Marvel’s Ant-Man Review
Right off the bat, I’ve gotta be honest. I wasn’t sold on whether or not to see Ant-Man in the theater. (Although I had always planned to see it.) On the one hand, I’m a big fan of Edgar Wright’s movies, especially the Cornetto Trilogy (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World’s End). I was also looking forward to another funny Marvel movie.
On the other hand, the production had its huge share of problems and Wright ended up quitting due to artistic differences. I half expected the movie to be a disjointed mess.
It has been getting mostly positive reviews (and I had a free evening) so I decided to pull the trigger and go check it out. I’m glad I did. The movie is a lot of fun, and the best Marvel movie since Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Basically, if you enjoyed the sillier Marvel outings (The Avengers or Guardians of the Galaxy), you’ll like this one. If you didn’t, stay away.
My “Pros and Cons” style of review seems to be working for me and for my readers, so I’ll jump right in. First, the positives.
There’s lots to like about this movie. As I mentioned, it’s a whole lot of fun. If you’re sick of the dark, brooding superheroes, this one is for you.
- It’s funny. It’s actually very funny. It was funnier than I expected, and I laughed aloud several times. Edgar Wright’s humor, despite quitting the movie, definitely comes through. Most of the humor comes from the situation, but there are more than a few humorous lines of dialogue, too. I don’t want to say much more because I don’t want to ruin any of the jokes.
- It’s a smaller scale film, and it knows it. Not every comic book movie’s stakes have to be “the end of the world.” At its heart, Ant-Man is a heist movie, and it plays to that genre’s strengths, for the most part.
- The casting/performances. Paul Rudd is the perfect choice to play Ant-Man. He’s not heroic, and he admits it. He’s also a wise-ass and cracks jokes at inappropriate times. Michael Douglas as Hank Pym is an inspired choice. As good as Rudd is in his role, it’s Douglas who carries the movie. Evangeline Lilly turns in a fine performance as Pym’s daughter. Michael Peña plays a much smaller role, but everything out of his mouth from beginning to end is hysterical. He steals the show.
- The action set pieces. Ant-Man probably has the most unique fight scene you’ll see in any movie, comic book or otherwise. If you’ve seen the trailer, you’ll probably guess that I’m referring to the fight between Ant-Man and Yellow Jacket in the kid’s playroom. It’s both exciting and hilarious at the same time. There’s a great Thomas the Tank Engine gag that I won’t spoil here.
- The ideas. Ant-Man actually flirts with quantum physics, if you can believe it. Of course, it’s comic book science but I admire its inclusion to appeal to the science geeks. Ant-Man also touches on topics such as the loss of a loved one, rejection, and doing the right thing even if it’s illegal.
I enjoyed this movie a lot, but it’s not a perfect movie. There are some flaws.
- The Avengers are shoehorned into the movie. My guess is this is why Wright left the film. To be honest, I like most of the Marvel movies but they all suffer from the “Marvel Cinematic Universe.” I read that Marvel insisted on one of the Avengers being in this movie, and it felt rushed and tacked on. This is, by far, the weakest link in the movie and should have been cut completely. We’re not idiots, we don’t need to be constantly reminded that the Avengers exist in this universe.
- The villain isn’t very memorable. This is another common problem to the Marvel universe. Corey Stoll does a fine job as Darren Cross, but his character is a bit two-dimensional. So far, the only great villain Marvel has produced is Loki.
- The underlying story is sort of a re-hash. It’s a superhero origin story, at its core. It reminds me the most of the first Iron Man movie. I guess if you’re going to re-hash a Marvel movie, Iron Man is the one to copy as it remains Marvel’s best film, to date.
Final verdict: I enjoyed Ant-Man a lot. It’s charming, funny, and action packed. I enjoyed it more than I expected I would due to the behind-the-scenes drama and artistic clashing. I just wish we could have seen Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man.
Humor: ★★★★ of 5
Action: ★★★½ of 5
Visuals: ★★★★★ of 5
Overall: ★★★½ of 5
Marvel Cinematic Universe Ranked
My ranking of the Marvel films (so far), from best to worst. This is just my opinion, please share your own list in the comments.
- Iron Man
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier
- Avengers: Infinity War
- Ant Man & The Wasp
- Spider-Man: Homecoming
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
- Marvel’s The Avengers
- Thor: Ragnarok
- Captain America: Civil War
- Guardians of the Galaxy
- Doctor Strange
- Black Panther
- Avengers: Age of Ultron
- Iron Man 3
- Captain America: The First Avenger
- The Incredible Hulk
- Thor: The Dark World
- Iron Man 2
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