Ant-Man reestablishes Marvel’s dominance in generating entertaining and hilarious standalone origin stories. After their first and possibly best film, Iron Man, Marvel has managed to get by with acceptable, forced origin films (Thor, Captain America) that are only there to set up more films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With Ant-Man, Marvel brings back the fantastic story telling that made Iron Man undeniably incredible, while adding to the growing list of new Avengers. The spot on casting, stunning visual effects, and typical Marvel humor make Ant-Man one of Marvel’s best to date.
With Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), creator of the Ant-Man suit, forced out of his own company he must find a suitable replacement to become the hero he once was. Hank believes he has found the perfect match in Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), a burglar (not a thief) recently released from prison, but his daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly) disagrees. Scott’s motivation to gain visitation rights to his daughter causes him to return to burglarizing homes, this time picking Pym’s. When caught and imprisoned, Pym offers Scott his one way out, becoming the Ant-Man. Meanwhile, Pym’s old protégée, Darren Cross (Corey Stoll), uncovers Pym’s secret creation and invents his own suit he calls, Yellowjacket. With Pym’s technology in the wrong hands, Scott must break into the Pym Technology building and destroy the Yellowjacket and all evidence of the Ant-Man suit. From there, the action builds at a pace not seen before in the MCU.
Beforehand, I had my doubts when Paul Rudd was cast for the title character; however, Rudd makes the Ant-Man his own by easing the tension with constant one-liners. Rudd’s comedy gives Scott Lang humor that rivals Marvel’s own Peter Quill as well as Tony Stark. It will definitely be entertaining to see Rudd and Downey Jr. bounce off of each other on screen in Captain America: Civil War. The cameo from The Falcon was unexpected and delightful as it ties in Ant-Man’s role in Civil War. Hopefully it is not too late for Marvel to include Evangeline Lilly in Civil War, as she would add another strong female character to the short list (Scarlett Johansson & Elizabeth Olsen).
While Paul Rudd delivers humorous lines, the stand out is definitely Michael Peña as he causes outbursts from beginning to end. Surprisingly, Michael Douglas also has some laugh worthy lines like when he gets defensive about his suit stating, “This is not some cute tech like the Iron Man suit!” The humor was pleasurable and unexpected due to the various characters delivering the comical lines. The visual effects were some of the best I have ever seen in a Marvel film. Lang’s quick transitions in and out of being the size of an ant were seamlessly put together causing a fantastic visual experience. Overall, the visual effects were more practical than what we are used to seeing in a Marvel film. It felt as if minimal CGI was used in this film contrasting recent Marvel films (Avengers: Age of Ultron) where it seemed excessive.
Ant-Man will quickly become a Marvel favorite for its perfect casting, fantastic writing, and stunning visuals. Ant-Man follows in the footsteps of Captain America: The First Avenger as well as Captain America: The Winter Soldier as all three tied everything together for the highly anticipated film that followed. The first and second Captain America movies set the tone for the first and second Avengers films while Ant-Man has the honor of filling in the puzzle pieces for Captain America: Civil War (or as I like to call it, Avengers 2.5). The two post-credit scenes will cause a lot of hype due to the new character introduction and promo for Civil War. All and all, Ant-Man might be overshadowed since it was stuck in between two powerhouse films (Age of Ultron & Civil War) but will be remembered as an entertaining, somewhat goofy, well-written origin story.
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