Ant-Man is now showing at the Garden City Cinema in Welwyn Garden City, Herts.
It’s hard to watch Ant-Man without wondering what the film would have been like with the original director Edgar Wright at the helm.
Peyton Reed took over as director when Wright and Marvel fell out over artistic differences. While Wright and Joe Cornish still receive credits for ‘story by’ and ‘Screenplay by’ there are scenes in Ant-Man that stick out as pure Edgar Wright style.
Ant-Man, a story about an ex-con being given a shot at redemption by becoming a superhero to help save the world, is definitely different from your usual Marvel film, it’s essentially a heist movie.
Paul Rudd plays Scott Lang, fresh out of prison he wants to leave behind his life of crime and be a part of his young daughter’s life. (A daughter he’s stopped from seeing by his ex-wife who demands he get an apartment, a job and pay child support before he can see his daughter – yeah, because that’s more important that a father who shows up for his daughters birthday – why must ex-wives always be so unreasonable in Hollywood?)
Dr. Hank Pym played by Michael Douglas, a man who created amazing shrinking technology and was the original Ant-Man recruits Scott as he needs to help to stop Pym’s former protégé Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) from selling the shrinking technology, Cross is your typical modern baddie in that his aim is to weaponise the technology. It’s up to Ant-Man and his ant buddies to steal the technology before it’s too late.
There is a third character in this story and that’s Hope Van Dyne, Hank Pym’s daughter, played by Evangeline Lilly. Estranged from her father since her mother died she helped vote her father out of his own company in favour of Darren Cross but has since realised his motives are corrupt, so she wants to help her father bring Cross down.
Hope is probably the most frustrating part of Ant-Man, her desire to wear the shrinking suit is understandable as she says and proves throughout the film, she is the best person to do it. Hope is smart, capable, skilled in martial arts, has a working knowledge of the facility they intend to infiltrate, can communicate with ants and had Cross’s trust. She should be wearing the suit but her father refuses to even consider it.
While it’s made clear the reasoning behind this is all down to Scott being dispensable, Pym cares too much to put his daughter in so much danger but frankly that just didn’t sit well with me at all. Storytelling like this perpetuates the myth that women are too precious to do dangerous jobs. You just know that had Hank had a son, he wouldn’t have thought twice about allowing him to wear the suit and save the day. What Hank is really saying is that he doesn’t believe his daughter can do it.
Michael Douglas is great as Dr Hank Pym, an old man with a twinkle in his eye, his comedic timing is spot on and he brings an edge of seriousness to an otherwise laughable premise. It’s worth noting at this point that while the special effects in Ant-Man are excellent, it’s nothng compared to how they managed to make Douglass look much younger in an early scene in the film. It makes Jeff Bridges as CLU in Tron Legacy look like Pac Man!
Paul Rudd is Paul Rudd. Scott Lang is an everyday guy given the opportunity to be a hero. He’s not like the other superheroes we’ve seen in recent years, he’s not arrogant or selfish, he’s not rich, he has no superpowers, he’s not full of bravado, he’s your typical everyday guy. Perhaps it’s this normality that people have taken to and that’s totally understandable.
Rudd spends his time cracking wise but the jokes don’t land. I sat with a cinema audience that only laughed twice during the film, myself included. The action scenes are great but I personally felt that it took too long for badguy Cross and Ant-Man’s paths to cross and therefore have an antagonist for Ant-Man to go up against.
This doesn’t happen until the end of the film and by that point I was wishing for the film to just end. That said, it was refreshing to see a final battle play out in a little girls bedroom rather than the usual destruction of a city à la Avengers.
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting much, the trailers didn’t thrill me and since Edgar Wright left the production, my interest waned. Then the film was released and everyone was saying how great the film was so I went in hoping for another unexpected gem like Guardians of the Galaxy. That’s not what happened. I left the film feeling underwhelmed.
Ant-Man is not a bad film, it’s just not a great film. It’s a light, fun flick but doesn’t have the emotional punch of other Marvel films. That said it has smashed at the box office so there are clealry some big fans of the film and you might be one of them. So, go see Ant-man and see if you agree or disagree with me. Let me know your thoughts!
Oh and don’t forget to stay past the credits 😉
To book tickets for Ant-Man at the Garden City Cinema click here