Marvel closes out their Phase 2 run of movies with Ant-Man – a fairly unexpected addition to their Movie line-up given the world of characters they have available but I knew it would be one I’d give a go.
It’s a movie that seemed to be fraught with changes along the way including the departure of Edgar Wright from the directors chair but the strength of the cast and the momentum behind the whole MCU always gave this a real potential. Paul Rudd takes up the leading role as Scott Lang, an ex-con who has just left jail with an aim to go straight but his previous cell-mate Michael Pena has a new group with a new heist in mind.
Desperate to get his life on-track and with his attempts at gaining employment, get an apartment and begin making things up to his daughter & ex-wife becoming all but impossible…..he’s soon sucked back into the world that got him in trouble in the first place. His criminal ways have not gone unnoticed though as Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) has been keeping his eyes on him with an aim to recruit him for a heist of his own.
The humour oozes out of the film from the beginning and Rudd is the embodiment of the movies vibe…..in fact, I can’t think of anyone better suited for the part. Not to say that he only plays the clown as his quest to do good for the sake of his daughter comes across as very real and honest. Dr. Hank Pym marks a chance for Lang to achieve that by doing something that could save the world…..and all by doing what he does best. Pym’s research resurfaces in the hands of his previous protege Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) and as he edges closer to a breakthrough with it he needs to be stopped.
Pym’s estranged daughter Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lily) is the woman closest to Cross but also an insider for her father’s quest to save the world from the fallout of his life’s work. Albeit her relationship with her father is on the rocks since the loss of her mother it remains a contrasting element between the lives of Pym & Lang. That common ground is ever-present but never over-used allowing it to remain as the anchor that makes the combination of these characters much more natural than you’d expect.
With the goal in sight……cue that montage as Lang gets put through his paces with the suit, the ants he’ll have to control and the combat training that Hope provides and the movie pace is steady from here on out. The inclusion of Lang’s ex-cellmate Luis (Michael Pena) and his group of skilled cons give this new team even wider appeal as the smarts and the street smarts combine to face off against Cross who is quickly developing his YellowJacket suit for sale to the highest bidder.
A strong lead, a top supporting cast and slick script make this a great addition to the current MCU and it’s one of the most fun films that Marvel have released. Another side-step away from the recognized Avengers team proves to be a smart one and like Guardians of the Galaxy the set-pieces & new characters help bolster the already impressive roster of comic book characters that are gracing the big screen. It’s not without it’s flaws for sure, as like most previous movies the villain somehow feels neglected but the strength of performance by Stoll keeps this from becoming a non-existent element of the movie……after all it may well be the introduction of a new hero but his opposite is just as crucial for the plot to succeed. It’s maybe time for a movie about a Marvel villain……maybe 🙂
Overall this was just plain fun for the duration with some great set pieces and a smart use of the life size & ant-sized elements as they blended together well. There may well be a question hanging over this of “What if?” given the loss of Edgar Wright from the director’s chair but I think this still helped Marvel branch out with other characters. Nods to the other Marvel movies were dropped in their too and a mid & post credits scene helped emphasize that this is another worthy entry in Marvel’s bigger plans…….roll on Phase 3.