I have to say that after the massive scale of Avengers: Age of Ultron, it was a relief to return to watching Marvel’s solo movies. But… Ant-Man?! How could Marvel possibly pull it off this time? Well they did. Ant-Man is without a doubt one of the better Marvel movies. Any pre-production problems with the film did not show in the final product. So, without wasting time, let’s get right into the in’s and out’s of how and why this movie is an absolute must see.
First of all, the scripting ensures that the pace of the film is maintained, and action sequences balance perfectly with drama and comedy. While one or two of the jokes fell flat, the humour of all the Guardians combined would have trouble keeping pace with Scott Lang and his crew. There are well woven family themes, and dramatic and amusing dialogue alike were delivered expertly by the cast.
On the subject of the cast more generally, everyone in the movie did a fantastic job. Paul Rudd was the perfect Scott Lang, and strangely, it’s hard to think of any actor that could have been more suited to the role. Michael Douglas and Evangeline Lilly had great chemistry as father and daughter, which really helped the film cement those Father-Daughter themes (between Scott and his little girl as well). More minor characters also added to the spring in this movie’s step, because while they may not have been given the most development, Michael Pena as Luis and the other misfits are humorous padding to the plot and never feel wasted on screen. This is especially important, as one of the many potential problems faced by some of these Marvel movies is the need to develop too many characters, too quickly, in too shorter space of time. Well Ant-Man didn’t try, because it didn’t need to. Everyone felt useful to the movie as a whole.
Scale and Effects
Conveying size is going to be a big part of any Ant-Man movie. When Scott Lang shrinks down, you need to feel like you are operating in a completely different place whilst still being able to visually reference scale with your surroundings. The CGI copes with these problems and thensome. Watching objects scale up and down on screen seamlessly enables the movie to make jokes and create dramatic battles with ease, using on screen visuals that most movies wouldn’t normally access. To be jumping in and out of the action would usually be a complaint with a film, not a strength, but it feels absolutely natural with Ant-Man and leads to unexpected, thoroughly welcome humour.
If you were hoping, however, that Ant-Man would be the movie that finally gave us an unforgettable Marvel villain, then you will likely be disappointed. Although disappointing would not be a word I would use to describe Darren Cross. Sure, his motives are predictable, and you can see the betrayed-by-his-mentor thing coming from a mile away, but it didn’t detract from the movie. Yellow Jacket was a functional villain and wouldn’t be counted as a strength, but it would be harsh to say he made the movie worse for wear.
Wider Marvel Universe
Wider Marvel Universe call-outs are of course inevitable in a solo outing such as this. You know that they will be there, but it’s hard to talk about them without giving away too much. What one can say, is that throughout the film the references felt, on the whole, totally natural. Stark Tech., S.H.E.I.L.D, Avengers; It all bumped along comfortably with the pace and theme of the movie and enabled the heroes to address questions such as: Why not just call the Avengers? This is with the exception of the appearance of Falcon. It made sense as far as plot goes to have Falcon in there (Don’t get me wrong!). But at the same time it felt like it had been dropped in from nowhere. It was over pretty quickly though and didn’t take anything away from the movie, so I shall not dwell on it too long. As an extra note, tell me in the comments below if you got that cheeky Spider-Man reference too!
All in all there can be no doubt that Ant-Man achieves what it sets out to do. The movie is entertaining, well acted, well scripted and makes sense start to finish. The film is also good fun for those of all ages and is the Marvel-heist movie to Captain America: Winter Solider’s Marvel-Spy movie.
Ant-Man is the perfect introduction for Marvel’s new Avenger and sets up future story threads seamlessly, whilst keeping its refreshing smaller universe scale.