When Comics Were Fun: A Review of ‘Ant-Man’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - July 17, 2015
When Comics Were Fun: A Review of ‘Ant-Man’

I could make a big things come in small packages kind of joke…but I won’t because as the Marvel Universe is trucking along it is admittedly getting a little bit harder to make a quality comic book movie, thankfully they have realized this.  Ant-Man manages to shy away from the typical molds and story arc’s that we are used to a movie like this as it delivers us a wryly funny action/heist movie that doesn’t shy away from the fact that some of the stuff that we are about to see, is more than a little silly.

Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is an ex-con and crook who is trying to turn is life around and be a hero to his little daughter.  But it isn’t easy for an ex-con out there in the real world, until he is presented with an offer from the mysterious Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) to find his inner hero through using the Ant-Man suit.  Armed with the ability to shrink in size but rise in strength, Scott is tasked by his new mentor to help protect the secret of this technology that put Hank in hiding for all these years and has just been unearthed by Hank’s business protégé Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) who only sees dollar signs in his future.  With his daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly), Hank and Scott have to pull off the heist of the century in hopes of saving the world from getting even smaller than it already is.

Shifting ever so slightly from the traditional comic book mold, Ant-Man works because it manages to balance the innate humor in some of these situations against the more traditional action elements into a mix that ends up being quite a bit of fun.

antman

A movie that had a little bit of controversy around it as writer/director Edgar Wright eventually left the project due to creative differences and was replaced by Peyton Reed.  That being said it still worked as a lot of the flourishes from the script by Wright and Joe Cornish were still there while the team of Adam McKay and Paul Rudd rounded out the edges.  It was never meant to be a serious superhero action movie, but rather more of a romp.  Reed keeps it all going at a very solid pace and the script stays grounded in the Marvel Universe while managing to poke a little bit of fun at itself in the process.  It’s well staged (especially the action sequences) and quite funny at the very same time and you can hear the little flourishes that fans of Edgar Wright were looking forward to while also seeing why he quit as there are moments that steer the ship in a very “Marvel-centric” direction.  Ultimately it comes together thanks to some very solid performances.

If Paul Rudd was ever going to do a tent pole kind of picture, you’ve got to figure that this is it.  He leans on his charm and his presence to make Scott a reluctant action hero and we buy every step of his journey.  Michael Douglas found a good sport for himself here as Hank Pym, a man a little past prime but still with plenty of fight left in him.  Corey Stoll was the right balance of petulant and sinister as Darren Cross aka Yellowjacket and Evangeline Lilly just might have a spot in the Marvel universe of her very own one day.  Martin Donovan, Garrett Morris, Tip ‘T.I’ Harris, Judy Greer and Bobby Cannavale (who seems to be in EVERYTHING this year) round out the ensemble and it all makes for an Ocean’s Eleven meets Shaun of the Dead in the action hero mold kind of movie. 

Edgar Wright’s influence is so engrained in this movie that fans will still be delighted even though his name might not be the one on the credits under director.  Ant-Man allows this comic book universe to stop for a minute and actually have a little fun with itself.

This post was written by
David Voigt, has been a lover of cinema all his life and an actual underpaid critic for a solid 5 years covering everything that the city of Toronto has to offer. He was a content manager in video distribution industry before that and his love of all things cinema goes back to his first moments in awe looking up at the big screen. His 12 years of experience on the home entertainment side of the business have provided him with a unique view on what is worth spending your hard earned entertainment dollars on. Combine that with his unquestioned love of film, David should be your only stop to find out about the best in film, not only in Toronto, but worldwide.