Ant-Man movie full length review - Feels more like a heist film rather than a superhero film.
Having never read a single Ant Man comic as a kid, I went into my local theater speculating how Marvel would be able to make people care about a lesser-known Marvel character with mediocre abilities.
Sure enough, Marvel keeps proving me wrong because Ant-Man really surprised me with its great writing and humor, fantastic action scenes, great performances and a really touching story about redemption. After watching it, I don't think I've enjoyed watching a Marvel movie this much since Guardians of the Galaxy.
The movie begins in 1989 where inventor Hank Pym quits S.H.I.E.L.D. upon discovering that they have tried to reproduce his Ant-Man shrinking technology. Considering the technology to be too risky, Hank vows to keep it hidden for as long as he lives. We than cut to the present where Pym's daughter, Hope and his past apprentice, Darren Cross, have pushed Hank out of the company and Cross is close to finalizing a shrinking suit of his own. Meanwhile, well-meaning burglar Scott Lang is released from jail and moves in with an old cell-mate. While visiting his daughter unexpectedly, Scott is scolded by his ex-wife and her police husband-to-be for not paying child support. Soon after, Lang comments a robbery with a few friends where he breaks into a house, only to find what appears to be an old motorcycle suit, but when he tries it on, he discovers its true powers. It turns out that Hank Pym ticked Lang into stealing the suit and now, wants him to become the new Ant-Man in order to stop Cross from launching the Yellowjacket suit.
I truly don't believe that there has ever been a superhero film where the lead character starts out as somebody who could usually be the villain and comes out as a hero in the end. This must've been a difficult achievement for the writers and the director to pull off and yet, they did just that and made Scott Lang so likable that you're cheering for him throughout the whole movie. In a nutshell, the idea of overcoming or submitting to your past is the thematic thread of the film as Scott desires to earn back his daughter's love by becoming a better man, while Hank Pym is attempting to rewire his relationship with Hope and come to terms with his wife's passing, and Hope and Darren are attempting to grapple with their own difficult feelings toward Pym's behavior towards them. Eventually, with each of the characters defined, it doesn't take the viewer long who conquers their past and who doesn't, but the fact that a comic book film contains such themes as redemption and making amends for your past mistakes as well as the risks of hate and envy adds a lot to the final film.
The screenplay written by Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish, Adam McKay and Paul Rudd mixes all the elements of a Marvel film by throwing in action, comedy, and even some emotion and it's all written capably which serves the film well. The movie is overflowing with humor and even during the serious moments, there is at least some comedy to prevent things form getting too stale. These days, few movies are bold enough to be a little silly and have a fun time, but Ant-Man really excels at that and one can tell that the filmmakers knew the idea was ridiculous and they didn't care. The characters take the circumstances they're in seriously and have faith in their causes, but are also cracking jokes at every turn.
Much like Chris Pratt in Guardians of the Galaxy, Paul Rudd is incredibly likable as Scott Lang and fits into the role perfectly, dropping the archetypal Rudd jokes that we know and love, but is also capable of showing real emotion during the scenes with his daughter. Evangeline Lilly continues to show how tough she is in this film as her version of Hope Van Dyne is intense and definitely has attitude to boot. If another actor was to playing the role of Hank Pym, it could've been boring and moralistic, but Michal Douglas makes the character important and fascinating. His sense of humor is on point and has outstanding chemistry with the other actors. Corey Stool is pretty solid as Darren Cross/Yellowjacket and brings some depth to this evil scientist. Michael Pena, David Dastmalchian and T.I. all play a humorous group of crooks who provide extra humor to the movie, particularly towards the end of the film. Bobby Cannavale and Judy Greer play their roles well and Abby Fortson is cute as Lang's daughter. Even Anthony Mackie and Hayley Atwell show up as Falcon and Peggy Carter and give fine performances.
The special effects are top-notch, particularly the scenes of Ant-Man shrinking and his interaction with the ants. The action scenes are stunning and very well done with the fight between Ant-Man and Falcon and the end battle between Ant-Man and Yellowjacket taking place in his daughter's room on a play area with a toy Thomas the Tank Engine track with our hero and villain having a massive fight in miniature that manages to be humorous, but also has the viewer feeling fearful and struggling to breathe. This movie is a different turn for Marvel in terms of the action and story and while it isn't epic or action-packed as The Avengers, it has a nice mixture of humor, story, touching moments, dangerous circumstances, stunning technical developments and a concluding fight.
I really enjoyed this movie a lot, it's funny, the actors all do a great job, it has great action and some very touching emotional scenes to boot. Make sure to stay after for two mid-credit scenes. Go see Ant-Man if you haven't already, it's one hell of a ride.