What it's about:
Biochemist Dr. Hank Pym uses his latest discovery, a group of subatomic particles, to create a size-altering formula. Though his first self-test goes awry, he develops an instrument that helps him communicate with and control insects.
What we thought:
Marvel churns out movies faster than Apple churns out iPhones, but it seems they have found the formula to have both quantity and quality, and this is proven again with the latest MCU instalment – Ant-Man. A little more… compact in its action and focusing rather on credible story development than some of the other Avengers movies, Ant-Man brings to the fore another section of S.H.I.E.L.D’s history and their rocky moral compass while introducing another witty funny guy, but this time he’s at least incredibly nice.
More of an every-man tale, talented thief Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) returns to a straight life after release from prison, but an aged scientist Dr. Hank Pymm (Michael Douglas) has other plans for him. Forced out of his own company with the help of Pymm’s daughter (Evangeline Lilly), the new CEO (Corey Stoll) is hellbent on replicating Pymm’s shrinking formula, but the aged Ant-Man believes his technology would cause worldwide destruction in the wrong hands.
And interestingly, to Pymm the wrong hands also includes Stark Industries and the Avengers, nicely setting up in a small way the next MCU film, Civil War. Instead of city-wide destruction following the wake of 'heroes trying to save the world', Ant-Man shrinks that destruction down to mostly a company headquarters, a house and some underground ant tunnels. Probably one of the most useful superpowers, he’s the perfect infiltrator and adding a thief's skills to it makes him quite a force. Although still pretty fantastic, Ant-Man has a certain realism that lack in Avengers where a man isn't trying to save the world, bur rather trying to save his daughter's world.
As always the Marvel wonder is also full of hilarious quips and witty banter, but much less douchey than Stark or Gaurdians of the Galaxy. Utilising Rudd’s comedic repertoire to the full (he was even on the writing team for the script), Scott is the kind of thief that apologises as he makes off with a priceless jewel. Set up as a kind of Robin Hood that only steals from the rich, his character is refreshing in its lack of egotistical confidence, except when he’s stealing something, and only determined in doing the right thing and becoming the hero his daughter believes he is.
The rest of the writers – Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead), Adam McKay (Saturday Night Live) and Joe Cornish (Attack the Block) – have proven themselves a great team in adapting the comics to the big screen, but still adding their own unique touch to the film.
No superhero is complete without his partners-in-crime, and in this case literally, Lang’s crew of miscreants are pretty loveable, especially Michael Pena as Lang’s ex-cellmate. His tip-montages are just fantastically done and non-cliché and although comes across as bumbling, is incredibly capable as a right-hand man. For the rest of the cast, Lilly and Douglas played their characters as they always would, but the real star is Abby Fortson, who plays Lang’s daughter Cassie, and is too adorable for words. Marvel really gets it right when casting kid actors, and Cassie is more than just a plot device, but has her own character that blossoms on the screen.
As always, there are two end-credit scenes (middle credits and end of credits) so hold off on that run for the cinema’s bathroom until all the credits are done. An Avenger makes an awesome appearance as well as a well-known S.H.I.E.L.D agent, so lots of tie-ins with the MCU. Ant-Man was quite a surprisingly good movie and I hope Marvel keeps up the pace. DC should take note.