Time for a new chapter. So this is an origin story about the newest hero to the Marvel cinematic universe, Ant-Man (Paul Rudd). He is a convict with a heart of gold, and he gets recruited by Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) to be the next to don the suit. Please believe me when I say that I’ve been meaning to check this out for weeks now; it was a movie that I was excited for, but from a scheduling standpoint I wasn’t able to find the time until only recently. So now that I was finally able to watch it, what did I think? To quote the great Moulin Rouge: generally, I like it.
This is the twelfth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it is officially the end of Phase Two. It is good, it really is, but between this and Age of Ultron, it really has me curious about the future. Where does Marvel go from here? They kind of peaked with their stellar 2014 line-up, and despite Ultron bringing in truckloads upon truckloads of money, this is kind of a down year for them. Their movies have a formula that they follow, and the superhero movie is quickly reaching the dreaded saturation point. But still striking when the iron is warm and getting the movie in just before that bubble bursts, Ant-Man is a welcome addition, if only to get us more Paul Rudd. One thing I was aware of going in (and you should be too) is that this is a comedy. If you walk in expecting this to be a straight companion piece to The Winter Soldier, you may spend much of the beginning adjusting to the punchlines. It’s much more Guardians of the Galaxy, but at the same time, there is less joyful mayhem, so it does make it a lesser film.
These movies have a noticeable template, so it is hard to be surprised by the plot and the story. Where Ant-Man works best is when they are playing with him in the costume, changing his size. It shows that they were very inspired to get innovative, and I really wonder how much of that was Edgar Wright’s pen. If you didn’t know, Edgar Wright was originally brought on to write and direct, but ultimately had to abdicate the director’s chair for creative differences with Marvel, although he still maintained a story credit. I really wish we could have seen that movie, as the man has only made brilliant masterpieces to date, but we will never know, so c’est la vie. I want to see nothing but good things for Rudd, as I do think he is a genuine talent and is a great fit for the action-comedy as the lovable rogue. I think Corey Stoll turns in solid work because he has the chops to pull it off, and next to Loki, I would say that he gives the most committed villainous performance in this universe, even though his character may not have the best motivation. I have mixed feeling about Michael Peña, because while he did make me laugh, he just came off as way too eager to be in a Marvel movie. One thing I appreciated about this was the finale; in pretty much every single one of these movies, it ends in an excuse to just blow scenery up. Here, they actually have a very creative take on that, and it’s a breath of fresh air. For what it’s worth, I enjoyed this better than Age of Ultron, but I think I am about ready for them to shake these movies up.
Ant-Man (2015) ***1/2
– Critic for Hire