Director | Peyton Reed
Producer | Kevin Feige
Screenplay | Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish, Adam McKay, Paul Rudd
Story | Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish
Cast | Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Michael Douglas, Michael Peña, Bobby Cannavale, Tip “T.I.” Harris, Wood Harris, Judy Greer, David Dastmalchian,
Running Time | 117 mins
Certificate | 12A
Plot | Hank Pym (Douglas) hires talented burglar Scott Lang (Rudd) to break into his old company with the aim of stopping his protégé (Stoll) from selling militarised Ant-Man tech to the highest bidder.
Review | What happens when you take a C-list superhero, cast a divisive leading man, and take the almost universally unpopular decision to replace the director of Shaun of the Dead and Scott Pilgrim… with the man responsible for Bring It On? If you’re Marvel, you get a sleeper hit.
This was meant to be the film that failed. Sure, Marvel took a couple of bashes at the Hulk, and Iron Man 2 and Thor: The Dark World certainly reside near the bottom of most fans ‘Best of the MCU’ lists – but they all still made money. Being based on some of the franchise’s most popular characters helped, for sure. Ant-Man doesn’t really have that luxury, so it needed to be pretty darn good from the get-go.
Boldly, the pace ambles along at little more than a trot early on. Ant-Man is in no rush. Lesser blockbusters would have been hurt by such a relatively sedate opening. However, Peyton Reed has actually had this all pieced together in such a way as to not only allow Ant-Man to get better as it goes along, but to also help develop a rapport between key characters, as well as develop an air of anticipation for the payoff in the second half.
Helping Ant–Man throughout is the cast. While Paul Rudd will not likely usurp the likes of Robert Downey Jnr., Chris Pratt or even Chris Evans as bonafide Marvel leading men, he comes up trumps with Scott Lang. He’s totally believable as the wry-witted, good-hearted ex-con trying to redeem himself in the eyes of his young daughter (an impressive Abby Ryder Fortison). He’s aided by good turns from Douglas and Lilly, while Michael Peña threatens to steal the show with some genuinely hilarious parts. Corey Stoll fulfills the role of ‘Marvel’s one dimensional villains’ quota this time around, but certainly does a better job of it than Mickey Rourke, Jeff Bridges and Christopher Eccleston have done in equivalent roles. Add to all that one or two quality cameos, and that is a very solid backbone on which to move the story along.
Anyone that thought Avengers: Age of Ultron was a little bloated and convoluted will find solace here. Besides one particular cameo (part of an entertaining dust up), this is relatively free-standing experience. The story itself is that of a simple heist. While basic, this is actually quite refreshing for an MCU movie. This ‘newness’ and easy of accessibility combined with the relatively light tone and excellent 3D effects combine to make the Ant-Man (and particularly the final third) a very enjoyable cinema experience.
Praise should not just be heaped on the 3D conversion alone. There are a handful or so of very good set pieces sprinkled throughout. Often this is combined with situational comedy to excellent effect (keep an eye out for the fight inside a briefcase, as well as the toy train set as featured prominently in the trailers).
Finally and on a separate note, those yearning for a return for meaningful post-credits scenes should enjoy the two that are dropped here. Keeping spoilers to a minimum, your mid-credits sequence relates directly to what you have just seen, whereas your post-credits sequence relates to the wider MCU.
The Verdict | A genuinely fun film throughout, Ant-Man has somehow defeated the odds to be one of the better films in the MCU.