As a Marvel fan, once one of their movies has hit the cinema and I have had my dose, I start a countdown to the next Marvel flick. So obviously, since Avengers: Age of Ultron, I have been anxiously waiting for Ant-Man. Ant-Man is a whole new character we haven’t yet seen in film, and one we will be seeing more of in the future. The original Avengers cast’s contracts are running out, which leaves the characters more leeway to do their own thing and in their vacated places. New spots are there to be filled for some new, different and exciting Avengers!
So what do we know about Ant-Man? Well, not much if you haven’t read the comics and are only following the cinematic universe. Ant-Man isn’t mentioned outright in any of the previous Marvel flicks we’ve seen in the cinema, so he’s a little unknown. There is no doubt then, that fans may have been a little sceptical with the idea of the new super-hero. Ant-Man? Really? Even I will admit it does sound rather lame. A superhero is supposed to have an epic name, and to live up to who we already have flying around (quite literally); the mighty Thor, Iron Man – now those sound like hard-hitting superheroes. But let’s not dwell on that, his name is practical. What else would you call a man with the powers of an ant? Fans of the comic books though, were nervous for a whole other reason; the decision of Ant-Man being Scott Lang, rather than the original Hank Pym (who still plays a big role in the movie) and killing off his wife Janet Van Dyne, who in the comics, is a vital member of the Avengers. On top of this came the news of Edgar Wright departing from the director’s chair. There was a lot going on that could have had a hand in making this film plummet. But that wasn’t the case, at least for me.
Peyton Reed picks up where Wright left off, and brings us a brilliant, action-packed well-made movie. The movie follows Lang (Paul Rudd), a criminal who has just finished serving his jail sentence and is a well-known thief and burglar of the rich. Once getting out of jail Scott decides it’s time to give up on the life of crime and get himself together in order to focus on his young daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson). With his education he thinks getting his life together will be a breeze, but he comes to the stark realisation that society aren’t very welcoming to convicts and ends up being told to stay away from his daughter by his ex-wife Maggie (Judy Greer) and her new police officer boyfriend Paxton (Bobby Cannavale) until he can land a job and get himself an apartment. Scott moves in with friend and former convict Luis (Michael Peña) who, along with crappy circumstances, eventually persuade Scott to carry off another heist. This heist proves to be spectacular, but what Luis and Scott don’t know, is that it will lead Scott directly into the hands (or home) of Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) whose plan is to enlist the help of Scott and his talents for an even bigger and more important heist of his own. One to prevent the weaponization of his technological breakthrough, the Pym Particle, and the suit it has been used to create. To do this Scott must become Ant-Man, and use his criminal skills to help save the world.
The film starts off unspectacularly, but it is funny which adds a nice and pleasant element. Not all films can start with a bang so I overlook this and, anyway, I am just in Marvel heaven from the moment the lights go down. The penning of the script is very frank, with nothing lying in wait and nothing to infer, which is easy to follow but a little less fun, however it picks up really fast and makes a complete turnaround once we get to the heist at Dr. Pyms home. His intelligence and street-smarts and incredible and just fascinating to watch, filled with an ongoing assault of humorous lines from Scott and his friends. The scenes are engaging and have that instant wow-factor of something you haven’t seen before, because let’s face it, it is all new. An ant-sized superhero? Brilliant. The graphics were intense, and it held its own with some incredible fight scenes, all with an added dimension because of the new capabilities that come with being Ant-Man.
The cast were staggering. Paul Rudd is a perfect choice for the role of Scott and his goofy cocktail of a personality; a slightly rugged convict, with a heart-melting love for his daughter, teamed with his cocky tongue and intelligence. It’s reminiscent of Tony Stark, but less of the womanising and more street-smarts. He is a completely likeable character, along with his cronies who added just a beautiful amount of humour. His chemistry with co-star Evangeline Lily who played Hope van Dyne was brilliant and entirely believable. Lily as van Dyne is also another badass strong woman type for Marvel to sink their teeth into, and she can easily show up the men around her. The complicated relationship between father (Douglas) and daughter (Lily) is also captivated impeccably on screen. The cast work well to completely capture the key themes and relationships and take them seriously whilst keeping the humour attached to the movie. It’s a perfect balance of comedy with very serious undertones which gives the film a solid emotional edge to hold onto, allowing the audience to be completely invested in the characters.
Ant-Man also fits itself firmly into the Marvel Cinematic Universe and while being its own origin film it cleverly integrates bits and pieces from other movies to make it feel right at home. There are cameos from some well-known characters including some insight into the strength and capabilities of Ant-Man and some direct references to Avengers: Age of Ultron. And as with all the Marvel movies there are a couple of extra scenes that you need to stay tuned for. But, despite all this, Ant-Man could be enjoyed as a standalone movie.
I believe Ant-Man is an incredible way to introduce the new characters of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and rivals (dare I say it) Iron Man in its storyline. It’s an incredible mix of comedy, serious emotional baggage, action and is deep and intelligent. Ant-Man is fast becoming another favourite for me, and although I was a bit wary (I don’t like change) and didn’t want to say goodbye to my favourite Avengers, I look forward to seeing more and more of Ant-Man in the future. I also believe that opting to use Scott as Ant-Man rather than the original Hank Pym is a bold choice, as the traditional storyline and character holds some dark, controversial secrets that will have painted Pym in a bad light. Choosing to use him in a mentor role makes it easier to like – and root for him – and gives the film an easier tone.