Predicted by many to be the first Marvel film to flop financially, Peyton Reed’s Ant-Man has finally reached the big screen. Despite these concerns and years of rewrites and cast and crew shake-ups, the final product is actually rather quite pleasing.
Ant-Man follows the story of small-time crook Scott Lang, who is enlisted by retired scientist Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) to don a special suit, designed by Pym, and effectively become the eponymous hero. The casting is more or less spot on; I’m a huge fan of Paul Rudd, he is perfect for playing that witty average Joe type character, consider Role Models, or Knocked Up. He basically does the same here, albeit also being a petty crook. Douglas puts in a solid performance as Lang’s mentor, Corey Stoll is menacing as villain Darren Cross (fans of House of Cards should recognize him), and also fans of The Wire will be intrigued to see Wood Harris playing a police detective (he is known for playing crime kingpin Avon Barksdale in the series).
Like Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man has a different feel to it than other Marvel outings. It has a much more relaxed tone, although the world is at stake in the film’s conclusion, it doesn’t really feel like it, and it still feels like an almost comedic crime caper with a superhero thrown in, which is basically what the film is as a whole. The laughs are much more frequent in Ant-Man than in other Marvel films, this is in no doubt due to the involvement of Edgar Wright (writer and director of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz). Wright pulled out of directing at the last minute, but his name is stamped all over the film’s script. Wright, at one point, asks what everyone should be asking in each standalone Marvel film: “Maybe we should call the Avengers?”
Ant-Man’s inclusion into the Avengers has always seemed to be a bit of an issue. However, since the announcement that he would be included in the third Avengers film, you can clearly see the foundations being built for this inclusion in Ant-Man. The join is seamed over masterfully by Wright and Anthony Mackie’s superhero, The Falcon acts as the bridge between the two films as a typically Marvel post-credits sequence reveals. There are in fact two post credits sequences in Ant-Man, so make sure you stay long after the film has finished to see another Marvel teaser.
Reed’s film is an extremely enjoyable watch, occasionally amusing, and occasionally heartfelt, it will surely not be the financial flop predicted. Carried by Rudd’s charisma, it will be interesting to see how Ant-Man fares amongst more dominating superheroes in Captain America: Civil War (2016) and Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1 (slated for release in 2018), especially without the involvement of the film’s standout element, Wright’s script.