After years of writing, re-writing, test footage, casting, director changes, and just about anything else you can throw into the ring for this movie, we’ve finally been given the cap on the lid that is Marvel Studios’ Phase 2 of films – Ant-Man (2015). The film stars Paul Rudd as Scott Lang, a guy who just gets out of jail for doing some Robin Hood type of burglary. You can tell he’s not a BAD guy, and he has good intentions. Scott meets Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), who was the original Ant-Man, and he (Pym) tells Lang that he has to become the new Ant-Man and pull off a heist in order to stop some bad things from happening; and this is because Marvel is heading into the third act of their string of films and at this point, bad things are happening just about everywhere.
I was always a little skeptical about this movie especially after Edgar Wright walked off due to “creative differences” and then Peyton Reed came on to helm the movie in his place. Same thing happened with Stanley Kubrick’s production of Spartacus (1960). It’s gotta feel weird coming on to a movie literally to replace somebody and now you have to make something that was once their’s your own. To be completely honest, you can tell that some things fell through the cracks with plot development; but that’s not to say I wasn’t entertained throughout the movie. The action is fun, the dialogue is funny, and the plot, as absurd as it is, is as good a plot we will get for an Ant-Man movie.
Paul Rudd is gonna bring life to any role he does. He’s a passionate man, he does very well in this movie as the likable, sympathetic protagonist, and you can just tell Paul Rudd’s happy to be there. Michael Douglas was awesome as Hank Pym. He makes me want a prequel movie starring him as a young Hank Pym in his prime. Evangeline Lilly as Hope Van Dyne was great too. I was THRILLED that we weren’t given a Pepper Potts or Mary Jane Watson damsel in distress and that Hope was a key element to this movie and the directions the characters went in (especially her own). Corey Stoll just looks like evil so casting him as Darren Cross / Yellowjacket was smart. I loved him in the first season of House of Cards (2013-), and he was a good villain for what we saw. I only wish that there was more of him. Marvel is notorious for not developing their villains enough. I mean the only ones that really matter in this universe (so far) are Loki and Thanos. Maybe the Winter Soldier if you count him as a villain?
Overall, Ant-Man is definitely a downsize for Marvel Studios, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it disappoints. I mean come on, they’re coming off of Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), we’re going from a robot trying to obliterate the human race to a simple heist movie. I like heist movies, though. I love Ocean’s Eleven (2001), I love Inside Man (2006), Heat (1995), The Usual Suspects (1995), The Town (2010), Reservoir Dogs (1992) – I’m sorry I’m losing track – my point is there is nothing wrong with a good heist movie. I love to see the planning, the scheming with blue prints and hypotheticals and whatnot; the eventual, “Oh crap, none of this is going as planned and now we have to improvise,” and Ant-Man is a fun little heist movie.
The heist is entertaining, the action is a-plenty, there are PLENTY of references to the rest of the MCU, that are shoehorned in relatively well. I enjoyed seeing Edgar Wright’s test footage that we saw at Comic-Con years ago come to life. Not gonna lie, it did seem like a remake of the original Iron Man (2008). A guy creates some tech, and the jerk who works in the same company replicates it to wreak havoc. I’m sure Iron Man isn’t the only movie that has done this plot but it is worth noting. It worked to introduce Iron Man and it does work to introduce Ant-Man, I can’t deny that.
Overall Rating: 7/10 – Good
It has laughs, good action, the cast is solid, it’s a fun little heist movie and a quick breather in the MCU coming off of Age of Ultron and before we get going again next may with Captain America: Civil War (2016). I’ll always wonder what Edgar Wright’s vision would have been had it come to fruition but alas, maybe that DVD is waiting for me in heaven. I actually have this running joke that waiting for me in Heaven when I die is just a shelf of movies I wish could have happened but didnt. For example:
- The Dark Knight Rises (2012) if Heath Ledger didn’t die
- Furious 7 (2015) if Paul Walker didn’t die
- Scorcese’s first cut of The Wolf of Wall Street (2013
- Tarantino’s first cut of Django Unchained (2012)
- Kubrick’s Napoleon film
- Tim Burton’s Superman Lives starring Nicolas Cage
- Aronofsky’s Spider-Man film
- Cameron’s Spider-Man film
- Just about every movie they made in Entourage (2004-2011)
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