Review: Ant Man
After much stalling and ‘will they wont’ they the film marvel have wanted to make since 2006, before Iron Man, has finally been released. After Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish had written the screenplay Edgar Wright left the process due to creative differences in May 2014 again putting the film in doubt. Peyton Reed was brought in to direct the film in his place. Starring Paul Rudd (Scott Lang/Ant Man), Michael Douglas (Hank Pym/Ant Man), Evangeline Lilly (Hope Van Dyne), Corey Stall (Darren Cross/Yellow Jacket) and guest stars from Anthony Mackie, Hayley Atwell and John Slattery there are a number of familiar faces and a few new ones.
The film starts in a flashback scene to lay the foundations and explain why the Ant Man technology has not been seen in any of the past Marvel films. The scene works well to establish Michael Douglas as Hank Pym, the creator of the ‘Pym Particle’ which allows the user to shrink down to the size of an ant but retain their full grown size strength. Hank Pym decides to quit working for S.H.I.E.L.D. and hide his technology from the world.
Next we are introduced to Scott Lang who is being released from prison and wants to go and lead a life of normality away from crime. These two scenes are pivotal in showing the sort of hero the film will introduce. Lang and Pym are the perfect comedy foil for each other. With Pym’s straight laced and cold demeanour against Lang’s wise cracking smart alec responses the film brings a lot of laughs and funny dialogue which are brilliantly portrayed by Douglas and Rudd respectively.
A lot of questions before the films release about just how good a film about a man who could shrink and talk to ants would be story and graphically and whilst the CGI at times was obvious (when isn’t it in these types of films) the acting and the special effects really allows a suspension of disbelief for the 117 minute running time. You enter a world which we have seen grow from the real world portrayal of Iron Man to the far reaches of space in Guardians of the Galaxy.
Being the 12th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) we are now familiar with how Marvel do things. Good humour, good character development and good action scenes. Ant Man has all of these things in abundance and is a good instalment to this ever growing franchise.
The villain of the piece is Corey Stall’s Darren Cross, who grew up being Hank Pym’s protégé, but ousted Pym to try and recreate his Pym Particle. Along with Evangeline Lilly’s Hope Van Dyne, who happens to be Pym’s daughter, they vote for removing Hank Pym from the company he started. Cross has developed a suit which he calls ‘Yellow Jacket’ and wants to use the technology to create an army. The essence of the film is a heist movie where Hank Pym recruits Scott Lang to steal the technology and data relating to Cross’ Yellow Jacket project to stop it being sold to the highest bidder (a familiar foe).
There are a number of stand out scenes in this film which lead into one another and the story does not feel rushed or confusing as if the producers had to leave a scene on the cutting room floor. This has been a gripe of some of Marvels previous films. There are a number of nods to the previous instalment, Avengers: Age of Ultron, through locations, dialogue and Anthony Mackie appearing as Falcon. One of the only confusing parts of the film is the appearance of Agent Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell). The confusion purely revolves around her age. Marvel have done an amazing job to craft a universe spanning time and distance but this one characters age is baffling me. Agent Carter in the flashback scene set in 1989 looks early ’60s at the oldest, but she is a fully fledged agent in Captain America: The First Avenger so she must be 30+ by the time the war ends which in turn, 44 years later, this would make her mid-70s. After having a sneaky peek at the MCU Wiki Agent Carter was born in 1921 which would make her 68 in 1989. She looks good for it is all I can say.
Anyway back to the film in question. The finale of the film pits Scott Lang’s Ant Man against Darren Cross’ Yellow Jacket the action seams flawlessly between normal size and ant size mayhem. There are a number of shots where it pans out of the action to see it from a normal size perspective which gives some lighter tones to the climactic battle but doesn’t detract from the overall feel of danger and excitement.
As the film ended a number of people got up and left. Have they learnt nothing from the last 7 years and 11 movies? You always sit through the credits for the post credits scene. This was paid off by not just one but two post credits scenes which go a long way to set up the future films of the franchise.
Overall this is a very good, fun family film. With plenty of laughs for adults and kids alike. It is not the best film in the MCU to date in my opinion but it is right up there. So as phase 2 draws to a close all I can say is thank you Marvel and bring on phase 3 starting 6 May 2016 with Captain America: Civil War.