Sometimes a hero can be big. Sometimes a hero can be larger than life. A hero can be a God. A Hulk. An assassin. Sometimes…a hero can even be an…ant?
When it comes to the Marvel Universe, everything usually runs smoothly. A director is chosen, followed by a cast, the movie is shot, edited, done, put into theaters and makes millions upon billions of dollars. But then comes Ant-Man…Marvel’s first behind the scenes challenge. Edgar Wright, known for his Cornetto Trilogy, had been working on an Ant-Man film since before Iron Man was brought to the big screen. But it only entered development a few years ago. And then, in a surprising twist, Wright left the film citing creative differences. A new director, Peyton Reed was chosen, as well as writer/director Adam McKay to doctor the script. For the first time, there was genuine concern about a Marvel film being an all around bad movie. So here I am to tell you something very important: Ant-Man is a very good movie with some of the best action sequences in any Marvel film.
Before the film kicks in motion, we’re greeted to a 1989 based prologue showing a young Hank Pym (Douglas) as well as a couple of old friends we haven’t seen in a while. Opening up in San Quentin prison, Scott Lang (Rudd) is being released three years into his prison sentence after attacking his former company, VistaCorp, by paying back the money they’ve been stealing during his time working there. Lang is picked up by his old cellmate, Luis (Peña), who he stays with for the time being until he can get back on his feet. Luis attempts to coerce Scott into another job with his petty crook-friends, Dave (Harris) and Kurt (Dastmalchian). But Scott wants none of it — he just wants to take care of his daughter, Cassie. That comes with some complications though as he’s unable to pay child support to his ex, Maggie (Greer) and her fiance Paxton (Cannavale) who doesn’t think Scott’s worth anything except a prison cell.
Scott isn’t exactly able to turn it around and he’s reached the point of desperation…he goes to Luis to talk about the job. Scott breaks into the house, cracks the safe, and doesn’t quite find the loot he was expecting…just a suit. He takes the suit anyway and brings it back to Luis’ place. Little does Scott know that Hank has been keeping an eye on him throughout the whole heist. Scott decides to put the suit on and see why it was hidden away so securely…only to go on the ride of his life. Now that Scott has the suit and has seen how it works he’s not too keen on keeping it for himself…he doesn’t have much of a choice though.
There’s a whole lot to like about Ant-Man and that’s a huge relief considering the hell it went through just to get made. A part of me will always wonder what could have been with Edgar Wright directing the film…he’s a one of a kind director with such a unique vision that could have elevated Ant-Man to unthinkable levels. But Reed did a fine job in his own right, better than anyone could have anticipated. Reed did have one of the best assembled casts to work with on the film. Rudd, Douglas, Lilly, and Stoll are just such strong presences on screen and they help lift Ant-Man up. But then there’s Michael Peña, who steals every scene he’s in. Sure, he’s primarily comic relief but everything he says in the movie is just perfect in every way.
Ant-Man is a nice change of pace to the MCU. World’s aren’t being destroyed, universes aren’t being fought for, it’s one of Marvel’s more personal stories and the film benefits itself for the simple story it has. Sure, it can get a bit complicated towards the end and some things are just so…bizarre even for a Marvel film. But it all comes together as a nice, tightly wrapped film that ends Phase 2 nicely for the universe. Ant-Man isn’t perfect, but it’s fun. Plus, it has a very, very well done cameo tying in the past Marvel films. Make sure you stick around for both the mid-credits sequence and the end credit sequence though…because they’re both game changers.
Ant-Man is directed by Peyton Reed and written by Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish, Adam McKay, and Paul Rudd. Starring Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Bobby Cannavale, Michael Peña, Tip “T.I.” Harris, Wood Harris, Judy Greer, David Dastmalchian, and Michael Douglas.