Ant-Man, 2015, USA
Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) has just been released from prison on burglary charges, and is trying to rebuild his life. He can’t see his daughter, Cassie, (Abby Ryder Fortson) and he can’t hold down a job. When his friend Luis (Michael Peña) tells him about a house with a large safe, he reluctantly agrees to break in, where he discovers the Ant-Man suit. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), the reclusive inventor of the technology, is impressed by Scott’s skills and recruits him to be the new Ant-Man so he can break into Pym Technologies and steal the Yellowjacket suit being developed by Darren Cross (Corey Stoll), the unstable former protégé of Hank’s. Helping out is Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), Hank’s once-estranged daughter.
The first half of Ant-Man plays out very much like your typical superhero origin story. But the second half of the film is endlessly creative, with one of the best climactic fight scenes ever seen in a Marvel universe film. It’s hilarious, but no less thrilling, as it makes perfect use of the shrinking abilities of the two suits. And, despite it being, literally, on a smaller scale than battle scenes in previous Marvel films, we never feel that there is less at stake.
When original director Edgar Wright dropped out, I was quite concerned about this film. I am curious about what his vision was, though I see pieces of it remaining in the film, particularly in the latter half of it. But director Peyton Reed, with the help of Rudd and Adam McKay, took Wright and Joe Cornish’s original screenplay and made it work beautifully within the Marvel universe. From what I’ve heard, the issue with Wright’s vision is that it simply wouldn’t have worked within the MCU. But the final film does work very well. And, be sure to stick around throughout the credits for mid-credit and post-credit scenes!
I loved Rudd as Lang. He plays the typical “burglar with a heart of gold” character, but his desire to be reunited with his daughter makes the story quite moving. Ultimately I did find Pym and van Dyne to be far more interesting. I liked seeing their relationship develop and change throughout the film, as they learned how to be a family once again. And Pym is the slightly more interesting Ant-Man – I’d love to see a Cold War era prequel someday.
Ant-Man is a far stronger film than Avengers: Age of Ultron, which was ultimately a little bit disappointing. It’s a lot of fun, and a great introduction to a series of new characters within the MCU. I ended up seeing it in IMAX 3D, but I wouldn’t call the 3D necessary. It’s perfectly fine to see it in 2D – I didn’t even notice the 3D much anyway. But it’s definitely a film that begs to be seen in theatres so be sure to catch it in the theatre!