Watching the newest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universal made me want to write a review on my personal favorite MCU film, Ant-Man. This downscaled film with a likeable protagonist and very interesting and well-executed action sequences provide for a Marvel movie that focuses more on story and character rather than trying to out-do its last effort. So though this is not the biggest, best grossing, or ‘coolest’ MCU film, I still think it manages to bring the most to the table.
The cast is led by Paul Rudd, who plays the very likeable and charismatic Scott Lang, a struggling average Joe who gets pulled into the larger scheme. Rudd leads the film with a fun and realistic character arc that provides opportunities for jokes and laughs as well. Paul Rudd also manages to provide a much different look into the Marvel Cinematic Universe in which he is an outsider from the whole SHIELD or HYDRA or superhero community, that the majority of other characters come from. Michael Douglas also stars in this film as Hank Pym, the inventor of the Ant-Man suit, and although his role is fairly cliché and tired, Douglas manages to bring a nice fragility to the role.
Evangeline Lilly plays Pym’s daughter and Lang’s love interest and does so decently, but much like any Marvel love-interest, is quickly dismissed ad forgotten. Corey Stoll plays the Darren Cross, the jealous and manipulative antagonist, who– unlike his House of Cards counterpart– knows how to play politics. Stoll sadly also seems to fall into the pit of boring Marvel villains that only Hiddleston seemed to escape. Michael Pena also has a smaller role in this film, and manages to make the film so much stronger than many of the series’ counterparts by adding clever humor to the movie.
The screenplay itself is not so spectacular, but it does have a very strong sense of self-realization. It plays on the down-scaled idea of the film and doesn’t try to bite off more than it can chew. In other words: the film knows its not destined to be the most memorable of the franchise, but still has fun. And that’s what makes the movie wonderful. I mean, where is the franchise going to go if every movie is just trying to outdo its predecessor, we saw what that did to Avengers: Age of Ultron, and that wasn’t pretty. The story of the film is simple straight forward and really plays on the classic heist formula which works well and makes for an interesting and fresh movie as it mixes the world of superhero and heist together. The film also has some of the most creative sequences I’ve scene in a long time; these are obviously the Michael Pena transitional dialogue scenes which are absolutely hilarious and creative.
Christophe Beck also provides this film with a strong soundtrack that helps nuance the action sequences an which builds on spy-film standards. The cinematography, much like any Marvel movie, also works well in the action sequences and is good at making enthralling and unforgettable shots. The special effects however are fantastic, as they are in all MCU films, but really create some of the best MCU action sequences to date in this film. Now as controversial as this may be, the action sequences in Ant-Man are much more clever and interesting than the destructive and larger-scale Avengers or Iron Man action sequences.
So yeah, this is my favorite MCU film to date, and the MCU film that I’m probably the most excited for in the future is the 2018 Ant-Man and the Wasp film. But this is a lesson that Marvel really needs to learn: not every movie has to outdo the last one, and that was proudly proven in this down-scaled yet still excellent addition to the franchise.
Worst Aspect- Hope Van Dyne
Best Aspect- Paul Rudd