Movie Review: Ant-Man

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Starring Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Michael Peña, Anthony Mackie, Tip Harris and David Dastmalchian ; Directed by Peyton Reed

My Plot Synopsis

Scott Lang is an ex-con just released after three years in prison. He’s in search of a break from his past and stumbles upon Dr. Henry Pym and his daughter Hope Van Dyne. He is then recruited to take the mantle of Ant-Man to sneak into a place and steal some stuff from a new player in the evil technological villain scene. 

Expectations going into the film: I really considered not seeing the film until about a week ago. I never read Ant-Man, didn’t know that much about him, but came to experience Hank Pym’s Ant-Man in Avengers Assemble and The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. I saw a few clips Marvel released and the visual of Thomas the Train peaked my interest.

DID I LIKE

Overall, yes. It’s not the strongest Marvel film, but it’s not the worst either. (Full MCU rankings the review.)

THE POSITIVES

Yay for Agent Carter and Howard Stark. That scene set the tone for Hank Pym and how he existed before The Avengers but off the grid.

Evangeline Lilly’s Hope is the best part of the movie. She’s tough, smart, and ambitious. The dynamic of the main trio was very well done. It progressed throughout the story from a team of convenience into a more welcoming circle of trust. You create an
emotional connection with these three by the end of the film, and even with Scott Lang’s number one mate ANTony. So much so with the latter that you miss him when he’s gone. 

I enjoyed the scene with Falcon. Although why would he use semiautomatic pistols to take out a tiny thief? Can we say, “overkill?” If this is what was happening while the rest of The Avengers were fighting Ultron, then I can see the need for “guns ablazing”: the man’s bored out of his mind. 

The final fight had a wonderful mix of action, comedy, and drama. I’ll never look at Thomas the Train the same way again. Or ants, for that matter…weird looking dogs.

The 3D was sensational. The good movies use 3D now for added depth and dimension. Ant-Man took it to the next level with how they shot the scenes when he shrunk down.

Notable scenes: Ant-Man escaping over the Cross Tech model, a small Spider-Man reference, the suit training and shrink effect, T.I. stealing the car, and Peña saving the guard.

THE NEGATIVES 

The weirdest part of the movie is how it just started. I just made it to my seat, look up, and BANG! there it is. Scott Lang is made out to be a criminal with an extensive record. From the way his wife treats him to the viral marketing video of his in-prison interview, we get the sense he’s had a bad history with the law. But then we hear of a couple little cases and then this major  “Robin Hood”-like redistribution of wealth. How did this electrical engineer go from “electrical engineering” something to doing parkour and knowing the history of safes? There’s no clear vision as to why he turned to the wrong side of the law in the first place. Then, of course, his baby momma would date a cop (saw that coming from a mile away). 

Oh, and a point of clarification please: were the charges dropped? Hope could have called and dropped them, but then there’s the whole issue of Scott’s escape from the jail. The cop gives the excuse that the video malfunctioned, but that doesn’t get rid of the fact he still disappeared from a jail and all those cops were sent out for him. Wouldn’t that be a drastic misuse of funds?

This will go against the grain of communal thought, but by the end of the movie I had T.I., Michael Peña and Daid Dastmalchian overload. I enjoyed them at first, but by the end I really wished they would go away. 

This movie needed the Wasp, and not just the snippit of Janet Van Dyne in action with Hank Pym on that rocket, or her conveniently covered face in the only close up of a Pym family photo. We needed Hope in the suit. Coming in at the end of the movie, saving Scott from mortal danger. This ties into a point about the movie’s villain..what villain you ask? You’re right. He’s not a strong villain at all despite the actor playing Darren Cross, Corey Stoll. He falls flat and dull, and by the time he gets into the Yellow Jacket suit it’s too late to make us fear him and what he’s capable of.

Wrap-Up

I enjoyed the film. My wife and I don’t get out that much and whatever we do needs to be worth our while. This movie was and we had a good time watching and discussing the movie afterwards. Again, I wish we had more Wasp, but less of the Wombats. Strong performances from Douglas, Lilly, and Rudd. I look forward to more Ant-Man in the MCU.

Overall: 7.5 out of 10  

MCU Rankings:

  1. Captain America; The Winter Soldier
  2. Guardians of the Galaxy
  3. Avengers: Age of Ultron
  4. Iron Man
  5. Marvel’s The Avengers
  6. Thor
  7. Ant-Man
  8. Captain America: The First Avenger
  9. The Incredible Hulk
  10. Iron Man 2
  11. Thor: The Dark World
  12. Iron Man 3

Final Note: Ant-Man’s the third best solo origin MCU film in my opinion after Iron Man and Thor. That’s not a bad place to reside; again, it’s in the middle.

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