July 17, 2015 - 1 hr. 57 min.
Director - Peyton Reed
Writers - Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish
Starring - Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Corey Stoll
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Read the Review by Keith Cheatham
It has been said the good things come in small packages, so it holds true for Marvel Studios' most recent film: Ant-Man! It is a testament to how well those in charge at Marvel have been doing with their film properties, that they have been able to take even the most obscure characters from their comic catalogues, such as Rocket Raccoon, and make not just successful films, but critically touted ones as well. Now we receive Ant-Man, a fairly large part of the marvel universe, though relatively unknown to the mass public, and it's safe to say, while not the best put out by Marvel, they have again taken an obscure idea and character, and created another success!
The production of Ant-Man has been a rocky one, with the idea for a film stretching back before the first Iron-man was ever even put into production. It was Edgar Wright, writer and director of Sean of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and Scott Pilgrim who first approached Marvel with the idea. Though being an obscure character Marvel was hesitant to go into production. Ultimately it was put on the shelf for what was thought would be more sure successes, such as Iron-Man, Hulk, and Captain America. When the idea for the Avengers came around Ant-Man, a founding member in the comics, was brought up again, and again postponed. Eventually Edgar Wright was green lit to create his film, but by this time the Marvel world of film had changed, and the solo origin film Wright wished to make was no longer in line with where Marvel was going. So enter Paul Rudd, and Adam Mackay of Anchor Man and Talladega Nights fame to do re-writes of Edgar Wright's script, with the film finally being directed by Peyton Reed. All of this I mention to point out that ultimately parts of the film feel a tad disjointed, possibly do to this change in vision, but despite the change in direction and writers the film still holds up well and while we may never know what might have been, Ant-Man is a fine film.
Starring Paul Rudd as the titular character, Ant-Man tells the story of an ex-con hired by scientist Hank Pym (Played by Michael Douglas), the original Ant-Man, to steal a suit using technology invented by Pym from his own company, lest this technology wind up in the hands of those who would use it for evil. The main plot is simple, even typical of most comic book/action films. It is the action and special effects that are truly bizarre and delightful. Ant-man has the power to shrink to the size of, you guessed it, an ant, and also communicate with said ants. Also, while small, his strength is multiplied tenfold, making him as powerful, as Hanks daughter Hope, played by Evangeline Lilly, puts it, a bullet. Seeing Paul Rudd run with, fly on and communicate with ants was the strangest thing I've seen in cinema in a long time, but it was brilliant. Well executed as to be humorous, but not ridiculous or hokey, Reed brings Ant-Man’s powers to life on film as well as one could hope.
Likewise, as one would come to expect from a Marvel film the CGI and effects are excellent, making the ants on screen all the more believable, and providing us with great action pieces, including the hilarious yet awesome climactic fight taking place in a child's bedroom, where we get to witness why ant-man is still a Marvel film, yet different than anything else we've witnessed before.
It is in these things the film does well, but it is not without its flaws. As stated it sometimes feels disjointed in it is story telling. The film starts off with great pacing and character building, then rushes towards the finale never giving us much time to swallow what we're being fed. The film is hilarious, but not all of its jokes are a hit, with comic relief side-kicks that while funny most of the time, aren't really necessary and are sometimes overused. Dialogue is fine, but the film is peppered with a few bad lines that are hard to ignore. And a few scenes such as the previous sidekicks being arrested or Ant-Man's escaping an impossible situation aren't resolved with a well thought out or satisfying manner, they're resolved in the simplest ways possible just to resolve them and keep the film moving along.
In conclusion despite its flaws Ant-man is a hit. It's fun and unique and has served its purpose of establishing these new characters within the Marvel Universe. Yes, the script could have used a few tweaks, or maybe it suffered from too many tweaks, but ultimately Peyton Reed has delivered a fine addition to the MCU.
I give Ant-Man 3 out of 4 Stars.