“What is this? A movie for ants?”
Like nearly every cinema-goer on the planet, we’re pretty much on the verge of superhero fatigue… and this is even before DC has had a chance to wind-up. Sure, we don’t want to sound ungrateful or anything – Iron Man and Guardians of the Galaxy were great – but let’s be honest, it’s getting harder to become excited about each new release. And going by our rough ‘back of a napkin’ calculation, colloquially known as ‘reading Wikipedia’, Ant-Man is the thirteenth instalment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? That’s a lot of movies. And once you’ve burnt through staples like Iron Man, Thor and Cap, where do you go from there? To lesser-known characters. Ant-Man? Some dude who controls insects? The Average Joe might call that scraping the bottom of the barrel. But for those who have seen Guardians, or consider themselves true nerds, it’s safe to say that there’s a lot of life left in the Marvel universe. It’s all about keeping the genre fresh… and hopefully for everyone’s sake, Ant-Man can do exactly that.
Ant-Man is the story of cat-burglar Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), who armed with a super-suit that has the ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, must embrace his inner hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.
If you’re a regular on YouSeenThat, you’d know that we had our reservations about Guardians of the Galaxy. And much like the aforementioned Marvel release featuring Burt Macklin FBI, Rocket the talking raccoon, and a laconically-lazy walking tree, we actually had even bigger reservations about Ant-Man. Truth be told, we seriously considered giving it a miss. Ant-Man? What sort of lame character is that? Again, we decided to do some research and the truth is that Ant-Man is kind of a big deal. Pardon the pun. The character (depending on which incarnation) was actually one of the co-founders of the original Avengers. Even though the Marvel Cinematic Universe may be a little ‘different’ in that regard, when the Big-M decided to roll the dice with Ant-Man it seemed like a massive gamble. The whole premise goes against the grain – you know, the gods and super soldiers thing that they’ve cultivated of late… but having seen the finished product, we’ve got to admit that Marvel’s foray into another of their lesser-known characters has again paid dividends.
Ant-Man was a lot of fun!
As we hinted at, this instalment is a different beast: it’s a heist movie. It’s basically Marvel’s crack at Ocean’s Eleven. And like Guardians was a breath of fresh air in a stale universe, Ant-Man is the antidote for a tired superhero genre. The movie opens with our first glimpse of a down-on-his-luck Scott Lang being released from prison… and like any typical heist setup, we soon find our lead falling back into old habits. Okay, nothing new so far. But when you combine that well-worn trope with Marvel’s take on the superhero genre, you get an end product that shakes-up the bog-standard origin story. We’ve got to say that it’s nice to forget about Thanos and his stupid stones for a couple of hours; Ant-Man is just a good old-fashioned crime caper… eh, with blokes in shrinking suits and telepathically-controlled insects.
When you put it like that it the premise sounds over the top… but it works.
Crime capers aside, what ultimately sold us on Ant-Man was the solid mix of action and humour. Watching Lang beat seven-shades-of-crap out of both friend and foe as he rapidly morphs between man-size and ant-size was a joy, albeit a tad disorienting at times. In fact, it got us barred-up as we pondered all the insane ways in which Ant-Man could potentially compliment the current Avengers roster. It’s going to be interesting to see how the brains-trust at Marvel decide to inject Scott Lang among the gods, aliens and already brimming roster of scientific geniuses. But Ant-Man is more than just mindless action – it actually turns out to be one of the funnier Marvel offerings. If you’ve seen the trailer, the whole Thomas The Tank Engine scene was an absolute hoot. Honestly, we can’t recall any scene in the previous twelve movies that received so many laughs from the audience, young and old alike.
But that’s not to say that Paul Rudd is overshadowed by a toy train – his comedic pedigree is well established. And for all those haters out there who dissed the guy: sorry, Rudd does a great job. The guy is not only funny, he’s charismatic, has a decent set of abs, and most important of all – he’s thoroughly believable as the ‘everyman’. And on the other side of the coin, and equally as solid, is Corey Stoll as Darren Cross, aka Yellowjacket. While the guy is nowhere as villainous as many of his other counterparts, there’s something honest and grounded in his portrayal.
Then you have the one and only Michael Douglas as Hank Pym. Between us, there wasn’t a lot to write home about in terms of his performance. Michael Douglas was, eh, playing Michael Douglas. And Evangeline Lilly’s character? She felt about as cold as a pair of jocks carved from an ice-cube. In actuality, Michael Pena as the dodgy-but-lovable sidekick delivers the majority of the memorable scenes/lines throughout the movie. “We’re the good guys, right?” And fortunately for all, Pena is used sparingly enough to prevent the clichéd ‘sidekick syndrome’ that usually accompanies wise-cracking characters.
But as much as we liked Ant-Man, it did suffer from Marvel’s ‘elephant in the room’: the villain in the suit. It began with Ironmonger in Iron Man and has polluted almost every Marvel movie since: the almost identical villain using almost identical powers/technology as our hero. Yeah, villains in general aren’t Marvel’s strongpoint – or at least the villains in the Marvel MCU. It seems that Fox nabbed most of the awesome villains like Magneto and Apocalypse. But we digress… sure Yellowjacket and Ant-Man had some great comedic tussles toward the end but it just felt like the same old shtick. And like almost every other villain, with the exception of Loki, you know that you’re never going to see any of these clowns again. It’s classic churn-and-burn: props to set up the origin story.
Overall, Ant-Man was another opportunity for Marvel to debut one of their lesser-known characters and much like Guardians of the Galaxy, they hit it out of the park with a deft mixture of action and humour. While it might not surpass the original Iron Man, or even Guardians, it does come close to sneaking into our top five Marvel efforts.
The A.D.D. Version:
Ant-Man was another opportunity for Marvel to debut one of their lesser-known characters and much like Guardians of the Galaxy, they hit it out of the park with a deft mixture of action and humour. While it might not surpass the original Iron Man, or even Guardians, it does come close to sneaking into our top five Marvel efforts.
- What is this? A movie for ants?
- Never thought we’d love seeing Thomas again.
- Evangeline Lilly’s haircut = yuck.
- So why can’t the Ant-Man suit grow?
- Most pointless end-credits scene ever?
See This Film If You Like:
- Iron Man
- Guardians of the Galaxy
The YouSeenThat.Com Popcorn Rating:
Marvel meets Ocean’s Eleven.