So on Wednesday night I got to see, through a couple of really awesome friends, an advanced screening of Marvel’s Ant Man, starring Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly and Corey Stoll. I had pretty low expectations going, with the film losing Edgar Wright early on and also not being about Hank Pym, the two aspects of the film I was looking forward to most were gone, as was my excitement for the film. I am glad to say that it beat out my fairly low expectations and turned out to be a pretty solid movie.
For those of you who don’t know, the movie follow the adventures of Scott Lang (Ant Man II to comic fans), a thief who steals a suit, and saves the world. The film starts with Scott, played by Paul Rudd, getting out of prison and being met by his old cell mate Luis (played by Michael Pena, and probably one of the best parts of the movie, each line he has is hilarious). Scott is having trouble getting back on his feet and ends up falling to his old cat burglar ways, breaking into Hank Pym’s (Michael Douglas) house and stealing his Ant Man suit. Meanwhile Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) is developing his own shrinking suit, which he calls Yellowjacket, his assistant Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) teams up with her father Hank, and their new partner Scott, to save the day.
As I said this film beat my expectations. I was annoyed that Ant Man wasn’t going to be Hank Pym. That annoyance was taken care of in the first 5 minutes of the film. It shows a young Hank Pym storm into the Triskellion (which is under construction) to confront Howard Stark and Peggy Carter. This is a Hank Pym who has seen some hard times and has done some covert work for Shield as Ant Man. So basically Ant Man was around and doing missions during the Cold War for Shield, which is an awesome idea and I freaking loved it. It shows that Marvel is putting some thought into where their movie characters fit in their comic book world. Making this movie about the comic books second Ant Man, be about the MCU’s second Ant Man. I also really loved the fact that Ant Man shrinks and enlarges other stuff around him and uses those things later to his advantage. This was something Pym did in the comics all the time which I am surprised and so happy they kept in the movie.
The characters in the movie were also pretty well played. Evangeline Lilly was a little flat as Hope Van Dyne, and Judy Greer as yet another background mom was disappointing (see Jurassic World for more motherly Greer) as she is an amazing actress who would have made the film so much better. Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas played their respective roles really well, but Michael Pena was the best. He was hilarious as the Latino gangster who stole a smoothie machine… I mean two smoothie machines. His rambling stories seriously killed me every time.
The movie was far from perfect though. There were some rushed scenes and some fast tracking of concepts that clearly should have been either left out of the film or fleshed out more. There are two of these moments that standout. The first, and most rushed for me, was the relationship between Hank Pym and Hope. It starts out rocky and rigid and very quickly, for seemingly trivial reasons, the two re connect and bury a very old grudge… about half way through the movie, in a nonchalant way. The second is Scott’s early insistence that he never robbed anyone, because, he explains, he never threatened anyone and abhors violence… then spends the next 90 minutes learning how to , and actually, beating the crap out of a number of guards, Yellowjacket, and an Avenger. It seemed out of place to have him so adamantly against violence one minute, and so physical the next.
This movie is also very clearly a Marvel movie in every sense of the phrase. It is tied into everything that Marvel has done in the past, as well as sets up a lot of stuff we are going to see later. This is all well and good but leads me to a question. Do we need another Ant Man film? This could have been a better movie if they stopped trying to set up sequels and what else is going on in the Marvel Universe. The after credit scenes (yes there are two so stick around) are great, don’t get me wrong, but I honestly don’t want or need another Ant Man movie. Make him an Avenger, where he belong, and leave it at that.
This movie gets a solid 7 out of 10. It was a fun movie; I enjoyed it, but am also gad I got to see it for free. It could have been much worse but I would have been much harsher if I had actually paid to see it.
Personally I have to say the highlight of the night was watching the Force Awakens trailer in 3D on the big screen.