Summary: Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) battles Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) on a small scale to save the world.
Before I begin talking about the movie, I’m going to begin by saying that the hype leading up to this movie was a small number. It’s about a guy who can shrink to a size of an ant and control swarms of ants. Nobody can take that seriously. I was hyped from the announcement. Even when Edgar Wright dropped out of direction, he still did the screenplay. He loves comics and I could see that this was comic movie from the very beginning. I remember Darren Cross’ passing line about soviet propaganda and “Tales To Astonish”. Comic book readers will know that “Tales To Astonish” is one of the most renowned Ant-Man comic book storylines. It’s Ant-Man’s debut comic in 1962.
Scott Lang’s (Paul Rudd) Ant Man is quite like Peter Parker’s Spider-Man as in they’re always trying be witty and making jokes at awkward moments. For example when Hope (Evangeline Lily) & Hank (Michael Douglas) are having father-daughter moment and he makes it awkward by making a funny comment. He’s in the wrong places at the wrong time. It’s not cringey. It’s laugh out loud humor. It’s really funny in a big way. Then there’s his crew; Luis (Michael Pena), Curt (David Dastmalchian) and Dave (T.I) who help Scott pull off heists. Luis is the muscle, Curt is the hacker/techie and Dave is the man in the van. He’s the getaway. Typical. Black male always being the driver. Michael Pena should be in every Marvel movie. He is so funny and he his stories are overly dramatic.
The SFX were in moderation and the VFX were masterclass. They used it where they had to. Size matters. Falling through cracks, jumping through keyholes, running along a barrel of a gun or even falling into deep water. May I add that he went partying? In Avengers Assemble, Loki says “an ant has no quarrel with a boot”. Foreshadowing much?
Michael Douglas plays Henry ‘Hank’ Pym, Scott’s mentor. He was the first Ant-Man. His performance is legendary. He’s witty, serious (at times) and has lines that couldn’t possibly have been taken seriously like: “Just get on the damn ant Scott!”. It’s so bad that it’s good. You can’t take any of this seriously. Evangeline Lily plays Hope Van Dyne (Pym) and she teaches Scott how to fight. She teaches him how to punch and the first time, he gets a face full of fist. “That’s how you punch”
After seeing Corey Stoll for the first time in the first season of the Netflix series, House Of Cards, I knew he was a guy to watch. He’s in his own league of acting. Then I saw him again in FX’s The Strain, Showtime’s Homeland and now in Marvel’s Ant-Man as Darren Cross. He’s a great talent. Darren Cross is ruthless and will stop at nothing to get what he wants. He’s willing to kill for it. He’s egotistic, arrogant and he can’t tell the difference between saving the world and destroying it. Oh wait. Did I just describe Tony Stark? It seems I did. They aren’t so dissimilar are they? If Tony hadn’t become part of the Avengers, I reckon he would have become another Darren Cross. A scientist/businessman who is hellbent on money. After he had created Ultron, he just laughed about it and then created The Vision as well. Luckily The Vision wasn’t a “murderbot” as Banner likes to put it.
Just like most modern superhero films, there’s this serious political undertone. This time, it’s a guy that wants to weaponise something for the greater good of humanity. That seems to be a repeating occurrence. It’s much the same as the raptors in Jurassic World and weapons Fury created in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. It’s a recurring theme amongst the modern blockbuster. Humanity and our obsessions with weapons. This time it was more than just guns. It was a suit that could shrink using Pym particles that also had inbuilt weaponary. Darren wanted to mass produce this stuff. He’s a crazy guy.
One of the most important themes in this movie is the concept of family. Scott didn’t become the Ant-Man to save the world. He became the Ant-Man for his daughter. So she could grow up in a society that was good and fair. He was trying to do right by his daughter and escape the life of crime that he’d been caught up in. He was a Robin Hood-esque thief but society didn’t see it that way. He stole from corporations and gave it back to people who had been ripped off. Stealing is stealing at the end of the day. Scott is a small man in a big world after all. He wants to redeem himself in a big way. It’s not just about Scott and his daughter, it’s about Hank and his as well. He wouldn’t let her get caught up in vigilantism to protect her.
“Second chances don’t come around all that often. I suggest you take a really close look at it. This is your chance to earn that look in your daughter’s eyes, to become the hero that she already thinks you are. It’s not about saving our world. It’s about saving theirs.”
In typical Marvel fashion there are references to the MCU and there is even a cameo from Sam Wilson/The Falcon (Anthony Mackie) where he gets his arse handed to him by Ant-Man. Lang short-circuits his tech rendering his wings useless. The thing about the Avengers is that they are all reliant on tech…except for Cap. I can’t wait for Ant-Man in Civil War to see how he fares against the Avengers. I think he will just be bugging everyone and getting into people’s boots. I think he will take the side of Captain America in the movie considering his criminal past. I doubt he’ll want his real identity known to the world. We even got our first reference to Spider-Man.
In conclusion, the movie tells a tall tale about a small guy who just want to do some good. It’s a story that will astonish audiences. Leading up to the movie, talk among many MCU fans were “it’s going to be shit”. “You can’t take it seriously” and so on and so forth. I didn’t let it dishearten me. I knew it was going to be a great movie. The cast is great, awesome VFX and great editing between shots as he was shrinking and then rapidly expanding. I understand people’s hesitations with this movie. It’s about a guy who controls ants and uses them as his allies. I can see why some people wouldn’t want to part from their cash for a movie with such a summary. I loved it. It’s a great addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and it introduces a new Avenger. I would tell you who but you know. Spoilers. It’s not an ant and it’s not a spider. I’ll leave it to your imagination. Oh and post credits are heaps and bounds better than Thanos in Age Of Ultron.
Verdict: The best film of the MCU to date. 10/10