Marvel’s Ant-Man may well go down as the house of wonders most problematic films. Plagued with issues such as the departure of director Edgar Wright, which paved the way for Peyton Reed to step in midway through production, Ant-Man was a Marvel film that faced numerous questions ahead of its release. But now, the movie is out and despite its ‘smaller’ scale production and story, it manages to be one of Marvel’s best solo movies we’ve seen in quite a while.
The Story: Ant-Man tells the story of two unique individuals – a retired billionaire industrialist named Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) an ex-burglar trying his best to go straight. When Pym is about to get ousted from his own company by his former protégé Darren Cross, he recruits Lang to help him steal technology that Cross has appropriated from Pym’s own work. Armed with a suit that allows him to shrink in size, possess superhuman strength and control an army of ants, Lang with the help of Pym’s daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly), has to become the Ant-Man to stop Cross from unleashing the Yellowjacket, a similar high-tech suit that could alter warfare and the fate of the world.
What Worked: The fact Ant-Man is an elaborate heist movie instead of an all-out action packed Marvel superhero movie. The change of pace and direction injects an air of freshness to Ant-Man, which hasn’t been seen since probably the first Iron Man film. It also boasts an ensemble cast of supporting actors who not only add a different dimension to the film but also stealing a fair amount of scenes as well – look out for Michael Pena’s performance.
What Didn’t: Like all Marvel movies, Ant-Man too suffers from a subpar lead villain. Cross/ Yellowjacket isn’t as menacing or strike fear in moviegoers for the heroes, which seems to be a common theme for all Marvel movies so far.
Plus Points: The numerous Easter eggs in the film that ties into the extended Marvel cinematic and television universe. There are a few cool cameos, which work great and the dual post ending credits also deliver a powerful double whammy that leads to the highly-anticipated Marvel Phase 3 beginning next year with Captain America: Civil War.
Minus Points: The slow burn of the first act that brings everything together comes off as a tad sluggish. Thankfully, the second and third act hits a good stride that brings the whole movie together rather nicely.
Conclusion: The sheer weirdness, comedic tone and smaller scale combined with a straightforward story, makes Ant-Man one of the best superhero movies we’ve seen. And that’s mostly down to the remnants of magic that’s left by Wright, which Reed manages to utilise to great effect. Yes, it’s more of a heist movie than an all-out superhero film but in the Ant-Man’s case, that works out to be this superhero’s movie unique charm.