Release Date: July 17, 2015
Director: Peyton Reed
Writer: Edgar Wright (screenplay & story), Joe Cornish (screenplay & story), Adam McKay (screenplay), Paul Rudd (screenplay),
Cast: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer, Abby Ryder Fortson, Michael Pena, David Dastmalchian, T.I. Wood Harris, Hayley Atwell, John Slattery, Martin Donovan, Garrett Morris, Gregg Turkington, Rod Hallett, Joe Chrest, Joe Bucaro III
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 117 minutes
Production Company: Marvel Studios, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Genre: Action, Science Fiction
Lately, on online portals, there’s been mention of theaters being saturated by comic book adaptations; that studios continue to spoon-feed us the same bland original story of a superhero by only changing the shooting location and providing a different angle of actions. Fans finally thought they would get an auteur behind the camera with Edgar Wright, but negotiations fell through at Marvel due to creative differences. That was a horrible day for movie fans. Their desire to witness unique, creative filmmaking was ripped from their hearts and replaced with frustration and confusion. It appeared Marvel Studios would have their first critical and financial flop on their hands; but I’m overjoyed to say that I myself and everyone was proved absolutely wrong! Ant-Man is a ton of fun, and the positive word-of-mouth publicity should warrant respectable earnings at the box office.
Not only was Ant-Man great, it is one of my favorite of the twelve films from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Majority of that credit goes to the comedy in the film. To me, there’s a difference between funny moments and joke-cracking. Marvel is sometimes a hit or miss with their jokes, especially when in the third act the world is at stake. I don’t think characters should be making quips during those times. They do succeed with their comedic moments though, and with Ant-Man, they have knocked it out of the park.
If you seriously think about the concept of a superhero named Ant-Man, you wouldn’t be the only one laughing out loud. Things in life are funny when they’re honest, and it seems Marvel has now mastered that aspect and taken full advantage of this opportunity. Paul Rudd as the titular character makes it even better. His skills and personality are the perfect fit to bring life to the screen. He is funny and you believe in his journey. He is an honest man who has just made the wrong decisions in life, and will go lengths to correct those mistakes. He has delivered a phenomenal performance with little effort. It’s like he was born for the role.
But Paul Rudd wasn’t the only one in the cast stealing all the scenes. The icing on the cake was the supporting cast: Michael Douglas, T.I., and Michael Cena all played a pivotal role in Ant-Man, both in terms of comedy and plot devices. Unless I’m blind to it, movies like this make me wonder why Michael Cena doesn’t have bigger roles. The guy is a genius on screen and I feel he’s only getting started. His relationship with Paul Rudd’s character and the rest is genuine, making every scene he’s involved in much more remarkable. It gets to a point where you’re wondering when he’ll take center stage again, because the last time nearly made you laugh out of your seat.
To be honest, Marvel is guilty of weak villainous characters. The marketing campaigns for its movies are massive, but the villains never receive any of the treatment showcased in the trailers. Corey Stoll, who plays Darren Cross / Yellowjacket, is only a step up from the worst, but still needs a little more development. He’s driven by power and money, which most people are, so his character is relatable. His cold heart made me quiver in one particular scene, and towards the end, earned him my stamp of approval.
In today’s age, technology in filmmaking is always advancing, so there’s always something to look forward to. Here in Ant-Man, director Peyton Reed uses microphotography and applies it to the action—pun intended. I never knew action so small could be so big. The fact that you can make an action scene on a child’s play train track or in a briefcase speaks volumes about your talent. It is magnificent and I enjoyed every moment of it. The film also takes time to explain multiple species of ants, their abilities, strengths, and weaknesses. So Ant-Man is not only a hilarious action piece, but also serves as an educational piece on this species of insects. The creativity displayed in a number of the scenes is groundbreaking and just shows that we’ve only scratched the surface of high-quality entertainment. In addition to learning about ants, laughing hysterically, and marveling at top-notch action, the montage styles are eye candy. After one was done I couldn’t wait for the next.
As we all know, all things aren’t perfect, and that goes for Ant-Man too. While majority of the film was a fantastic feast that all the way to the second and third act, at first I was a little worried about where things would go. The song used for the introduction is a little distracting, and the movie feels a little shoehorned into the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, making it jarring.
I thought disaster was inevitable with the departure of Edgar Wright and his replacement with Peyton Reed. But the representation of all fans’ expectations is spot on. As they say, it’s always darkest before the dawn, and Ant-Man flies out of that darkness shining bright as the Sun. Much respect goes to everyone involved in the creation of Ant-Man. With a rocky pre-production, they have nailed hard-to-deliver cinematic entertainment for comic book fans and movie-goers world over. Ant-Man is a great movie for everyone and goes to show that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover or as superhero by his small size.