Ant-Man came out this past weekend. As the next installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, one would think that it would be a built-in success. Although the box-office is still out, there are still the true believers in anything Marvel, such as myself, who went to see it. That’s why I provide this spoiler-free review, for anyone on the fence about going to see it. I also write a spoiler-version, for those who want to know what I thought about the movie after they have seen it.
In a single sentence, Ant-Man is a brilliant insertion to the MCU, which takes place alongside the other films, but does not rely on them, that does true justice to a character that did not formerly hold much respect in the eyes of movie-goers.
My greatest fear regarding Ant-Man was that it would focus too little on Hank Pym, who is one of the longest running characters in the Marvel Comic Universe, as well as one of my favorites. The film comes out the gate strongly, however. Within the first couple minutes, we are assured that Hank Pym is a big deal, both historically and in modern day. Only once it makes this distinction does it turn to Scott Lang.
Scott Lang’s story is beautifully adapted, although not directly panel-for-frame. Elements of the character’s origin remain very true, but most of the story is original.
The best comic origin that remained true was the use of the Ant-Man abilities. While shrinking and talking to bugs may seem strange to non-comic fans, the abilities were both impressive and believable. I was left with the same feeling of imagination and awe that characters such as Iron Man or Thor left me with in their films. His unique abilities lead to some of the most creative action sequences of any movie, superhero or not.
The one element that bore very little comic resemblance was the use of Yellow-Jacket. While many are familiar with Yellow-Jackets background through other writings on this blog, the movie takes an entirely original approach to the character. The character was still interesting and impressive, but it was original to the script.
Beyond the things we went into the film expecting, we saw many other elements of comics that were unexpected. I won’t go into these too far, for spoiler purposes, but the movie is far more than merely a Scott Lang intro story. I applaud the other comic elements that made their way into the film.
As A Film
The movie is one part superhero movie, one part heist movie, and one part comedy. All three are executed wonderfully.
Scott proves to be a rather sympathetic hero, contrary to many other heist films. Paul Rudd lays down a solid performance to ensure this, that does not rely too heavily on his comedy, but allows us to feel him as a true character.
Darren Cross first comes across as the typical Obadiah-Stane type villain, with touches of humor beyond the sinister face. This was disappointing for about half the movie, until the character takes a more human approach, while not losing the villainy. Cross will not be remembered as fondly as Loki in terms of villains, but he was a respectable one for this film.
The movie was a fun one that almost didn’t have to take place in the MCU. I consider this to be a wonderful attribute of the movie. Just like Guardians of the Galaxy, movie-goers can see the movie without knowing too much about the rest of the Universe. While there are nods to other films, Ant-Man does not spend as much time furthering the Universe as it does merely existing within it. I consider this to be a great move on the part of the film-makers.
Go see Ant-Man. It’s a great movie that is one of the more lighthearted superhero movies of late. It will be fondly remembered by all around and don’t forget, there are two post-credits scenes, not just one. As for how the audiences in general will accept Ant-Man, only time will tell.