The size of the fight in the Ant-Man.
We have gotten a lot of superhero movies. I mean a lot. And not just from Marvel Studios. We’ve had dozens from the Marvel properties owned by Fox and Sony, Warner Brothers making some DC films, and occasionally other comic adaptations, or even some original concepts. Superhero movies have been doing a good job of adding variety in recent years. Marvel Studios especially, has been able to infuse sub-genres into their movies to create a more unique and varied experience than just seeing someone in tights fighting bad guys. We no longer get just superhero films. We also get tech noir, spy espionage, fantasy, space opera… So what does Marvel do with Ant-Man? Can they apply the same tricks and tactics to produce another unique experience? The answer is yes.
The mere concept of Ant-Man helps a lot. Ant-Man isn’t a giant beast with monstrous strength. He’s not a mythical being or scientifically enhanced human. Ant-Man is just a man in a suit. And it’s not even a super protective, high-tech suit like Iron Man either, just a suit to allow him to shrink and grow back. Ant-Man is probably Marvel’s weakest hero they’ve made a movie about so far, and that’s okay. It’s within Ant-Man’s abilities that more than make up for his lack of Hulk-sized power. It gives him the ability to handle situations in very unique ways and rely heavily on his strategic approach.
Ant-Man is aided perfectly by the other aspect of the film. It is a heist film. There are several heists throughout the movie, and Ant-Man’s abilities allow most of those heists to take really interesting angles. Speaking of heist movies, I find that what makes many of them great is when things don’t go exactly as planned and the thieves have to adapt to the problems on the spot. Such a thing happens quite often in Ant-Man, and usually to very comedic effect, although each time usually puts Ant-Man in more peril, near impossible situations.
Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is first shown getting out of prison and trying to better himself. He has a Masters in Electrical Engineering and he comes off as a really nice guy. What is the force driving Scott to be a better man? Scott wants nothing more than to be the man his little daughter can be proud of. Trouble is, his past keeps hindering his progress and he soon resorts to his old ways, starting with a simple job his friend Luis (Michael Pena) had ready for him. Once Scott opens up the safe of some retired old guy, he also opens Pandora’s Box and is forced into a world that alters his very perception of possibilities while simultaneously being told he has to assist in thwarting plans that could spell disaster for the future.
Most of the characters perform very well for the story. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) is fleshed out a bit with enough history to understand his present day actions. Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) struggles between wanting to help her father, and not wanting to do things exactly his way. Thanks to Scott, she ends up becoming more reluctant to Hank’s plan and offers a bit more assistance. Even Scott’s little girl, for what little she’s in the movie, shows just how much she believes in him and how strong a bond they have, like when Scott gave her a very bizarre birthday gift and she absolutely loved it. Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) is the big baddie of the film. He comes off as a little unclear in his transition to the dark side, but he does come off as menacing and a little unpredictable. He does something near the end that is by far one of the most evil decisions a villain can make, and he sheds no remorse or shame for doing it. Almost making him deserve what happened to him in the end.
Ant-Man can do a little more than shrink. He can also talk to ants. Not with the suit, but with another device Hank cooked up. Scott is also given some other weapons to use as the Ant-Man. Special discs that allow him to shrink or grow whatever they hit. These tools are valuable arsenals to the Ant-Man, but not something that is so easy to master, as we see Scott struggle with shrinking challenges and confronting/controlling ants as he learns to get the hang of it. The shrinking itself is used very well, and often, in comedic ways. Despite creating the Pym Particle, Hank still viewed it as a volatile substance that must not be tampered with too much, for good reason. The shrinking provides really interesting views of the world from a different scale. At one point, it provides a very surreal view with some high level concepts and theories in science at play.
Marvel’s Ant-Man is a bit of a surprise. Not a surprise like Guardians of the Galaxy being really well liked for rather unknown characters. It’s a surprise in how different the movie feels from all the other MCU movies. Perhaps it’s the smaller scope of it all. Yes, Ant-Man is trying to stop a world-altering plan, but only to the point of a single building. He’s not fighting to save a city floating in the air, or an army. He’s just trying to stop one man. Even when Darren Cross dons the Yellow Jacket suit, their fights are very intense, but all of the destruction they caused outside of Pym Industries adds up to little more than a helicopter, some poor familie’s back yard, and a piece of a house. The movie was toned down so much from all the tense action and adventures of the other movies that I had to stop and remind myself that I am watching a Marvel Studios movie a few times. I just kept getting lost in the fun, Paul Rudd endearing and Michael Pena’s chilling ride the film was providing.
(4.2 out of 5)
Ant-Man is an interesting way to end Phase 2, especially since it is right after the world traveling Avengers: Age of Ultron. The movie, however, fits nice and snug in the universe with the right Easter eggs and some real nice cameo appearances. It has two after credit scenes (of course). The first one gives a hint of more to come out of Ant-Man while the other is a clear set up for Captain America: Civil War. The latter giving plenty to be excited for as we wait for it to come out.