the money-making machine struck gold again?
With all the drama that has happened behind the scenes, such as Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead and Scott Pilgrim) the original director and writer of the project leaving over critical disputes, all eyes were on Ant Man and I can tell you that it doesn’t disappoint, well not completely.
Paul Rudd does what he does best as career criminal and Ruddy good burglar Scott Lang, who has recently been released from prison after a long stint for pulling off one of the biggest Robin Hood style heists ever, he’s the quintessential bad boy with a heart of gold. But despite his best efforts to get his life on the straight and narrow and provide for his daughter, everything seems to go wrong.
Unfortunately, this first act of Ant-Man plods along from one plot point to the other and relies purely on cheap laughs and doing everything it can establish how much Lang’s life sucks, it’s not until after this unnecessarily slow start-up that things get interesting.
The interaction between Rudd and Michael Douglas is particularly enjoyable what with Douglas playing the straight laced scientist Hank Pym, who has developed a powerful super-suit (that Scott steals) and grants the user the ability to shrink. The pair seem to bounce off of eachother very well and Douglas alone adds seniority to a film that could be considered on the lower end of the Marvel Studios maturity spectrum, forming a likeable balance in the process.
Evangeline Lily is Pym’s daughter, Hope van Dyne, who is a kick-ass, determined woman with a jaded relationship with her dad and it’s the latter quality that stalls the film and provides bloated melodrama. The personal reasons behind this are justifiable but Hope often comes off as a spoilt brat. It’s refreshing to see a dynamic between Lily and Rudd’s characters that feels gradually friendly and not forced into becoming love interests – that is until the film forces these romantic moments.
What really excels in this blockbuster is of course the action scenes, director Peyton Reed does an excellent job with utilising Ant-Man’s specific abilities in exciting ways that makes a shrinking superhero surprisingly compelling to watch and all of this wouldn’t be possible without the fantastic CGI that allows Ant Man to fight in some unusal places and therefore separate him from the other flicks in the superhero genre. These places include a train set and inside a briefcase as he does battle with the big bad villain.
And here is the problem. Corey Stoll tries his best to breath life into his one note character, Darren Cross, former protege of Hank Pym who ticks every box a cliched supervillain can do, all that’s missing is the loud cackle as he does a bad deed. Cross has no motivation other then…more daddy issues (and just the fact that he’s crazy) but while yes, the evil shrinking suit looks great the overall execution of his characterisation lacks any sort of depth.
Armed with more product placement than a Transformers movie, Ant-Man is filled to the brim with great action, fun and thrills as it mixes the tiresome superhero genre seamlessly with the old-fashioned heist flick to deliver an entertaining and refreshing small scale hero which builds an interesting juxtaposition against the larger than life Avengers, despite all of these positive aspects, it’s issues with story and characterisation that provide the giant flaws.
Ant Man is out NOW
Directed by Peyton Reed Screenplay by Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish, Adam McKay and Paul Rudd Starring: Paul Rudd as Scott Land / Ant Man Michael Douglas as Henry "Hank" Pym Evangeline Lily as Hope Van Dyne Corey Stoll as Darren Cross / Yellowjacket Michael Pena as Luis Bobby Cannavale as Paxton Judy Greer as Maggie Tip "T.I." Harris as Dave David Dastmalchian as Kurt Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson / Falcon also appearing: Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter John Slattery as Howard Stark Abby Ryder Fortson as Cassie Lang Martin Donovan as Richard Carson