Paul Rudd makes his Marvel debut as Scott Lang in 2015’s Ant-Man. At the time, the casting took fans back, but Rudd blew fans’ minds with his amazing performance of the ex-con as he navigated through his superhero origins. With an equally impressive support cast, Peyton Reed’s film expanded on the already-established MCU, and not just by introducing Ant-Man.
Within the first few minutes of the film, we are introduced to the original Ant-Man, Hank Pym. Having developed shrinking technology using his very own Pym Particles, Hank Pym faced off against the Soviet Union during the Cold War. His colleagues at S.H.I.E.L.D., along with Howard Stark himself, wanted to mass produce Pym’s technology for the U.S. government. Although Stark understands why Pym doesn’t want to share his tech, Mitchell Carson, then the head of defense at the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division (wow, that’s a mouthful). Ultimately, Pym walked away from his superhero antics after a mission went south. This background shows that the U.S. government had been working alongside heroes long before 2012’s The Avengers. It also means that there could also be other heroes from previous decades we have yet to be introduced to, besides Captain Marvel.
Moving on to actually reviewing the film, Ant-Man definitely deserves to be called a good movie. Michael Pena’s breakout character Luis provided great comedic relief to the already witty Paul Rudd. Evangeline Lily’s Hope van Dyne most definitely was another great character. The amount of depth to the character made her so intriguing, yet so mysterious. Lily’s performance was stellar, and her dynamic with Michael Douglas’ Hank Pym was so intricate that it was completely believable that they would be father and daughter. And Douglas’ Pym was a perfect mirror image of Rudd’s Lang.
Corey Stoll’s Darren Cross/Yellowjacket was an intriguing character, however, his motives were weaker than I expected they would be. Stoll gave an outstanding performance, but this story also falls into the classic superhero villain mishap. This mishap is basically when the villain is the exact opposite of the hero. Stoll’s more crazy performance was one way to overlook the somewhat weak character.
Reed was able to take audiences on a journey that perfectly balanced the humor and serious nature of the story. The story itself was wonderfully told, with few issues in the pacing department. Over the course of the film, audiences really had a chance to connect with Scott Lang, although connecting through similar criminal activities is definitely not a good thing. But this story is one of redemption. It shows Scott transform from entitled, to willing to sacrifice everything for the greater good. It also teaches fans to always strive to be a better person than you are right now.
The visual effects were phenomenal. There was so many things that needed to be green screened into the film, and so much motion capture for all the ants that needed to be done, but the work was stellar nonetheless. Kudos to the post-production crew on such an outstanding job!
Finally, we have the score. The film’s accompanying music definitely stands above some films, however, I personally thought it could have been better. Christophe Beck, who also composed the score of Disney’s Frozen, did a decent job, but I found myself not as moved by the music as I have in previous MCU films such as The Avengers or Guardians of the Galaxy. The mix of music composed specifically for the film and songs recorded by artists previously was a welcome relief from many movies that don’t do such things.
Overall, I would give 2015’s Ant-Man a solid 8/10. Peyton Reed did an amazing job with each and every scene. Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish tell an interesting story, and the decision to go with Scott Lang instead of Hank Pym as the titular character was a gamble that definitely paid off. I look forward to seeing more Ant-Man and The Wasp in future movies.