My Rating: 7.5 out of 10
I remember when the first Avengers movie came out back in 2012, one of my comic loving friends was very upset about the exclusion of Ant Man from the superhero super group. At the time, the choice not to include a character who’s only power was shrinking himself to the size of an ant made a lot of sense to me. Someone like that wouldn’t fit in with the likes of literal and metaphorical gods such as Thor and Hulk. But after seeing Ant Man, I must admit that I was very wrong.
The plot of the newest Marvel film follows Scott Lang (played by Paul Rudd), an ex-convict who recently got out of prison and is get his life in order so he can pay child support and get visitation rights to see his young daughter. Through a series of interesting encounters and plot twists, Scott becomes the ant man and must team up with Hank Pym (the original ant man, played by Michael Douglas) in order to stop a evil scientist from creating his own variant of the shrinking suit.
Ant Man delivers both action and suspense in no small way, but the film’s real strength is its self defacing humor. While the writers do a good job of explaining the many uses of the ant man suit and even include a scene that show Scott wouldn’t be totally in over his head with the Avengers in later films, they also understand that a movie centered on a superhero named Ant Man can’t take itself too seriously.
For this reason, as well as it’s accessibility to viewers that haven’t seen the other Marvel films, Ant Man struck me as very similar to Guardians of the Galaxy. Though the humor was amplified to fill nearly every crevice of the film, including the most touching and dramatic moments, whereas Guardians let the comedy take a backseat.
Like all the other films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Ant Man relies on certain plot conventions and goofy pseudoscience. But due to its self awareness, the movie can actual get away with these elements more than many of its predecessors. On top of this, instead of just making fun of itself, Ant Man pokes fun at movies like Iron Man 3 and Thor 2 for never brining up the possibility of contacting the rest of the Avengers even though the world was in serious danger.
As with Guardians of the Galaxy, the new cast members were excellently picked and will make great additions to future Marvel movies (though, to be honest, guys like Chris Pratt and Paul Rudd might steal some of the thunder from Chris Hemsworth and Robert Downey, Jr). While I would definitely be okay with seeing a standalone Ant Man sequel, I feel that the arc of Scott Lang’s story was headed in the direction of joining up with the Avengers pretty soon after putting on the suit and this movie served more as an introduction for him as a new hero than anything else.
Going into the film, my knowledge of Ant Man (as with the majority of my limited comic book knowledge) came from the friend I mentioned at the beginning of this review. While he has yet to see the film, I know he was mainly concerned about the inclusion of both Hank Pym and The Wasp in the story. Since both characters are there (though one only appears in a flashback), I feel that diehard comic fans will at least be somewhat pleased.
I highly recommend Ant Man to anyone that enjoys superhero movies or action-comedies. While fans of the original comics should be pleased with the Hollywood version of this particular character, it is likely that people with less information about the back story of Ant Man will enjoy the movie even more. As I mentioned earlier, Ant Man fits into the overall Marvel Avengers storyline, but feels like a standalone film that doesn’t require any knowledge of the previous films (minus understanding a few jokes and references). I was very surprised by the job the creators did and am excited to see where Ant Man’s story goes!