I will be the first to admit that I had my apprehensions when Ant-Man was first announced. Even when everyone’s favourite goofball Paul Rudd was cast, these concerns did not falter.
Watching the film, it didn’t take long before my worries faded away. Paul Rudd is magic on screen and so it is easy to see how his presence is such an obvious choice. Yet with his first scene involving a prison fight, it’s appropriate to say that this role is a step up from what we’ve come to expect from the actor. He’s officially a movie star, the lead in a Hollywood blockbuster, and rightly so, as he pulls it off effortlessly.
Despite the departure of original writers Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish just months before production, the collaboration between Adam McKay’s wit and Rudd’s comedic timing might just be the best thing to happen to Marvel yet. While the film spends a significant amount of time setting the scene for Ant-Man’s joining of The Avengers, it also has the ability to stand alone. Ant-Man may not be the most exciting superhero, but the combination of action and humour, combined with a well-written story and developed characters, is what really give it it’s heart. The idea of creating a ‘superhero heist movie’ stands strong, combining elements of different film genres and distancing itself just enough from the rest of the Marvel franchise for it to not be repetitive.
A high point of Ant-Man comes in the form of Scott Lang/Ant-Man’s ‘partners in crime’, played by Michael Peña, Tip “T.I.” Harris and David Dastmalchian. Providing a much-welcomed lightheartedness to the film, the characters serve to remind us that while Ant-Man is a superhero film, it is at it’s core about a regular Joe, who happens to be skilled in burglary and engineering, searching for redemption.
Another honorable mention is the development of the female characters. Despite being a male-dominated franchise, Marvel works hard to incorporate the use of strong and powerful women in their films and Ant-Man proves to be no different, though maybe a step upwards. Hope van Dyne, played by Evangeline Lily, is an assertive and straight-forward woman who is both intelligent and trained in martial arts. While her vulnerability is shown several times throughout the film, it does not compromise her strength or ability. It is also nice to not have a romantic plot point at the centre of a film with two lead characters of opposite genders. Lang’s daughter Cassie is another stand-out character for her bravery, comedic timing and understanding of things far past her years.
If anything, Ant-Man is just a fun ride. It may have a slow build up, but that is to be expected of a film that serves to introduce a new character to a well-established franchise. Once it gets going, there is no slowing down, as action-packed fight scenes dominate the latter part of the film. The final fight in particular, is one for the ages.
While the story behind Ant-Man isn’t all too original and follows the well-known Marvel formula, a film cast comprising mostly of CGI ants is definitely a new one. Major props are needed for the team behind this project, as incredibly well done special effects makes the impossible feel almost too real. I would recommend against buying a ticket if you have an established fear of ants. If you don’t, it’s out July 17th. Get in quick.
Note: Yes Stan Lee makes an appearance, but blink and you might just miss it. Also, make sure you stay till the very end of the credits, you won’t regret it.