Ant-Man came out this past weekend. If you are reading this review, I expect that you have seen the movie, alongside other Marvel fans. For those who have not seen the movie, I wrote a spoiler-free version, but the short version is “Go see the movie”. For the fans who did see the movie, here are my thoughts on the matter!
Also, it should be noted that this review is basically my non-spoiler review with the spoilers inserted. My thoughts don’t change on if you’ve seen the movie or not, but the amount I can say does.
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. We see him deliver a nice punch to a corporate jerk and the members of SHIELD are left in respect and fear of Pym. 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. While we do see him steal the suit, we see him more immediately go the route of protege to Pym. In the comics, it was much more time before we saw Pym accept Lang. In this film, it was almost immediate.
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. I loved the entire action sequence in Cassie’s bedroom, Thomas the Train-Engine and all. It was elements like these that made the action sequences so incredible.
On this note, it’s important to talk of the Falcon action sequence. While Falcon’s character proved influential, the action sequence on the Avengers compound proved that Ant-Man is capable of taking on the rest of the heroes. He is not a side-hero, but worthy of superhero membership. It was also a fun sequence as a whole.
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. There was no Hank Pym behind the mask, but that’s okay.
Beyond the things we went into the film expecting, we saw many other elements of comics that were unexpected. The use of the Wasp is foremost of these. We not only got a promise of the Wasp in the future, but Janet Van Dyne in action, in the original costume she wore in the earliest comics, fighting alongside the original Ant-Man. I may or may not have made some ungodly fanboy screeching noises upon seeing Janet in action.
Also, the little things, such as a mention of “Tales to Astonish” (the original series that introduced Ant-Man) or the inclusion of Hydra made this a true Marvel movie, whole and whole.
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. He seems to actually struggle with betrayal and proves to be angry, not just evil for the sake of evil. 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.
I will be rewatching Ant-Man very soon. It was a great film that fits well within the MCU. It will go the long route in my mind, being one of my favorite films of the MCU to date. It was a beautiful movie that I hope goes on to be more appreciated. As for how appreciated it ends up being… only time will tell.