I think it’s fair to say we were all a little sceptical about Marvel’s latest release, Ant-Man. The film had some widely publicized problems before going into production, with original director Edgar Wright leaving his post weeks before filming. Wright has cited “creative differences” as his reason for leaving. Peyton Reed, whose directing credits include The Break-Up and Bring It On, was brought aboard to replace Wright. This may seem very worrying: what were the problems plaguing Wright and forcing him to part ways with the project he spent years working on? Somehow though, Ant-Man is not a disaster. Far from it. It’s probably the most fun a Marvel movie has been in a while, and this is mostly down to the lead, Paul Rudd.
Ant-Man is Marvel’s 12th release and the final film in Phase 2 of their Marvel cinematic universe. Knowing such information, it’s surprising how much fun and new Ant-Man feels in the superhero genre. Opening in 1989, we find Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) kicked from his company due to his erratic behaviour. The film then jumps to present day where we find petty criminal Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) struggling to avoid a life of crime and stay present in his daughter’s life. Scott taking on one last job in order to provide for his daughter leads to him coming into contact with Hank and his daughter, Hope (Evangeline Lilly). Hank convinces Scott to use a suit he designed decades ago in order to prevent the CEO of his old company from using similar technology for destructive reasons.
This may seem like a run of the mill plot for a summer blockbuster, but it’s the injection of humour throughout that makes Ant-Man seem fresh for the genre. Despite the lacklustre name, Ant-Man is actually a pretty neat superhero. The suit allows for Scott to shrink to a fraction of his original size and also gain super-human strength. Scott’s background in burgling being brought in as a plot point to the film allows for a hybrid of the superhero and heist genre, something that feels like it’s never been done before.
The action scenes are far more frequent in the later stages of the movie, though that’s not a major problem as the humour and more personal scenes ensure the audience is entertained for the whole ride. The action sequences are just as big and bold as one would expect from a Marvel film. Who knew a set piece involving a Thomas the Tank Engine train set could be so entertaining?
The sense of danger that is present in other films of the same type is missing in the second half of the film. There’s no feeling of impending doom as there was in The Avengers, or at least the threat isn’t elaborated upon as it could have been. But does the world really need to be at stake in every film of this sort? It’s nice to see that there’s something more personal at stake for once.
Evangeline Lilly joins the ranks of the other kickass ladies of Marvel and proves she’s more than adequate for the task. There are some exciting hints at what’s to come for her character in upcoming films. She has some smaller, more personal moments with onscreen father Michael Douglas and these serve as a great balance to the action and humour strewn throughout.
You all know the drill with post-credit sequences at this stage.
Verdict: Action-packed, often hilarious but with some really nice intimate moments between the characters. Ant-Man serves as a reminder that Marvel still offers the best entertainment of the summer.