I realised that I always seem to end up watching the less good Marvel films in the cinemas and the best ones at home. I hoped Ant-Man would turn out different.
It’s not the best, but it’s definitely pretty good.
Humour underpins the film. It really does. The film doesn’t have the slapstick humour of Thor, or the snarky humour of Iron-Man and other Marvel flicks. Instead, it just has a honest, cheeky humour to it, a bit like Guardians. While the action and CGI are praise-worthy (as with most Marvel products), the humour is really what carries the movie throughout its runtime.
I really love how they integrated it into the whole MCU so seamlessly as well. Fans know that Ant-Man is actually a founding member of the Avengers, and his introduction so late into the game might bring about problems with integration into the wider storyline. But they did it so well, bringing in SHIELD and even a cameo by a current Avenger. That’s not even mentioning the Easter egg of Spider-Man dropped at the end of the film, as well as the Wasp in Hope van Dyne. I don’t know how so many characters are going to fit into a single mammoth film that I expect Civil War to be, but I have faith in Marvel.
I also appreciate how well they made Ant-Man work as a superhero. Obviously there’ll be doubts about his relevance as a superhero; being able to shrink in size doesn’t really strike fear into the hearts of enemies. They even played that up in various fights quite humorously. But they made it work brilliantly, and that fight with Falcon? Man, it really makes you think that Ant-Man might actually make quite the Avenger.
As for characters, well, I really like Corey Stoll’s Darren Cross. His is a straightforward villain who does villain-y things, which plays off well with the more emotionally complex main characters. His character arc is simple, unfussy, and there’s an old-school charm in that.
Michael Douglas adds a bit of gravitas to Hank Pym, quite necessary as a contrast to the comedic Paul Rudd as his successor. Evangeline Lily as his estranged daughter didn’t feel too forced, and the emotional moments between the two really stood out to me. I teared up during the moment when Hank explained to Hope about her mother’s death, and this is in spite of the fact that I felt the timing of the scene was a teeny bit off.
Of course, Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang ruined that moment, which was really funny as were most of his scenes. His character is the slightly clueless hero, which is actually a pretty difficult character to play. There’s a fine line between looking idiotic and being funny, but Ant-Man didn’t disappoint in that regard. The father-daughter dynamic, so heavily emphasised in the movie, was a little weak for our main protagonist, but it was sufficient. The Hank Pym-Hope van Dyne relationship was far more developed and made for better viewing to me.
Finally, the plot was simple, down-to-earth, and is quite different from ‘big’ catastrophes like what happens in other Marvel films. In a way, it really suits the concept of Ant-Man, and I expect to see more funny moments if/when he joins the Avengers films in some capacity. I wasn’t too fond of the training montage thing; a week is really not enough for him to learn all the stuff he seemed to have learnt. It’s a major weakness of the story. But the funny nature of it makes up for the lack of substance.
So Ant-Man wouldn’t make my top 3 Marvel films to date (Winter Soldier, Avengers, Guardians respectively), but it’s definitely nowhere near as bad as Iron Man 2, or even the Thor films (which I’m not a big fan of). A steady, fun origin film that stays true to the Marvel formula, honed over many, many movies. Well done.