Ant-Man directed by Peyton Reed, written by Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish, Adam McKay and Paul Rudd and starring Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Michael Pena and Judy Greer amongst others. Ant-Man is about Hank Pym (Douglas) and his discovery of the Pym particle. The Pym particle allows for the condensing of the space between atoms in a human allowing a human being to carry out physical feats similar to those of an ant. As well as Scott Lang (Rudd) a former cat burglar seeking to change his ways. Lang and Pym cross paths and have to stop Pym’s protégé (Stoll) from using what is essentially Pym’s research for evil.
As with many recent entries into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) Ant-Man is well tied to the events and the overarching story of the MCU. That is why the film’s first director, Edgar Wright, left the project well into production. By the time, that production had started on the film Marvel had established the MCU and had put Wright in the position of having to make Ant-Man the film that Marvel wanted and not the film that Wright had wanted to make. That is also the same reason that Ava Duvernay had recently turned down Marvel’s offer to direct their upcoming Black Panther project. However, I cannot decide whether Ant-Man’s ties to the MCU are a success for the film or a failure. In making a case for being successful Ant-Man can establish that the character exists within the universe, including having a few solid jokes about the MCU while successfully developing Ant-Man as a stand-alone character. The cases against the ties are that they feel shoehorned and something that is there for fan service. Almost as if Marvel had no faith in the film and the ties are like Marvel saying you like these other films, so come see this one because we call back to the ones you like.
MCU ties aside Ant-Man has very few marks against it. The marks that are against it are that the training montage while important feels overly long and has a plot point between Douglas and Lilly that is shoehorned in, not well developed and pretty quickly tossed aside. The other is plot point between Rudd and Lilly thrown in from nowhere and tossed aside as well; however, Rudd does exit that scene on one of the best jokes in the film. Where Ant-Man succeeds is in its casting, especially Michal Pena. Pena is the funniest character in the film and used when he needs to be there for comic relief. That is another point in Ant-Man’s favor is that unlike Avengers: Age of Ultron Peyton Reed was able to find a balance with the humor in the film so that it did not feel too much like a comedy, much as James Gunn did with Guardians of the Galaxy. The two greatest strengths that Ant-Man had were one, much like how Captain America: The Winter Soldier was a superhero film that contained elements of a political thriller. Ant-Man was a superhero film that had elements of a heist film. This heist film element is a positive because Marvel is starting to explore how to take a standard superhero movie and add another layer to it to make it more than a superhero movie. The second greatest strength was that of all the heroes in the MCU Rudd’s Ant-Man was the realest. His motivations centered on becoming a better man for his daughter. This relationship added another layer to the Ant-Man cake, that of a father-daughter relationship.
Of the twelve entries in the MCU, thus far Ant-Man is certainly one of the best because it is more than just a superhero film. It is one of the funniest films in the MCU without feeling too much like a comedy. Overall, Ant-Man is a good movie and an enjoyable watch that proves the old saying good things come in small packages (the obligatory size comment). 4/5