What’s this, a movie for ants? Every year Marvel seems to be making “riskier” moves. Last year it was Guardians of the Galaxy, which turned out to be superb; this time around it’s Ant-Man. I had marginal hopes for this movie going in, after sacking the talented Edgar Wright, I’ve been wondering and still pondering how much of his vision came true. Ant-Man stumbles here and there, it uses a tried and true formula, and doesn’t give us a hugely unique movie. With that said, I had a lot of fun with this movie, and that beats out most of the negatives.
“The Heroes Story” is in full effect in this movie. “The Heroes Story” is the common formula for writing a superhero story or story with any hero. We start with an unlikely candidate, they’re called to action, they negate the call to action, then reluctantly go to the call to action, they learn and train for something serious or important, and so on. There’s nothing really wrong with this though, because for the first half of the movie, Ant-Man entertains us and appetizes us for the second half.
Michael Douglas and Paul Rudd really shine here as their relationship develops. It’s interesting to see two incarnations of the same character in the same setting, we see this often in comics (there are multiple Flashes and Spider-men) but Marvel pulled this one off right with keeping true to the origins of each character. Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man seeks only to see his daughter after leading a life of thievery, they have a sweet relationship and he’s a likeable guy in this as he is in most movies.
Michael Pena’s character will be very 50/50, I couldn’t stand him, but some of the moviegoers around me really got a kick out of his rhetoric. Marvel has this tendency to really make their movies full of humor, sometimes this works wonderfully like in Guardians. In Ant-Man the humor is also 50/50, some jokes are fantastic and actually made me laugh pretty hard, while others are eye-rolling and do nothing other than try too hard. Unfortunately, the curse of bad Marvel villains lives on in the form of Corey Stoll’s Darren Cross/Yellow Jacket. His motives are sparse and we’re shown early on that even if you don’t agree with him that he’ll turn you into splat. He could have been a better villain, the yellow jacket suit looks great too, but he just ends up being one dimensional.
Once the second half of the movie starts I started to care very little about my gripes though. Once Ant-Man learns how to use the suit along with every part of him controlling ants and using them to complete a series of heists really was a lot of fun. The scenes of him being shrunk (because to be an Ant-Man you must be ant sized) and traversing the big world as something so small all look excellent. It’s a fun take and you can tell that the writers and director had fun with this, especially since some set pieces are nothing more than a toy train set, but they look awesome as Ant-Man and Yellow Jacket throw stuff at one another, laser beams are shot, things explode on this small scale, when we see it from a normal POV it’s hilarious.
When the final heist starts and finishes I was just happy. Ant-Man is a fun movie, even if it has to pull you along for the first act, once we get to the meat and potatoes, it tastes good. The effects of going large and small are implemented well and make for some really enjoyable and comedic fight scenes. I would also recommend staying for the entire credits for Marvel fans as there are two after credits scenes, one introduces a new character, and the other has us checking in with some old ones. If you’re a Marvel fan or you just want to see a fun movie, Ant-Man is absolutely worth it. It’s not going to change the game or reinvent the wheel, but the ride is a very enjoyable one, even if there are a few bumps near the beginning. I liked it a lot more than Age of Ultron.