Heroes don't get any bigger.
Ant-Man is a 2015 superhero film directed by Peyton Reed, written by Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish, Adam McKay, and Paul Rudd, produced by Marvel Studios, and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is based on Ant-Man comics by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, and Jack Kirby. It stars Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas. It was not nominated for any Academy Awards. This is the first film in the Ant-Man series. It acts as a prequel to Captain America: Civil War, but has a direct sequel, titled Ant-Man and the Wasp.
"Baskin Robbins always finds out." -Luis
Small-time burglar Scott Lang is looking for a new lifestyle to provide for his daughter. The opportunity comes with a bigger burden than expected, though, as Scott meets Dr. Hank Pym and his daughter, Hope van Dyne. The pair offers Scott a new job as the Ant-Man; a shrinking superhero designed to be unnoticeable. While Scott learns to become Ant-Man, Hank's former friend and student Darren Cross begins a plot to unleash havoc and warfare through the shrinking tech.
The first thing I have on this movie is the story and tone. This movie came out after age of Ultron, which was Marvel's biggest movie since The Avengers. So, naturally, people wanted more than Ant-Man. But this movie is just such a delightful and dun change of pace in the MCU, and it is very aware of its size. It doesn't try to be the next big blockbuster movie that is going to gross two billion dollars. It just wants to provide the audience with a fun and funny movie that everyone can enjoy. They make the story suitable for kids, because it is a very funny movie and they don't make it a violent film. They made a heist movie that can keep you invested while also providing so much entertainment at the same time.
The characters are all great. Scott Lang is the best, obviously, because he is a criminal that is a good guy at his core. He is a family man that wants to provide for his daughter, but has to keep turning to crime to do it. He is kind of smart while also kind of an idiot. He is a fun character just like the rest of the movie. Hank Pym, who is the more well-known Ant-Man from the comics, is also a likable character. He is a very sarcastic and cold scientist, but a good man at heart. Hope van Dyne is the skeptic and feels like kind of an anti-hero for the first bit of the movie, as she is against using Scott as the Ant-Man and does everything she can to stop him from being Ant-Man. Darren Cross, in my opinion, is actually a pretty good villain. He is kind of a generic pissed off student, but they haven't done that in the MCU. They make it interesting with the Pym Particle. I think that Yellowjacket is elevated by a great performance from Corey Stoll, so that may be part of my liking for the character. Luis, Dave, and Kurt are absolutely hilarious and provide most of the laughs for the movie. They are the biggest idiots, and all three actors just add to the funniness of the characters.
The acting is great. Paul Rudd delivers his usual funny performance with a spice of caring and superhero charm and charisma that makes Ant-Man one of the best heroes in the MCU. He makes the character funny, likable, and sympathetic at pretty much all times, and it is just so much fun to watch. Michael Douglas is perfect for Hank Pym as this kind of egotistical and lost scientist that feels loss and regret from the death of his wife. Evangeline Lilly does a great job of acting annoyed and has a huge dislike for Scott, but then realizes that she was wrong, and does a good job of turning around her feelings for both Scott and her father. Corey Stoll makes Yellowjacket very foreboding and menacing. I think his performance is super underrated, and it makes an otherwise generic villain much more of a humanly character that isn't just a rehash of Obadiah Stane. Michael Peña is a standout as Luis, and he is really what makes the character the funniest part of the film. The scenes were he is just ranting on about stuff to Scott are some of the best stuff in this film, and Peña's performance makes it all the more better.
I think that the final act is very good. Once again, the smaller scale of the film makes it more enjoyable, as it doesn't have as big a burden as the Avengers or Captain America films do. The Cross Technologies heist is great, as they use all of Ant-Man's powers, and each character gets their own little moment. It pays off when Cross reveals that he knows their plans and then fights Scott inside of a briefcase and on his daughter's train tracks. The part where a giant Thomas the Train bursts out of the window is so great and unexpected. They do a fantastic job of utilizing all of Ant-Man's powers. It makes the final act one of the most unique and exciting in the entire universe.
First off, the film is very light on action. There is almost no action until the third act, with the exception of a quick fight between Ant-Man and Falcon. It can slow the pace of the film quick a bit. There isn't much room for action, but I wish that they had squeezed in a couple more sequences. I also think that when the action is present, it isn't very good. Sure, the settings are cool, but it doesn't make the actual fighting good.
I do think that the middle act can be somewhat slow. It's a lot of learning and planning to steal the tech from the Avengers, and then steal the Yellowjacket suit from Cross Tech. There is a lot of blabber that really doesn't mean much to you until the final act.
I think that the subplot about Scott being chased by the police is terrible. It isn't present in most of the film until Scott needs to eventually fight Yellowjacket. When they cut to Paxton trying to find Scott, you go "Ugh," and roll your eyes, because it pulls you out of the main storyline, which is fun and exciting. It felt like they forced that story, and it is done so lazily.
Despite a weak subplot and a slower middle act, Ant-Man delivers a fun, family-friendly experience that doesn't have the weight of the world on its shoulders.
I will give it a Sweet rating. Age range is 8+.
SWEET N' SOUR SCALE
Sweet (Great) Savory (Good) Sour (Bad)
Fun Factor: 9/10
Directed by Peyton Reed
Released on July 17, 2015
Rated PG-13 for superhero violence and action, language, disturbing images
1 hour and 57 minutes
Paul Rudd as Scott Lang/Ant-Man
Michael Douglas as Dr. Hank Pym
Evangeline Lilly as Hope van Dyne
Corey Stoll as Darren Cross/Yellowjacket
Michael Peña as Luis
Bobby Cannavale as Jim Paxton
Judy Greer as Maggie Lang
Abby Ryder Fortson as Cassie Lang
Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson/Falcon
T.I. as Dave
David Dastmalchian as Kurt
Stan Lee as Bartender