The basic story is that Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), the original Ant-Man, has grown old and has discovered that his former pupil, Darren Cross (Corey Stoll), is very close to replicating his secret shrinking technology. Pym then recruits former criminal Scott Lang, masterfully played by the unaging Paul Rudd, to use the Ant-Man suit to thwart Cross with the help of his estranged daughter, Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly).
Read on to see how four members of the Sub-Cultured team break down the film as well as their feelings on how this stands against previous films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.Please enter the url to a YouTube video.
To say I entered Ant-Man with minimal expectations is putting it lightly. I wasn’t quite sure how the whole Hank Pym/Scott Lang story was going to fit in the MCU. Since announcements that Ultron would be Iron Man-created instead of the brain child of Pym, I had been feeling bitter; production issues added to the sour taste in my mouth. Luckily, Marvel has churned out another hit with the charmingly handsome Paul Rudd in the title role. Although the villain is laughably cheesy (seriously, Marvel, write your villains better), and the one female lead is frustratingly sidelined (but there’s Hope for the future), there’s still a lot of really good heart in the film.
Toss in a few cameos, and a scene stealing side character, and I was entertained enough to leave the theater grinning. Also, minus the handful of swear words, Ant-Man is definitely friendly for the whole family. But be warned, all viewers may leave with a soft spot for the ants themselves!
There were quite a few things I enjoyed about Ant-Man. The biggest feature is the focus on humor, perhaps borrowing a note from Guardians of the Galaxy and moving away from the intensity of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. While I can appreciate the darker nature of Winter Soldier, I don’t believe it would’ve been a good fit for Ant-Man. I am a firm believer that humor is a better way to attract audiences and since we’re so unfamiliar with Scott Lang, it’s a wise approach to get us invested because Lang is so new to viewers.
The second most prominent feature would is been the fight scene with the Falcon. It sort of felt stuck in, but it was used quite effectively when Hydra became involved in the story and of course in the second post credits scene showing how Ant-Man is going to be drawn into Captain America: Civil War. Not only did that fight give Ant-Man an informal introduction to the rest of the Marvel franchise, it was a great demonstration for how powerful the Ant-Man suit is and helped develop another point in the plot: Hydra is coming back.
There were two things that did annoy me in Ant-Man, not that I’d refuse to see it again, but are big enough for me to mention them as problem areas. The first would be that the humor I appreciated so much during the film sometimes made characters into unflattering caricatures. I am talking mostly about the side characters Lang works with for the heist scenes and to a lesser degree Darren Cross as a villain. It’s tough to create minor or opposing characters that aren’t punch lines in some way, but it might have been nice to give them some depth beyond their respective skill sets and roles. The other, which is more pressing, is a huge lack of Hope. Aside from the generic training montage, we don’t actually get to see much of her in action and that’s disappointing. Throughout the movie we are given a first rate education on how she’s so much better at controlling ants and being in charge of the suit than Lang. It’s even a huge part in the dialogue that she’s more qualified in every way to stop Cross than Lang, but the plot and Hank Pym prevent Hope from doing so. Alas all we get is a post credits scene and the vague promise she’ll be in a future film; not even her own film.
I liked Ant-Man. I liked Paul Rudd, especially when he was wearing his hoodie. I think the cinematography was the best part of the movie. I haven’t read any Ant-Man books, but I thought that this fit well into the MCU. I wish that there had been more for Hope to do, or that she had actually been trained after her fight with Hank, instead of just agreeing to train Scott. It felt like a strong attempt for a feminist hero, but ultimately a failed one. I hope that the final scene means that the next movie will be called “Wasp” –but realistically that’s not going to happen.
Sam Wilson’s extended cameo was fan-fucking-tastic. The post-end credits scene certainly wasn’t long enough–I miss me some Bucky on the big screen. In conclusion, Bucky.
While Ant-Man was an enjoyable movie, in my opinion it was the worst Marvel movie to date. Hank Pym was a weaker character and not at all like the Hank Pym from the comics that I know. I would have like to see them push the envelope and show a bit more of his aggression/ego issues. Especially since he isn’t the main character. Darren Cross was incredibly flat as a character, which made him a super one dimensional villain which annoyed me and felt he could have been done significantly better.
Images and video courtesy of Marvel.com