At first, I wasn’t sure what to think about the ant-sized superhero that was coming soon to theaters. I couldn’t help but think, “Wait, so we have a Batman and a Spiderman. Now … Ant-man?” So, I went into the theater with low expectations; high expectations could disappoint. But, surprisingly, I actually liked the movie enough to give time to writing up a good critique on it, because good movies deserve good critiques. And I won’t be as brutal as I was in the God’s Not Dead post, so don’t worry. That one was … yeah, a lot of fun on my part.
Here is a short summary for the first half of Ant-man. I’ll try to tell it in a way that won’t spoil it if you have not yet seen the movie. For those of you who have seen it, this will serve as a reminder before I get on with the critique.
Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is a thief and a criminal with an ex-wife and a daughter who he loves, but is not allowed to see. Trying to forget his past, he becomes an employer at Baskin Robbins so that he can start a normal life and eventually return to his daughter. But, since Baskin Robbins always finds out, he gets fired and finds himself involved in a theft again with a few criminal comrades. The old man’s out for a week and Scott has the job of breaking into the house and getting the money. Turns out this job is a lot harder than expected and after breaking through a titanium safe, he is confronted not with money or gold, but a suit.
Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) has designed and invented this Ant–man suit himself. A suit with superpower technology that can shrink the person who wears it. However, he had resigned from S.H.I.E.L.D. when he found out that they attempted to steal his idea for his human-shrinking technology and Pym hides the suit from not only them, but from the world, afraid that it was too dangerous. But later, he finds that the man who took his place, Darren Cross (Corey Stoll), has designed his own shrinking suit, the Yellow Jacket, from looking at Pym’s own plans. It is Pym’s house that Scott took the suit from; Pym wanted Scott to find and take it; he has a plan.
Pym rescues Scott from jail by having his ants carry the suit to him. Once Scott is the size of an ant, the rest of the ants take him to Pym’s home. There, Pym asks Scott to be the Ant–man, to shrink, control the ants to form an army, and to enter his company and take the plans for the Yellow Jacket before Cross perfects it. This turns out to be more complicated and easier said than done. Scott is, at first, shocked at the idea, but undergoes training with Hope, Pym’s daughter, learns how to control ants with his mind, and becomes the hero that his daughter Cassie always knew him to be.
Here it is in a nutshell. “So it’s two dudes, Scott and Pym, both with daughter issues, who are left to save the world from power-hungry psychos.” – Peter Travers at Rolling Stone
The storyline was great and was told very well. The characters also had a lot of depth, which is an important thing, though I think they could have developed Cross (the villain) more, as he wasn’t interesting and didn’t have much background. As far as story movement and intrigue goes, things were happening to keep the audience hooked, and if you had to leave for a few minutes at any part of the movie, you’d come back having missed a good part. Quite efficient.
Also, there wasn’t a whole lot of action or violence. If you compare this movie to Avengers: Age of Ultron, it is very watered down (even though that was what it was marked PG-13 for). So in my opinion, it’s fine for little kids to see, though people do have different standards for that sort of thing.
The characters were a great part of the movie. The characters’ past, even if it has to do with a character who died before the time of the movie, has a big effect in this plot. If Scott pushes a certain button on his suit, he will become so small he will be sucked into a subatomic quantum realm and will forever disappear. Hope and Pym didn’t have a good father/daughter relationship, but Pym finally tells Hope the real reason why he hid the suit from the world: Because her mother disappeared into the subatomic quantum realm from her own choice, wearing a similar suit called the Wasp. When Hope realizes that these certain things are not her father’s fault, the tension between the two loosens. At the end, while Scott is fighting Cross (who’s in the Yellow Jacket suit), he disappears into the subatomic quantum realm before his daughter’s eyes … but only temporarily. Talk about pushing suspense to the limit. Inception or Interstellar, anyone?
I’ll admit I can’t yet distinguish good acting from bad acting. I may do movie critiques, but they’re only based on my opinion; I’m not a movie expert. Other Ant-man viewers who are good at noticing the acting quality say that there were some scenes where the acting could have been done better.
Language. I kind of am used to the whole language problem now, but I still inwardly wince whenever I hear it on a movie or read it in a book. Thankfully, there wasn’t a lot. The movie was made with knowing that little kids would be watching it. I guess it does depend on the parents’ limits, but in general, it wasn’t too bad.
The comedy was sufficient, not as forced as I thought it would be, but the script wasn’t incredible. Some of the lines were sort of dumb, in a way. The Latino character, Luis, was stupid, but in a comical way.
Hope (Evangeline Lily) was an okay character. I actually liked her better as a lady who’s trying to be the ant than a non-existent Elf in the Tolkien universe (Tauriel from The Hobbit) but she’s definitely not my favorite in this particular movie. She gets better, but at first she had tried to convince her father that Scott is useless and that she should wear the suit instead.
When it comes to the character of Ant-man, I’m sort of divided. He was a good character and had enough background, but when it came to him being a superhero, he was only relying on someone else’s suit and technology to accomplish something that he didn’t necessarily want to accomplish. Not very hero-ish? I’ve read a review on imdb comparing him to Iron Man (which I have not yet seen) and how it’s just the suit that makes the hero. I don’t agree with that view, and a superhero in a suit isn’t a huge deal for me; I won’t let others’ views bother the way I see the movie overall. When it comes to Scott’s main desire, he just wants to see his daughter and to show her that he is her hero, which is actually a cool part of the movie. A good movie should involve not just constant action and violence, but also some character depth, emotion, and relationships. Ant-man fits into this category nicely.
Yes, this movie had two directors. No, they didn’t collaborate. Edgar Wright was picked to direct the Ant-man movie, and had been working on it for years, but he decided to leave when he heard that he had to make the movie continuous with everything else in the Marvel universe, past, present, and future. There were some other trust-lacking problems between him and Marvel that also caused him to leave, you can read more about it here: Edgar Wright and Marvel. The director who took Wright’s place was Peyton Reed, who revised the script that Wright had originally with the help of Rudd (actor for Ant-man) and Adam McKay (screenwriter). Yup, Reed is the guy who walked away from the job of directing Fantastic Four (and he probably had good reasons for doing so). Wait, that’s a different movie, where was I.
The music was by Christophe Beck, who also did Frozen. Surprise. For Ant-man, the music sounded like it could have been Brian Tyler, Alan Silvestri, or any other composer who regularly does scores for action movies. (Brian Tyler and Alan Silvestri also did other Avenger’s movies.)
Overall, I really liked Ant-man, even as a standalone movie. It’s a pretty cool heist film, light, fun, with Easter eggs (movie references) that made it clear that it’s all really happening in the Marvel universe. And it was well done, for the most part. I’m looking forward to seeing Ant-man’s role in the upcoming Marvel movies, such as the Civil War. I didn’t see too much potential in this one movie for a sequel, but hey, never know. If you haven’t seen the movie yet because it seemed stupid somehow, it’s really not bad! It was sophisticated, had reasonably used special fx and action, with great characters and a great story, a Marvel movie that should not be missed.
Right after having watched a movie about a human being whose life depends on ants, I got home to an ironically ant-covered counter. Since I will never look at an ant the same again, I decided to leave them alone.
Just for once.
References, if you want more information.
Have you seen Ant–man? What did you like/dislike about it? I’d love to hear others’ thoughts. Stay tuned for the next on BBC Sherlock and don’t forget to subscribe for posts every Tuesday!