Written for Ramblin Entertainment by Matthew Sutton (@Filmatt)
Scott Lang is not a super soldier. Nor is he a demi-god. And he most definitely is not a billionaire playboy philanthropist. Ant-Man really wasn’t a character I was desperate to see and the loss of its original creative duo – Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish – were clear signs of a troubled movie and that wasn’t my only concern; this is also a film that should not work within the current context of the Marvel Cinematic Universe…
The titular man ant is just a con artist in the right place at the right time to acquire a special suit enabling him to not only shrink to the size of an ant but too control the little rascals too! This is more ridiculous then a talking racoon and a walking tree (wait, really?!).
So, the plot. Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) invents a suit that can reduce the space between atoms and shrink the wearer. Pym keeps this technology to himself, never sharing his secret formula – you wouldn’t want it falling into the wrong hands after all. Alas, his one time business partner Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) cracks the formula and designs his own shrinking suit (which of course he plans to sell to the military, the scoundrel). It’s up to Pym to coerce con-man Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) into aiding him steal back the technology from Cross – cue training montages and heist movie tropes galore! Yes, there are subplots – Pym’s relationship with his daughter, (in my opinion an underused Evangeline Lilly) and Lang’s relationship with his daughter and ex-wife – but these are mere window dressing for the primary subplot of the movie, Lang’s relationship with his pet ant (yep, there is an emotional relationship between a man and an ant).
The biggest plus for this film is its two leads both bring great performances. With Rudd I was sceptical of how Brian Fantana could become a serious Marvel hero but just like last years breakout performance from Chris Pratt, his everyman charisma seems to shine through. Douglas brings a steady hand and a dry wit to his portrayal of Hank Pym.
So what does this little film bring to the bigger world of the MCU? In an ant sized word – FUN! This film may be about a tiny hero but it has a big heart. It knows the concept is ridiculous and runs with it. And just like last years breakout Marvel hit Guardians of the Galaxy, this movie has comedy at its core and isn’t hampered by having to link heavily with the Marvel films encompassing it. Any links that do crop up are pleasurable and explore aspects we haven’t seen thus far (except for a scene in the middle which seems a little hampered by having to include the films token Avenger). Despite exploring themes that aren’t exactly new to us hardy, seasoned fans, we haven’t experienced an origin story from Marvel in recent memory and Ant-Man feels all the fresher for it. The feeling is reminiscent of the studios early outings. And the visuals? At times this movie looks spectacular in its scope and the shrinking man pov gives us new scale on the superhero genre. The final climatic super suit battle (every film has to have one!) actually feels fresh, comical, enjoyable and smart. In fact, the more I think about this film, the more I realise I enjoyed it. I would even go so far as to say this film was more enjoyable then the Age of Ultron – an age that didn’t last very long in my opinion…
Rambling Entertainment Rating? 4.5/6
P.S. Stay seated for two post credit stings – one where the term sting becomes a very clear pun and one that sets up the next MCU movie, Civil War!
Agree with Matt’s review or think he’s way off the mark? Leave your comments below and open a debate with our followers! Want to contribute a review? Then contact Ramblin Entertainment…
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