Genre: Science-fiction, comic-book adaptation
Director/s: Peyton Reed
Running Time: 117 mins
Budget: $130 million
Released: 29 June 2015
Armed with a super-suit with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, cat burglar Scott Lang must embrace his inner hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.
Admittedly, Ant-Man was one of the Marvel films that I put on the back-burner, having no real desire to rush out to the cinema and see it as I would with say, The Avengers or Iron Man. Indeed, Ant-Man doesn’t really have the cash-cow potential of the ‘bigger’ (sorry, couldn’t resist…) Marvel heroes, but that’s not to say that Ant-Man doesn’t deserve recognition as this film is extremely enjoyable and has all the right ingredients for a successful superhero entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The premise is a simple one, soon after ending a stint in prison, long-time cat burglar Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) goes back to his ways after he struggles to maintain employment due to his shaky history. A heist goes “sour” after Scott breaks into an old vault that seems to have nothing of worth save for a strange suit and helmet which he steals anyway. Turns out the suit belongs to Dr. Hank Pym, a brilliant scientist who has designed a special serum which works in conjunction with the suit allowing the wearer to shrink in scale and increase in strength. Together with Dr. Pym and his daughter – Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), Scott must master the suit’s power and infiltrate Pym Technologies in order to steal (and destroy) a prototype serum (reverse-engineered) which Dr. Pym’s former protégé – Darren Cross, wishes to weaponize for military application.
As expected, Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) is in the role of antagonist and also has his own prototype suit (intended for soldiers) – The Yellowjacket (a Yellow Jacket being a type of predatory wasp) which he will use to battle Ant-Man with. Ant-Man is definitely on a smaller scale (again, couldn’t resist) compared to films like Guardians of the Galaxy and the aforementioned Avengers, there’s no world-ending premise or alien overlords but Stark is name-dropped several times as is The Avengers so much so that at one point Scott goes toe-to-toe with one of them.
“…it’s clear that Marvel wish to fully integrate each one of their heroes into the MCU however minor they may be…”
Hope is Scott’s love interest in the film (though initially the relationship is antagonistic, as expected) and is set to become Wasp for the sequel – Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018). Ant-Man will also play a role in Captain America: Civil War so it’s clear that Marvel wish to fully integrate each one of their heroes into the MCU however minor they may be. Interestingly enough, Dr. Hank Pym was originally the creator of Ultron in the comics however, it was decided to cast Tony Stark as the killer-robot’s father as the producer’s felt there would have been too many ‘scientist characters’ vying for screen time in Age of Ultron. It’s also worth noting that in the comics, Scott Lang was the second Ant-Man, Hank Pym being the first (having created the super-suit and so forth).
Perhaps the strongest aspect of Ant-man is its humour. Paul Rudd does a fantastic job of keeping the audience engaged and entertained, whether it’s banter between allies or smack-talk against foes, Ant-Man will have you chuckling throughout the film’s duration. Michael Douglas did a good job of portraying Hank Pym and while Darren Cross was definitely not in the same league as the likes of Ultron, Thanos and the other big bads, he did a fine job keeping us entertained as the malicious ex-protégé with a chip on his shoulder and something to prove. It’s also worth noting that this film did a stellar job of making us care about ants (or perhaps one in particular) and managed to use them to great comedic effect at certain points.
In terms of visual-effects, Ant-man is top-notch. The shrinking effect is implemented well and all the ‘giant’ environments are wonderfully done, reminding me of the classic film Honey, I Shrunk the Kids – a film that I found utterly captivating and engrossing as a child. Ant-Man managed to capture some of that aforementioned nostalgia for me (especially since Honey, I Shrunk the Kids also featured an ant ‘hero’). The Ant-Man suit has also been brought to life wonderfully although, the central colours of the suit have been reversed – the primary colour now being black, accentuated by red on the chest and shoulders. Undoubtedly, this change was done in order to streamline the suit’s transition to the silver screen. Needless to say, the Ant-man’s Formicidae compatriots are animated brilliantly too.
In conclusion, Ant-Man is a great addition to the MCU roster. It’s funny, action-packed and certainly does its comic-book namesake justice. Even though Ant-Man isn’t in the same league as the other flashier Marvel films, it holds its own, offering a hugely entertaining and interesting adventure despite the various predictable plot elements present here.
Score | B