Despite the throngs of doubters (and I was certainly among them) who thought that the late-coming director, Peyton Reed (Yes Man), would never be able to pull off this film successfully, he has delivered an outstanding Marvel masterpiece; which I found to be every bit as entertaining as Avengers: Age of Ultron, and one of the best MCU films to date.
While waiting for it to finally arrive in theaters, I had a lot of apprehension about this summer’s Ant-Man movie. I don’t particularly care for its star, Paul Rudd; I was worried about its tweaking of Hank Pym’s storied Marvel history; and then there’s the unseemly departure of the film’s original writer/director, Edgar Wright, which did not set well with many fans. But I’m very happy to say that the picture squashed all of my misgivings and is the most fun I’ve had at the movies so far this year.
Ant-Man embodies the successful Marvel movie recipe that mixes drama, superheroes, science-fiction, incredible special-effects, and good-natured humor; but this one probably has an extra measure of playfulness – which the world can definitely use.
The story plays fast and loose with its comic book origins, but as someone who is a stickler for honoring the classic source material, I was very pleased with the movie’s many Easter eggs and nods to its ancestry. There are a couple of items they skipped over altogether, but so as not to spoil anything, I won’t get into that now. The bottom line is that, if you are a fan of the books, I think you’ll be very happy with the mashed-up comic storylines adapted in this movie.
Paul Rudd is ex-convict, Scott Lang, who is trying to do right by his daughter, Cassie, who lives with his ex-wife (Judy Greer) and her jerk-cop husband (Bobby Cannavale). He reluctantly returns to burglary, together with his partner, Luis (Michael Pena), and, through the machinations of Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and his daughter, Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), Lang inadvertently ends up auditioning to be the Ant-Man.
Pym recruits Scott to use the Ant-Man’s shrinking abilities to break into the Cross Technologies laboratory to steal the Yellowjacket suit, which Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) has developed using stolen Pym shrinking technology. Cross plans to sell the tech to nefarious parties that intend to use it for evil purposes. So, yes, it’s a world-saving mission.
There are several exciting cameos in the movie, including one by Saturday Night Live’s original Ant-Man (Garrett Morris), and be sure to wait in your seat until all of the credits have run to see two post-film addendums to the story; the first of which is crazy cool and a dream come true.
The cast of Ant-Man couldn’t be better. Corey Stoll as Cross is the best love-to-hate Marvel villain to date; and Evangeline is as Evangelovely as ever, wickedly smart and sexy, and beautifully badass. Rudd, who I mentioned is not a favorite of mine, delivers his most likeable and least smug performance to date. I genuinely liked him as Scott Lang and I’m looking forward to seeing him evolve in the Marvel cinematic universe.
The macro-cinematography in this movie is amazing and takes you on a thrilling ride through the world from an insect’s perspective. I don’t typically endorse IMAX and 3D, but this movie is worth seeing in that format to fully enjoy its insanely awesome visual effects and action sequences.
My only minor complaint about this film is that they didn’t figure out a way to incorporate Frank Sinatra’s “High Hopes” song into the soundtrack. Nevertheless, there’s lots of great music throughout, and this ant can definitely move a rubber tree plant. I can’t wait to watch it again! Grade: 9/10
Photos © 2015 Marvel/Disney