Starring: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas
Directed by: Peyton Reed
It’s one of the best Marvel movies that there has been. It’s funny, witty, adventurous, and it has a ton of heart.
Ant-Man is a movie that’s tonally on par with where Marvel was at in phase 1. It’s an origin story with heart and an introduction to a group of characters that isn’t surrounded by a story that’s overarching and trying too hard to be something it’s not. Ant-man is a comedic heist movie that’s tied in to the Marvel cinematic universe. Oddly enough, it’s only when the film has its moments with the Marvel universe that it really falters. It’s an excellent story written by Edgar Wright and a great script that’s written by Adam McKay and Paul Rudd.
In Ant-Man, Rudd stars as Scott Lang. He’s a career criminal with a past that’s both heroic and tragic. He’s just been released from San Quinton Penitentiary in California and he’s trying to get his life back together so he can take care of his daughter Cassie and be the hero that she already thinks he is. Lang tries to get jobs, but it’s hard for an ex-con to find employment. Eventually he finds his way back to doing what he knows even if he’s not doing what he had wanted to do with his second chance. When a heist leads him to famous scientist Hank Pymm, Scott gets paired up with the scientist to save the world from one of Pymm’s inventions that’s fallen into the hands of Pymm’s demented one-time protégé, Darren Cross. Together with Pymm’s daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly), the three set out to stop Cross from changing the fabric of the universe for the worse.
Ant-Man is a great movie because of Paul Rudd. It’s true that he probably is tuned back a bit for the role, but the truth is that he’s still brilliant in it. He’s charming and funny and he’s completely believable as the hero throughout. In the beginning you’re very aware that you’re watching Paul Rudd. Towards the middle of the film you completely forget that you’re watching a primarily comedic actor in a somewhat serious role. He does it flawlessly and he’s completely believable as Scott Lang. The other casting choices were great too. Evangeline Lilly is in what’s probably her coolest role as Hope Van Dyne. Michael Douglas is the perfect grouchy scientist in Hank Pymm and Corey Stoll is perfect as Darren Cross/Yellow Jacket. Even the bit parts are executed perfectly by their respective actors.
If you’re familiar with the behind the scenes of Ant-Man, then you know that Edgar Wright was originally planned to direct the movie and he in fact, wrote the story. You can tell that he wrote the story of what’s going on. Everything with heart in the story, clearly comes from Edgar Wright. That said, it was probably a good call to not have Wright direct the movie. This would have turned out completely different tonally than it did if he would have helmed the whole thing instead of his replacement Peyton Reed. And honestly, as much as Rudd is a key reason to watch the film, the tone is perfect for the movie and it wouldn’t be the same if it were any different.
For a movie that had as many production problems as Ant-Man, there’s nothing that really deters enjoyment. It’s one of the best Marvel movies that there has been. It’s funny, witty, adventurous, and it has a ton of heart.
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