Marvel’s latest installment in their sprawling cinematic universe is Ant-Man, and yet again, the key to success in Marvel’s superhero movies remains not actually making superhero movies.
Ant-Man really is an unabashed heist movie, borrowing from Oceans 11, The Italian Job and other similar films both visually and dialogue wise. The comedy was there as is expected, but it didn’t take over and there was plenty of room for pathos too. There may have been a bit of a missed opportunity for some more feeling behind Scott Lang’s familial issues, but this is made up for by those of the Pym family.
Michael Douglas was solid in his role of Hank Pym, and his interactions with Evangeline Lilly’s Hope Van Dyne really added some punch. The mid-credits scene featuring these two not only rounded out their character arcs, but was a nice set up for the future. Also, the flashback segment at the opening of the film made phenomenal use of “youthing” technology to make Douglas look like he walked straight off the set of Wall Street, and it was nice to see another era in SHIELD’s history.
The scenes where Ant-Man was small looked great, really conveying the macro feel. The ants themselves were also great fun, and it really does seem a shame when they become casualties.
The shrinking opens up some concepts which will help pave the way for some of the more difficult upcoming characters (I’m looking at you, Doctor Strange), and the power was generally worked into the heist itself in a logical way. That said, there were some elements of the grand plan that were a bit of a stretch.
One of those elements concerned the grand comic book tradition of getting two good guys to fight each other. In this case, a McGuffin needed for the heist is being kept at the new Avengers facility seen at the end of Age of Ultron. When Ant-Man is caught trying to break in by a certain Avenger, well, let’s just say you don’t become a superhero by talking things out.
There is, as you may be aware, a Post-Credit scene, which was a direct clip from Civil War, and showed how this movie will tie in there, with the aforementioned Avenger cameo also appearing in this clip. I even noticed what could have been a cheeky subtle reference to Spider-Man right near the end. And while we are on the subject of Easter eggs, I think you could include one more lost arm in the whole Phase 2 Star Wars homage thing too.
The main issue I have is the limp, half-baked villain in Darren Cross. At first it looks like they may be going somewhere interesting in that he is motivated by a kind of perverted longing for Pym’s approval, then it’s about money, but ultimately it gets weakened by the implication his behaviour is being somehow influenced by exposure to the Pym Particles. Either way he’s a fairly generic bad guy and not very interesting.
Overall, thoroughly entertaining, but not perfect. I’d put it above Thor 1, but below Iron Man 2.