Directed by Peyton Reed.
Starring Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Pena, Corey Stoll, Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer, Abby Ryder Fortson, John Slattery, Hayley Atwell, Martin Donovan, David Dastmalchian, Wood Harris, Gregg Turkington and Michael Douglas.
Armed with a super-suit with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, con-man Scott Lang must embrace his inner hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.
After hearing about Edgar Wright’s departure from Ant-Man, I went into this film with extremely low expectations. Would it be funny? Would Peyton Reed of Bring It On fame be able to take on an action film? Against all my expectations, Ant-Man delivers in almost every area, making it a solid addition to the Marvel Universe.
The bare bones of Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish’s script remains. Instead of focussing on Hank Pym’s Ant-Man, we instead have him seeking out his protégé Scott Lang (Rudd) so that they can take on mad scientist Darren Cross (Stoll). Whilst it would have been nice to have seen Wright’s vision come to life, Reed does surprisingly well and this is largely down to the cast and script tweaks from Paul Rudd and Adam McKay.
Paul Rudd is exceptional as Scott Lang and Ant-Man. He owns every scene he’s in and whilst the film does not stretch his acting range, it plays to his witty strength and he carries the film with ease. He has stellar support from Michael Douglas as the ageing Hank Pym who looks like he’s having the most fun in years. Then you have Evangeline Lily as Pym’s daughter Hope and Michael Pena steals every scene he’s in as Scott’s former cell mate Luis. All of these actors coming together makes the script click together beautifully.
The weak point of the film is typical Marvel. Whilst Corey Stoll is usually a dependable and strong actor, his transition from scientist Darren Cross to big bag Yellowjacket feels underwritten and almost too comical. The reveal of his suit in the trailers didn’t’ help at all but the main issue is that he never feels like a real threat to our heroes. Marvel make villains like Marmite. You have exceptional ones like Loki, Obadiah Stane, Ultron, The Winter Soldier. And then you have Malekith, Red Skull and The Abomination. Yellowjacket could have been an entertaining and charismatic villain, instead on-screen you see an almost pantomime mad scientist with a fancy yellow suit who doesn’t feel like he poses any threat.
If we have to admit it, Ant-Man is an odd super hero to dedicate an entire film to. His super powers are silly and there are so many incarnations of him, how do you decide which one to go with. By choosing Scott Lang, Ant-Man creates a sense of seriousness by examining the relationships between Fathers and Daughters. It’s a touch of sentiment that fits well into the film amidst all the jokes and action. Rudd has demonstrated his acting chops before in films such as Prince Avalanche and there is a good balance between the funny and the serious.
I chose to watch Ant-Man in IMAX 3D and I’m happy to report that the 3D is actually worth it for this film. The shrinking scenes look phenomenal and even when Scott is riding on the backs of ants through server rooms or having a punch up in a briefcase, the 3D brings the whole thing to life expertly.
Whilst many of us would have loved to have seen Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man come to life, Reed has done himself justice and provided a film that can sit comfortably within the Marvel Universe. It doesn’t offer anything new in terms of storyline and daring, but it’s huge fun to watch and laugh your way through.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★
Helen Murdoch is a freelance writer – Follow me on Twitter