Review by Edgar Torres
Avengers: Age of Ultron kicked off the summer blockbuster season and I for one was satisfied with the finished product. The Marvel Cinematic Universe was ready to bring phase two to a close and bring us into phase three with Captain America: Civil War but there was one movie, one hero, left to close out phase two and that movie was Ant-Man. The initial buzz about the movie wasn’t great and people were skeptical about the movie’s success after having Edgar Wright leave production due to “differences in visions of the film”. After Wright, Adam McKay was also in talks to direct but pulled out the day later. The film finally reached Peyton Reed’s hands and he, along with the help of McKay, brought the film to fruition. As I’m writing early in the weekend, box office numbers are just estimates at this point but the movie is set to make $55-60 million this weekend according to Boxoffice magazine. With a $130 million budget, they are almost halfway from breaking even let alone making profit but don’t let that scare you away from catching this flick. By the end of this review I hope to give you the necessary information so you can decide for yourself whether this movie is worth your money.
Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), an inventor and scientist good enough to rival the Stark Empire, has developed a suit that allows the user to shrink down to the size of an ant (thus the name). After creating the suit, Pym realizes that the suit is a major threat if it were ever to fall in the wrong hands so he decided to hide it and in the process leave S.H.I.E.L.D. even after Howard Stark attempts to persuade him to stay. Jump to sometime after the events of Age of Ultron, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is finishing up his sentence in jail after having burgled money from a corporation he was working for who had been stealing money from their customers. After his release, he has trouble getting a job as an ex-con and ends up taking a heist job to get enough money to pay for his child support so he can see his daughter Cassie. It’s in this heist that he “burgles” the Ant-Man suit; however, this was a test set up by Pym to vet Scott for a world-saving heist.
The cast as a whole does a great job at bringing their characters to life. The chemistry between everyone makes their characters seem like they are comfortable with each other or can’t stand each other as in the case of Scott and Hope. I must admit that I am sucker with movies that include Michael Peña in the cast because he has a knack for making movies hilarious and Ant-Man was no different. Abby Ryder Fortson, the little girl who plays Cassie Lang is so adorable that you can’t help but smile at her lines. Finally Paul Rudd does a tremendous job at portraying Scott Lang, there is always an air of sarcasm but when it comes down to business you can tell the Rudd channels his inner super hero to save the day.
The fighting in this movie does not disappoint either. After Captain America: Winter Soldier, I am more critical at how fights are choreographed in movies. Ant-Man does not disappoint at incorporating mixed martial arts moves into this film as well. It makes me wonder if they are keeping Georges St-Pierre as a choreographer at Marvel because they could fool me into thinking that was the case.
The worst part about this movie was the pacing, there I said it! There were points in the movie where it felt like they were short for time so they just added dialogue to explain important parts of the story and because of that the story felt rushed. We go from Pym finding out his suit has been replicated to him having followed Lang in the course of ten minutes with no indication to the events taking place except for a line of dialogue. The villain of the film’s backstory was also set to dialogue mode but I felt like more than anything, the villain’s backstory should have been a scene, a flashback of some sorts.
Also, I’m no Ant-Man expert so my review only pertains to the zero knowledge I know about the comics but it felt like this movie tended to be on the comical side rather than the serious one. Since the film was funny most of the time, the threats never felt real, the audience was never presented with a moment where the stakes were placed out in front of them so they could feel with the characters after their successes and failures. I left the theater hoping that they could have taken a look at the edit and added some scenes back in that I know ended up on the cutting room floor.
Ant-Man is an origins story that was pressured to be more than an origins story. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is so far and beyond origin stories that I feel like they didn’t want to let the film be what it was meant to be so they tried to “Guardians of the Galaxy” the story and make it funnier but we were left with a funny movie that falls short of the Marvel standard. Would this movie have been made prior to the first Captain America, I’m sure the audiences would have eaten it up but now we expect more from Marvel. If you are an MCU junkie, this movie is a must watch because Ant-Man will be in Captain America: Civil War. If you are not an MCU junkie then this movie is still good because it is just incredibly funny. I also watched this film in 3D and it was neat to see the depth it introduced when Ant-Man went tiny and when he goes more than that (You’ll get it when you watch the movie) but you could get away with watching this in 2D and not miss much. I know it seems like I tore Ant-Man a new one but I did it as a fan that loves Marvel movies, I still thoroughly enjoyed this film and I think you will too.