Movie Name: Ant-Man
Studio: Marvel Studios
Genre(s): Comic Book/Action/Adventure/Comedy
Release Date(s): June 29, 2015 (Premiere)/July 17, 2015 (US)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is a convict trying to turn his life around for his daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson). When he finds he is unemployable, he is forced to team with his friends to rob Hank Pym (Michael Douglas). Only discovering a strange suit, Scott Lang discovers he might have just become the world’s newest (and smallest) superhero! Teaming with Pym and his daughter Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) to stop Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) to keep the Pym Particles from falling into the wrong hands.
Directed by Peyton Reed, Ant-Man had a lot of production problems hitting the screen. Originally Edgar Wright was scheduled to direct, but Wright left over differences. Following Avengers: Age of Ultron, the movie is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (the final part of Phase II) and released to positive reviews and strong box-office numbers.
I have to say that I wasn’t particularly exited about Ant-Man. I don’t dislike the character, and I like Paul Rudd. I was pleasantly surprised by Guardians of the Galaxy and could tell Ant-Man was in a similar vein…but I still couldn’t get excited. I worry superhero burnout has begun.
Ant-Man isn’t a bad film, but it does seem to fall into the Marvel Universe pattern. The movie ends like all Marvel movies, with Ant-Man in a battle with a villain of superior power but similar abilities. It is pretty easy to predict what is going to occur throughout the movie. I don’t think the movie is quite as fun as Guardians of the Galaxy, but once it finally gets going (it is a slow start), it is quite fun in an almost retro-throwback way (kind of what Spider-Man 3 attempted and failed).
Paul Rudd does his best Chris Pratt. He actually did it before Chris Pratt, but it feels like he’s imitating him there. I like the Hank Pym role by Michael Douglas and enjoy Evangeline Lilly as Rudd’s sparring partner. Corey Stoll is pretty generic as Darren Cross (who only appeared in a couple of comics) and there are some laughs with Michael Peña, Tip “T.I.” Harris, and David Dastmalchian. There of course is an appearance by Stan Lee in addition to appearances by John Slattery and Hayley Atwell. An appearance by Anthony Mackie as the Falcon makes me wish he had been used more in Avengers: Age of Ultron. My favorite appearance was Garrett Morris who actually played the first live-action Ant-Man on an SNL sketch.
The movie does look good. It was great to get out of New York and have a San Francisco setting for the movie. The effects went for fun and the shooting style of the movie was lent itself to the jokes. I do think that though it was a great sight-gag in preview that the movie did overdo the “funny” experiences involving Ant-Man’s size like the Thomas the Tank Engine gag which was done once too often.
Overall Ant-Man is good fun, but I think that Marvel (and poor DC which has never managed to make a dent in the new live-action boom except for the recent Batman series) really need to jiggle their formula before it all comes crashing down. I thought that Guardians of the Galaxy provided that change, but now it appears the studios might be trying to emulate that format. It works here, but I worry that it will eventually lead to problems for comic book movies as a whole. Ant-Man was followed by the kick-off of Phase III with Captain America: Civil War in 2016.