Paul Rudd - Scott Lang/ Ant-Man
Evangeline Lilly - Hope Van Dyne
Corey Stoll - Darren Cross
Bobby Cannavale - Paxton
Michael Pena - Luis
Tip "T.I." Harris - Dave
Anthony Mackie - Sam Wilson/ Falcon
Judy Greer - Maggie
Michael Douglas - Hank Pym
Abby Ryder Fortson - Cassie Lang
Genre - Action/Adventure/Science Fiction/Fantasy/Comic Books
Running Time - 117 Minutes
White collar burglar Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) has been released from prison, finding it difficult to settle back into a normal life. He gets fired from his Baskin-Robbins job. His ex-wife (Judy Greer) and her cop fiancee (Bobby Cannavale) criticize his choices, wanting Scott not to be a bad influence to their daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson). When he realizes the only way he can be with his daughter is by finding a job and having enough money to pay child support, Scott falls back into a life of crime.
With a tip from his former cellmate Luis (Michael Pena), Scott steals a weird suit from Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), a scientist who once worked for Howard Stark and Peggy Carter. When Scott puts on the suit, he shrinks to the size of an ant, soon realizing that Pym wanted Scott to steal the suit so he can become the new Ant-Man. Pym and his daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly) begin training Scott, teaming him how to control the ant population and the ways of the suit in order for him to steal a suit from Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) - Pym's former protege and current boss of Pym Industries. Cross has created his own shrinking suit, deemed the Yellowjacket, which he plans on selling to HYDRA. Scott must stop Cross from making this deal to save the world and be a hero to his daughter.
- The acting. Hands down, the best part of ANT-MAN was the film's cast. I've always been a fan of Paul Rudd, so it's great to see him in a Marvel Comics movie. And I think he was the perfect choice for Scott Lang, a burglar with a heart of gold. Rudd has an immense amount of charisma and humor that makes his character shine, making him an easy person to root for. I thought he had great chemistry with anyone he was on screen with, and I'm looking forward to where he takes the characters within the MCU. Michael Douglas was also great as an older Hank Pym, making a great mentor to Rudd and giving his character some gravitas where it concerned the tragic situation with his family. Evangeline Lilly, despite the bad haircut, is pretty great as Hope Van Dyne. She could have been a damsel-in-distress and her role does put her in the background a bit at times, but Lilly brings a toughness and intelligence to the role that I really liked. In some ways, she reminded me of Pepper Potts, but with more kick-ass ability to handle situations on her own without a man's help. Her transformation to the Wasp should be interesting. Corey Stoll could have played Darren Cross as a typical villain, as his character seems to be a carbon copy of IRON MAN's Obadiah Stane/Iron Monger. But Stoll gives the character some humanity, wanting to impress Pym but realizing the only way he can do that is by doing bad things to get his attention. Stoll plays the character as a neglected son who wants to unseat his father. And I liked that a lot. I wish there was more Yellowjacket in the film, but Stoll is pretty great here regardless. Bobby Cannavale grounds the film a bit as Paxton, doing a good job. Michael Pena is a comic highlight as Luis, making me wish there were more of him in the film. He's awesome. And Anthony Mackie's appearance as Falcon was very cool. Not a bad apple in this bunch.
- The direction. While I do wish Edgar Wright had remained on board to direct ANT-MAN [even his script got changed, which makes me wonder what his original vision was like], Peyton Reed still does a pretty nice job visualizing this origin story. All the comic book beats are there, with great framing, pacing, and editing. The film is very colorful, which I enjoyed. And the use of CGI is done extremely well, as one would expect from these Marvel movies. The use of Ant-Man's shrinking powers is pretty awesome, with moments that seem to be influenced by HONEY, I SHRUNK THE KIDS. And Yellowjacket looks pretty awesome, although I wish there was more of him.
The action sequences are great. Ant-Man's fight with Falcon is done really well, with Reed showcasing Ant-Man's powers to counterattack Falcon's. And the last sequence with Ant-Man and Yellowjacket is clever and wonderful to watch. The toy train scene is pretty hilarious and inventive all at once. I thought ANT-MAN was more than a visually pleasing film.
- The film's tone. ANT-MAN is a more comedic slant on the MCU. It's a lighthearted film that's more focused towards family entertainment than previous films in this universe. Lang and his daughter, Cassie, have some cute moments together. Lang's struggle with his new powers brings some funny moments that seem to make fun of the film's premise and the other films in the universe. ANT-MAN is a pretty silly film on the surface, even when serious things are happening. And I didn't mind that. As a matter of fact, I appreciated it. So many comic book movies tend to take themselves too seriously at times. ANT-MAN is having fun with itself, and you tend to have fun with it. It's not surprising since Edgar Wright brings humor to his scripts, but Paul Rudd also had input, which makes you know what type of tone this film will have. It's pretty consistent throughout and I thought it helped make ANT-MAN stand out from the rest of the pack at times.
- The cliche "origin" screenplay. I shouldn't take points off for this, since this is the introduction of the character. But I'm getting pretty tired of these origin films, especially when it feels like I already seen this film before more than once. ANT-MAN felt like IRON MAN at times, mixed with the humor of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. The unfortunate thing is that those two films are superior in terms of storytelling and comedy. ANT-MAN feels cookie cutter in its storytelling, featuring a main character whose struggles - while realistic as they are [wanting to be a real father to his daughter by becoming a responsible heroic adult] - tend to feel lackluster and bland compared to the other heroes within the universe. It's a story that's meant to entertain while you watch it, but it won't make you think about things afterwards. There's also nothing really memorable about it either, as with the other films. The origin storytelling still works, but ANT-MAN doesn't really offer anything new that would truly make it standout.
- Another wasted villain. Oh Yellowjacket - what a true waste you are in this movie. Stoll is great as Darren Cross, but he feels like Obadiah Stane from IRON MAN. It was almost as if the screenwriters copied and pasted some aspects of that film to create this film's villain. Cross brings nothing new to the villain table, simply being there because the film needs an antagonist for our hero. Yellowjacket looks awesome, but I wish he did more in the film. I was pretty disappointed here, as I wanted more from this character. But he's just generic, plain and simple. I wonder if Edgar Wright had more things for him to do. Oh well.
THE FINAL HOWL
ANT-MAN is a good, but not great, comic book film. Even though it's haunted by the ghost of former creative director Edgar Wright, the film ends up being better than it probably has any right to. The cast, in particular Paul Rudd and Michael Pena, is great. Peyton Reed's direction steers the film along quite well. I thought the action sequences and CGI were great. But ANT-MAN feels cookie cutter, as if we've seen this all before but done better in other films. And Yellowjacket was totally wasted in this, much to my disappointment. It's a decent set-up for a character not many people outside of comic books may know, but it could have been better. But at least it's a fun watch and succeeds on what it mostly needs to do, making it a recommendation for anyone who enjoys these type of films.