Ant-Man is a 2015 superhero film directed by Peyton Reed and starring Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly and Michael Douglas. It is the twelfth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and in my opinion one of their best.
The story is not the highlight here. I like how they explain everything in the beginning, they introduce you to the world and its characters in a great way. And I especially loved the slow pace in the first half of the movie and its emotional investment. The movie definitely has a heart. The troubled relationship between Hank and Hope and their father-daughter bonding is so well done and very moving. I also like the relationship between the protagonist Scott and Hank as well as Hope. Yes, all of the relationships in Ant-Man work and they drive the movie. I also like how it incorporates the father-daughter aspect in the protagonist’s relationship with his daughter as well. This is definitely the warmest movie for Marvel yet.
I am constantly talking about how the first half is so good for a good reason because the second half is much weaker. The action sequences are nothing to write home about and they needed inventiveness due to the film’s nature. I also disliked the villain and the conflict. And the action and humor are overwhelming and not that good later on. But I like how it wrapped up with such a nice ending. This is a story that is so familiar in its science and heist, but it is still good because it incorporates human drama and emotion into it which I found really refreshing.
Now, the characters. They are mostly really well realized. Especially the aforementioned trio, they all are very good, even excellent. I like Scott Lang as the protagonist here, he is not as funny as he should have been, but that is also not a bad thing as it lead to some character development and drama for him. He is more grounded than other Marvel heroes while also not being boring like Captain America is. He is the perfect middle ground and I really appreciated that. Hank Pym is terrific as a troubled old man and a genius scientist. He also has an emotional development and a genuinely tragic and perfectly explored backstory. Hope van Dyne is also wonderful and a very strong female character. Her story, her relationship with father as well as the main character are all extremely well done. I think she is my favorite female character in the MCU as I am not that big a fan of Black Widow.
Yellowjacket is of course a bad villain, like all Marvel villains usually are. He definitely posed more threat than many of them did, but he is still an overly theatrical and cartoony villain with a typical behavior and goal. He is one of the main problems of this movie. And I have to be honest and say that I was not a fan of Luis, I know that I am in the minority here, but to me he was mostly annoying, not all the time, but still for the most part. His humor gets so repetitive near the end and his constant smile made me irritated. I really disliked all of Lang’s friends, they are the typical sidekicks, too over-the-top and rarely genuinely funny.
Speaking of the humor, that is where Ant-Man fails the most. I really expected more from it, but I did not get it. Yes, the central character has a charisma and he does have some nice lines, but even he is not that funny and some of his jokes fall flat. And as I said before, his friends and especially Luis are all really annoying instead of hilarious. They really missed the mark when comedy is concerned.
The acting on the other hand is superb across the board. Paul Rudd did a stupendous job and he really is likable in his role. Evangeline Lilly also did a great job and Michael Douglas surprised me as he was really sympathetic here whereas he mostly isn’t. I am usually not a fan of his, but here I really liked both him and his character. Corey Stroll is too over-the-top as is his character and Bobby Cannavale plays an overly typical role for him. But Michael Pena is quite good and although his character is not, he did a good job with what he got.
Now, technically this movie is not particularly good and I am mostly referring to the action and special effects, as I found the direction and especially pacing really good. But the action is so mediocre and rarely making you excited. It definitely felt subpar when compared to the rest of the picture which is a shame as it had the potential to be both inventive and riveting. The visual effects are quite weak in my opinion and that is mostly due to those ants which I found awful. They are so plastic, mediocre and so polished that they do not look realistic at all. They used way too much CGI. But bad CGI, because it doesn’t look at all like the real ants which is a huge problem as the movie is surrounded by them. That is one of the biggest problems Ant-Man never overcame and I am getting sick and tired of this conventional, shiny and artificial look of the blockbusters these days. It really sucked the enjoyment out of it for me.
But whereas the ants are simply bad, the costumes are mostly good as are the interiors. But there is one scene that surprised me and that is naturally the sequence in the subatomic world as it is so beautiful to behold visually and such an imaginative scene, though it made no sense whatsoever in the storytelling department and the 3D should have been better utilized. The score is okay, but nothing too remarkable. And the movie is not a bit original in its script, but because it incorporated some family drama and humor, it got away with it. The dialogue is also mostly solid.
The movie does not have a brain at all as it is too silly at times, but it does have heart which I once again found refreshing. But what takes it to the next level is how those emotional scenes are incorporated and executed. They did it in a natural way that doesn’t seem forced as it did in ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’. And comparing it to that movie, it is much better, there is no doubt about it. In fact, I would say that Ant-Man is one of the very best Marvel movies, the best after ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ and ‘Iron Man‘. However, when the universe is concerned, I strongly disliked the incorporation of the Avengers and other Marvel stories. It just felt really forced and it just did not belong there. And Falcon was really stupid and again a proof that he is a weak character. They should have made this movie free of the MCU references and it would have been much better that way.