Marvel’s Ant-Man Review

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I like Paul Rudd. I think he’s a great actor, a great comedian, and all around swell guy. Ant-Man is a Paul Rudd movie. Ant-Man is not a Marvel movie, or at least it didn’t feel like one. There’s is nothing wrong with that whatsoever, but I’m at a loss to figure out why Marvel would choose it to close out Phase Two. To be honest, it really should have ended with Captain America: The Winter Soldier (which was epic), but I’m sure I’m just missing something that Kevin Feige is holding close to his chest.

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD.

So we start with a pretty sweet “long time ago” intro that has our beloved Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) in some aged makeup, though not to the extent of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. We also get older Howard Stark, played by John Slattery (who last appeared in Iron Man 2), and a computer-assisted de-aged Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Mitchell Carson (Martin Donovan). It was nice; I really liked the early clash with SHIELD. It easily explains Pym’s absence from the entire MCU up until this point.

NA-117354Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is in jail. He was arrested for some fantastically amazing burglary and let out after serving his time. He meets up with his old cellmate Luis (Michael Pena), and meets his two friends Dave and Kurt. After an unsuccessful attempt at Baskin Robbins and trying to visit his daughter, he caves and goes after a score, which happens to be at Hank Pym’s house. When Lang later sits down with Pym, and tells him his solution is to “call the Avengers”, I laughed. Lang was right because it’s their kind of problem, but Pym was also right when he said “dropping a city from the sky”. Nice burn.

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Things happen and we get a bad guy – Darren Cross/Yellowjacket (Corey Stoll). As the movie progresses, we find that he’s a lot smarter than one would have suspected as he figured out everything that was going on and captures Lang. Now, it’s nice to see a villain that sees a few steps ahead, but it doesn’t mean I’m going to like him any better for killing a lamb. Yes, I’m going to get irate about that because it wasn’t cool. I also got massive Honey, I Shrunk The Kids flashbacks as they killed ants and Hedwig’s death ache (from Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows) when Antony went down.

The film had some great comedic moments, mostly thanks in part to great writing, timing, and the cast itself, but I think it relied a bit too heavily on that element. The giant ant and the mini-fight sequence was great and the interrupted kiss with Lang and Hope van Dyne (Evangiline Lily), as their romance appeared mostly off-screen was cute. Granted, you’re discussing a man who shrinks and pals around with insects, so you can only get so serious with it. A lot of the character background seemed to be whitewashed, though mostly in regard to one character. For anyone who’s read Ant-Man, they know the less than stellar history of Hank Pym, so putting the focus on Lang was a wiser choice.

When I left the theatre after Avengers: Age of Ultron, I had some unhappy feelings. When I left the theatre after Ant-Man, I was a bit “meh” and felt like I must have missed something. There were the obligatory easter eggs, with Stan Lee’s appearance near the end, a shout out to Spider-Man, and a feature role for Sam Wilson/Falcon (Anthony Mackie), amongst a few other ones. Things changed though once I sat through the credits. The mid-credits scene was about establishing Hope as the new Wasp. The post credits scene, though… Now that was worth the price of admission. We get Cap, Falcon, and BUCKY! (Yes, he deserves all caps locks.) We also get out first taste of Captain America: Civil War, with a nod to the Superhero Registration Act. So when Wilson says he “knows a guy”, it sets up Lang’s return for that film.

ant_man_stillUltimately, I still would have liked a bit more out of the film. What that more is, I can’t figure out just yet. I think I might need to see the movie again to be sure to parse it thoroughly. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t dislike Ant-Man; it was funny and I’ll definitely watch it again, though probably not as many times as other MCU movies.

Author: Bandit


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  1. Why would Marvel close out Phase Two with this movie? Why would Marvel introduce more super-scientists to the MCU? Why would Marvel bring in new heroes to build up the hero roster just before Civil War, which kinda needs lots of supers? Why would Marvel tease additional heroes? What are the implications of bringing in another female, Wasp, into the New Avengers; which currently has two females, Black Widow and Scarlet Witch?

