An Appropriately Small Marvel Movie: A Review of Ant-Man
By: Matthew Rembold
The past couple of years have been pretty good for Marvel Studios. They’ve had great success in taking their popular comic book characters and making them box office smashes, even going so far as to take relatively unknown characters and making them bigger than expected. For goodness sake, last year one of the biggest successes of last year was a movie about a talking raccoon and humanoid tree that can only say three words. Marvel clearly knows how to adapt their books to the big screen, so it’s no surprise that we get a great movie about a hero called Ant Man.
Ant-Man centers on a thief named Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), who’s trying to go straight, but has great difficulty getting back into a normal life. When Lang gets in trouble with the law once again, he is recruited by Hank Pym (Michael Douglass) and his daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly) to stop the the corrupt Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) from misusing a new invention deemed too dangerous for use by Pym. With the help of a super suit designed to shrink its wearer to the size of an ant, Scott must stop Cross from mass producing his new invention, before it gets into the wrong hands.
Once again, Marvel takes its lesser known characters and make them a box office success. On the surface it might seem like Ant-Man is a typical super hero action adventure film, and in some portions of the movie, that statement stands true. Luckily for the movie, these portions of super heroism are reduced to an appropriately small size and confined to just a few scenes in the movie. It’s not that these scenes are bad, it’s just nice to see a change up from the typical super hero film. When Lang isn’t performing various acts of heroism, he’s planning a grand heist with Hank and Hope. For the majority of the film, it’s being set up as a heist film, which is a nice change of pace considering what studio is making making the movie. The heist element is very unique and entertaining to watch. Another fun element is how they try to make the shrinking down of a man and his ability to use ants as allies sound as if there was a real science to it. It makes you feel as if there is actually an explanation for why all that is happening can actually happen, even if the explanation is never directly given. I found it really enjoyable to see that it wasn’t completely like the Marvel movies that have come before it.
Marvel has once again done a great job with their casting. Paul Rudd gives it his all as Scott Lang, delivering a funny and believable performance. Michael Douglass is also a great mentor and gives the best performance of the whole movie as Hank Pym. Michael Peña, who has yet to have been mentioned, gives a very comedic and memorable performance as one of Scott’s partners in crime. Peña and his crew of misfits provide several great comedic scenes that don’t feel forced and work very well into the film. Corey Stoll as the villain also does a very good job, however the character of Yellowjacket is probably the weakest of the characters. It has nothing to do with Stoll’s performance, it’s simply that the kind of character he is portraying happens to be a very typical villain in the Marvel Universe. The villains have been a weak point in this film franchise aside from the stand outs of Loki and Ultron in the Avengers Films. Luckily, the character of Yellowjacket isn’t much of a negative as he is still a pretty cool and entertaining villain, his motivations for what he does however, are done in a very typical fashion. The character is somewhat reminiscent of Obedia Stane, the villain from the first Iron Man film. Ant-Man seems to take several pointers from the first Iron Man, but if it was going to borrow from any movie, it picked from a very good one. Ant-Man also ties itself very well into the established Marvel Cinematic Universe. There are several subtle references to other films as well as a very surprises for fans of the franchise. Oh and don’t forget to stay till after the credits for the signature Marvel after credit scenes.
One recommendation I must make, that I hardly ever make, is go see this movie in 3D if you have the chance. I hardly will make that recommendation, but Ant-Man is an exception. Instead of using the 3D as a simple gimmick, it’s actually used in a way that enhances the movie. This stands out especially during the scenes where Scott must shrink down to the size of an ant. Even if you aren’t watching in 3D, it’s very very impressive to see. The special effects work perfectly and make you believe as if you’re actually running along side with this tiny man and his army of ants.
Overall, Ant-Man is another enjoyable romp into the world of Marvel. The characters are funny and a joy to watch on screen. While it may not have the strongest of villains, it still has a pretty cool one. The action scenes are great and do a perfect job of making you feel as if you just shrunk down with Lang and are going on an adventure. This is a highly recommended movie, so check it out if you get the chance.