A Super Ant-ertaining Movie About A Tiny Hero with A Big Heart
When Marvel finally brought The Avengers to the big screen in 2012, they couldn’t fit in all the founding members of their all-star superhero ensemble into this jam-packed blockbuster. As a result there was no room for Ant-Man and The Wasp, ironically enough the two smallest members of the team. Now as Marvel is rounding out its Phase Two, Ant-Man is finally given his time to shine.
When Scott Lang (the always likeable Paul Rudd) gets out of jail after three years, he is planning to stay away from crime in order to get back in touch with his little daughter Cassie. However Lang soon finds himself caught up in a massive heist, as brilliant scientist Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) enlists his aid to steal the Yellowjacket suit. This device designed by Pym’s estranged apprentice Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) can make someone shrink to Ant-size. Cross plans to sell the suit to the military, as it would make for practically invisible soldiers that could infiltrate virtually anywhere. Cross actually copied the idea of this ground-breaking shrinking technology from his former mentor, who predicts disasters will happen if the military get their hands on this. Therefore Pym persuades Scott to wear the shrinking Ant-Man costume he used to fight crime in. And so Scott Lang becomes the new Ant-Man.
Of course Scott and Pym can’t pull this heist of by themselves, so they get help from Pym’s daughter Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) and from Scott’s old pals Luis (Michael Pena) and Dave (Rapper T.I.). Scott also has to try and manoeuvre himself around two policemen (Bobby Cannavale and Wood “Avon Barksdale” Harris). These cops are determined to get Scott behind bars again, especially as one of them happens to be Cassie’s step-dad.
British director Edgar Wright had been developing Ant-Man with Marvel since 2003, five years before the comic book giant released their first blockbuster with Iron Man in 2008. When production was finally about to start in 2014, Wright suddenly departed the project due to creative differences. Apparently he didn’t like how Marvel wanted him to base the film firmly in the Avengers Universe. As a last-minute replacement Peyton Reed was hired, whose main successes up until then were cheerleader-movie Bring It On and Jim-Carrey comedy Yes Man. Fan expectations were immediately lowered, but as it now turns out Reed has delivered an excellent film, which is apparently still following Wright’s screenplay with a few minor changes. Ant-Man is everything you expect from a well-crafted blockbuster. It is ant-irely ant-ertaining from start to finish, has a story full of heart with likeable characters, great action, terrific special effects, plenty of suspense and great comic relief.
Marvel’s latest offering has got an almost nostalgic feel about it as it brings that balance of action, comedy and suspense that you used to find in eighties films like Back To The Future, Ghostbusters and The Goonies. Unlike the comic book studio’s recent releases it doesn’t finish with a huge apocalyptic battle towards the end, but with a fight scene on a Thomas the Tank Engine Train, which is delightfully refreshing. It does turn a bit abstract in the end with a scene where Ant-Man briefly goes into a dimension beyond time and space, and you can’t help yourself thinking that Ant-Man has suddenly gone Ant-erstellar, with book shelf and all.
The mid-credits scene neatly sets up a sequel, but with Marvel’s upcoming slate all planned up until 2019 there won’t be an Ant-Man 2 until 2020, which is a bit of a bummer. Especially as Scott Lang is actually the type of hero the world needs right now: in his backstory it is explained he steals from corrupt corporations. In this day and age full of greedy businessmen and dodgy politicians who make the discrepancy between the rich and the poor bigger every day, we need someone like Ant-Man to put these crooks in their place, even if it is only on the big screen.
Ant-Man will pop up next year in ‘Captain America: Civil War‘, as is explained in the post-credits scene, and he is also expected to make his appearance in both parts of Avengers: Infinity War. We also shouldn’t be surprised if Hope Van Dyne becomes The Wasp in any of these films, so that the last founding member of the Avengers that hasn’t popped up it in the Marvel Cinematic Universe yet will also make it to the big screen. Or as Evangeline Lilly says it herself in the movie: “It’s about damn time!”