    You see where I’m going with this? This was another fantastic Marvel movie of another genre, a heist movie. Marvel has proven that the superhero movie can be much more than a gimmick, it can be a real movie. Edgar Wright worked SO HARD to get this movie together and you can hear and feel his influences all throughout the movie. I was heartbroken when he left the project! But I digress, the movie was brilliant. Just like an Ocean’s movie or a Mission Impossible we got out set up, our players, and a plan of attack. It was a fun ride to see the precise execution in those final scenes.

    The movie also contained a MASSIVELY UNEXPECTED amount of world building. That early scene with Pym, Peggy, and Stark was completely unexpected! It gave a great insight to Hank’s role in the building of SHIELD, as well as Howard and Peggy. Furthermore, we got to see vintage superheroes in action with Ant Man and Wasp back in the day! Supers have been around for longer than we think, and not just Cap. In addition to SHIELD origins, we got a peak at what the Avengers are up to. Chatter from the characters gave us an interesting look at how the world sees superheroes, too. “Call the Avengers.”

    We got a fantastic Marvel villain, which Marvel has been having trouble with. We’ve gotten death and destruction but have struggled to find a truly well written villain. Ultron had a great, yet simple, motivation when he wanted to destroy humans for the sake of peace and I still feel like he was underutilized. Darren Cross was fantastically written as the protege cast aside while pining for the approval of his mentor. When he couldn’t earn it he tried to seize it. Like any brilliant mind trying to save the world he created a weapon that could destroy it and he had no qualms when it came to working with Hydra. It was a logical progression for a character becoming a villain and it fit the MCU perfectly.

    Hope Van Dyne, also brilliant. Scientist, business woman, badass. She was already a superhero and she didn’t even have to put on the suit! Come time for Civil War she’ll be fully suited up as the Wasp! How is her introduction not important? Rhetorical, it is important.

    Captain America: Winter Soldier was a spy thriller. Guardians of the Galaxy was a space sci-fi fantasy action comedy. Thor was a fantasy action love story. Every Marvel movie franchise has done a great job of being different while still fitting in the same world. Kevin Feige has done a great job of keeping that world cohesive, save for a few creative differences with some of the writers and directors.

    Ant Man is one of my new favorites Marvel flicks, right after the Captain America movies.

    1. The take away from the comment, to me, is that Ant-man fanboys have always been an continue to be defensive about criticism towards this arm of the franchise. The criticisms in the review are valid. This was an extremely odd choice to close out Phase II.

      Furthermore, as good as Hope van Dyne is, it doesn’t take away from the #JanetVanCrime of having the original Wasp killed off screen nor how horrifically badly this movie failed at the Bechdel test. One awesome female character does not negate the other crimes against female characters committed here.

      I’m happy you enjoyed it, but the comment reads less like a rebuttal to the review or a differing opinion and more like the knee-jerk defensiveness that has surrounded this film since it was officially added to the MCU.

      1. I’m curious (because of #janetvancrime, my family has refused to see this movie)… Is it true that Hope Van Dyne would have made a more competent suit-wearer than Scott Lang?

        If so, I guess it’s just another misogynist sausagefest of a super hero movie. It makes me sad cause it seems like it’s one of the few recently released super hero movies that might have been acceptable for a child to watch but the misogynistic brainwashing negates the lack of gore and vulgarities.

  2. One more note about the mid credits and post credits scenes:

    YouTuber Anna Akana makes a cameo as “the hot girl who knows a guy” in that final scene with Stan Lee. It’s great to see YouTubers crossing into mainstream media. As one of her fans I was going crazy when I saw her on the big screen. I hope to see her again since they pointed out that she has connections to all of these other heroes: “a guy that jumps, a guy that swings, a guy that crawls on walls.”

    The after credits set up for Civil War was AWESOME! It’s good to see Bucky again.

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