by John Seedhouse
They say that you don’t get anywhere by thinking small. Clearly Marvel has paid no heed to this with their summer offering. Ant-Man should, by rights, be the least likely of the plethora of characters to be on the big screen.
Here is the trailer to watch and go “oooh” at before we get into this Ant-Man review.
The Lost Avenger?
Comics fans have been quite vocal in the last few years over the treatment of the Hank Pym character. Here is a man who was the original Ant-Man, who co-founded The Avengers AND created Ultron and yet the Cinematic Universe has totally ignored him – until now.
The problem with Hank Pym is that his entire character in the comics is defined by a single incident, which forever turned him from heroic scientist into massive douche-bag. In the MCU he really doesn’t bring anything to the party that Tony Stark and Bruce Banner haven’t already unpacked. Scott Lang on the other hand…
By shifting the generational set up and aging Pym (Michael Douglas), adding a tragedy and a grown up daughter (Evangeline Lilly) and pitching Scott Lang (ever-likeable, Paul Rudd) as the out-of -his-depth-at-life downbeat dad, Edgar Wright’s script hits the 1970/80s Ant-Man feeling perfectly.
Marvel in the mid 70s was trying to add purpose to its line of story-telling. Ant-Man (the film) grabs that feeling and runs with it. Despite big-science concepts in the set-up, this is the antithesis of the last Avengers movie. For small lead character read human, rather than gods.
Despite the directorial upheaval of Wright to Peyton, this still feels like an Edgar Wright film. There are those soft humour touches and clever use of dialogue that made the Cornetto trilogy such a giggle. Michael Peña plays the wide-boy buddy and it really is the stand-out part. His character led story set-ups are some of the best moments here.
The Joy of Sex(ism).
When writing this Ant-Man review one thing about Marvel did bug me and that it the major issue of continued confusion that Marvel has when it comes to female characters. They can get it right (Black Widow on screen) and then badly wrong (Black Widow in NO publicity material. Hope Van Dyne’s treatment here is borderline 70s… On one side she is the protected daughter and yet her character outline is that she is an ass-kicker. I suppose that this level of Pym douchism is better than the comicbook incident.
Stan Lee gets his cameo and veteran artist, Al Milgrom gets an easter egg nod early on too, along with a throwaway “Tales to Astonish” line. Also, post-credits…
This is a fun one. It hasn’t done massive figures yet but it was probably never going to. There is some decent 3D and it is a great example of what Marvel comics do/did so well. If you enjoyed Guardians of the Galaxy then there is plenty here for you. It is much much more worthy of your money than the other super-hero offering of the summer break.
Mrs L enjoyed it and thought that the Hispanic tone of the film was a welcome touch after the dryness of Age Of Ultron.
John would not like to be ant-sized. His desk is far too death-trappy. He would like Luis as his mate though…