Twelve films later and Marvel’s Phases One & Two are finally complete. Ant-Man is the film that they chose to conclude phase two, it will be followed by Captain America: Civil War kicking off phase three next year. I’ll admit I don’t think I’ve even been less excited for a Marvel film than I was for Ant-Man, it just doesn’t scream excitement. Nonetheless I was hoping to be proved wrong.
Marvel clearly had a task upon their hands bringing Ant-Man to the big screen, an obviously less well known Marvel character and arguably a less exciting one too. For what Ant-Man is I think Marvel have actually done a great job with this movie. Paul Rudd plays Scott Lang/Ant-Man and whilst I can’t comment on his likeness to the comic book character I thought he did a pretty good job here. He brought a certain reality and humour to the role which fitted well. There was a strong cast surrounding him too with Michael Douglas performing well as the Ant-Man suit creator Hank Pim. Elizabeth Banks lookalike Evangeline Lilly plays his onscreen daughter Hope. The dynamic between these three characters was interesting throughout but at times it was focused on too much and I’m not sure that it evoked the desired response from the audience. My favourite character had to be Micheal Pena’s character, Luis. Apart from Scott, Luis was the comic relief in Ant-Man. As well as being funny he was just effortlessly likeable and he worked well alongside his fellow cast members. Corey Stoll provides us with the villain for the movie, Darren Cross. Stoll performs well and had potential but the writing holds him and his villain back from being anything that memorable.
What I really did enjoy about Ant-Man was that the film really did focus on its storyline. More often than not Marvel seem to almost make films just for the sake of setting up future ones. Here I firmly felt like I was watching an Ant-Man movie and it got the attention that it deserved. However, accompanying this were the references to the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. These references were used really well and there was one scene in particular that should please the more dedicated Marvel fans, I certainly really enjoyed it. Whilst there were several funny characters and most of their dialogue aimed to get laughs worked there were some moments in the action scenes that became old quickly and didn’t really achieve laughs. There was only so many times that the camera could zoom out from Scott’s perspective to a more natural one showing the small scale of the action before it began to become monotonous. The whole ant aspect of things was maybe a bit much for me too, I know this is crucial for this character but I just didn’t really like this aspect. When Scott was running alongside or giving orders to the ants I felt like I was watching Honey I Shrunk The Kids. Whilst I didn’t enjoy these parts of the film I can recognise that they were done well and probably in the best way possible for the big screen. What I did really like were the moments of action where Scott would be fighting his foes just by himself, shrinking and growing as he did it. These moments were the best in terms of the action and I would have liked to see more of these.
Ant-Man just isn’t as exciting as much of the rest of the MCU, but I do think this film has done the character justice and for what he is have made a good film. I doubt that this film will be anyone’s favourite in the MCU and certainly for me is nearing the bottom of the twelve that we’ve seen so far. However, this isn’t to say the movie was bad, it’s actually really good. Solid performances, humour hitting most of the time and some really nice action moments – what Ant-Man does is shows us what great film makers Marvel are, they have succeeded in bringing this character to life in a movie which probably shouldn’t have worked. I’m glad that Ant-Man has entered the MCU and think he will excel most when part of an ensemble and not the main focus.
Rating – 8/10