Ant-Man (2015)

Paul Rudd in Ant-Man (2015)There are lots of reasons to like Ant-Man. You’ve got the sparkling comic chemistry of Paul Rudd and Michael Peña (Evangeline Lilly’s there too). There’s a zippy Michael Douglas/John Slattery/Hayley Atwell prologue that makes you long for an MCU film set in the ‘80s. Minus a misjudged training sequence, the film’s bouncy heist framework is perfectly paced and, for the first time in a while, the action scenes have a sense of imagination and fun; it turns out small-scale fight scenes are way more fun than yet another huge flying machine crashing into a metropolis.

Nonetheless, this is very much a Marvel movie, with all that entails. Edgar Wright’s original script has been stripped for parts – funny interludes and ice-cream-related jokes remain, but they’re sandwiched between clumsy Avengers tie-ins and awkwardly overwritten characterisation that relies heavily on daddy issues while avoiding nuance altogether. I’m not sure who has it worse: Michael Douglas’s sanitised, near-saintly Hank Pym, or Corey Stoll’s ridiculously megalomaniacal villain, whose motivations are explained – in ADR’d dialogue – as the result of “corrupted brain chemistry” or somesuch.

The days of surprising auteurist Marvel movies are, sadly, over. If you can accept that, you’ll have a good time with Ant-Man.

3.5 stars

5 thoughts on “Ant-Man (2015)

  1. Nice way to some it all up. I can’t believe this superhero fad has lead to a movie called Ant-Man. I’m still in shock and I read about it first months ago. I thought it was a joke!!

    Can’t picture Michael Douglas in one of these films either!!

    • Douglas is an odd fit, here; I think there’s a really good opportunity for him to have played Hank Pym with masked bitterness, with his motivations resentment as much as anything else, but the screenplay sidesteps that opportunity to saddle him with tired absent-father anxieties.

    • Yeah, that’s definitely intentional: Wright writing, then McKay adapting, then Reed directing – all the comedy players are there! It’s not consistently hilarious but the banter really flows in a way that it hasn’t for some of the other Marvel films (I seem to be in the minority by only finding Guardians of the Galaxy intermittently funny). Thanks for the comment!

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