Coming out a few months after the colossal blockbuster Avengers: Age Of Ultron, we all knew that Ant-Man wouldn’t be getting the easiest ride. With many behind the scenes issues such as the departure of Edgar Wright (who has been developing the movie with Marvel for around a decade) and the re-writes of the script to a delayed start in shooting, things were definitely not easy for the movie. Luckily, Marvel manages to pull off another fun and exciting film out of its rather grand hat. Though not as in-your-face as the other MCU film of this year, Ant-Man defines itself and makes its mark on this cinematic universe with great form and a new great hero.
We begin by meeting Hank Pym, the first Ant-Man. Up to 1989, he was a member of S.H.I.E.L.D. and we get to see his links to the Marvel Cinematic Universe rather early. We then go to 2015 where we meet Scott Lang, just as he is being released from prison. A professional thief, Scott re-joins with his friend Luis. After originally going straight, Scott is convinced to take one more job to secure enough financial backing so he can see his daughter Cassie again. Breaking into the safe of the mark which Luis got a tip about, Scott Lang finds only a suspicious looking outfit there. Taking the outfit with him, Scott then wears the suit and discovers the power that the suit holds. Eventually, he comes face to face with Hank Pym, who asks for his help with a mission and to become the new Ant-Man. Hank wants to use Scott’s skills and knows he wants to redeem himself for his past. Scott agrees to help as Hank states it will help him to get back to his daughter and be seen as the hero that she already thinks he is. The training then comes next, as Hank and his daughter Hope trains Scott. Hope, has been estranged from her father for some time, but is willing to do anything to stop her boss Darren from perfecting the Yellowjacket and selling it on.
Why does Hank Pym need help? Well, his own creation, the “Pym Particle” is almost perfected by his former protégé Darren Cross. Darren has managed to create the Yellowjacket, a suit which would be used for war. Sending soldiers into battlefields, where they can shrink their size and go anywhere undetected. Hank is worried this technology could go into the wrong hands (wait till you find out who the buyer, won’t take too long). So a plan is made, with Scott taking the role of Ant-Man and infiltrating the company building to destroy all the data and the Yellowjacket suit itself. Scott gets help from Luis and his associates to bring the heist to life. But, as you may guess, Ant-Man and Yellowjacket do come face to face in some intense and at times humorous fight scenes. Though Scott is already dealing with a potentially world threatening mission, he is also being hunted by Paxton, an officer who is engaged to Scott’s ex-wife Maggie and he is determined to arrest him for his crimes and for breaking out of prison. Also, look out for one of the Avengers coming face to face with Ant-Man when one of his missions is to obtain a part from an old Stark Industries building (now The Avengers facility).
With the film being smaller (no joke intended) and with a more minimal cast than a few previous Marvel Cinematic Universe films, Ant-Man perfectly creates a distinctly different film and makes great use of one of Marvel’s older characters and gives it life. The casting of Paul Rudd as Scott Lang is brilliant, he is a very believable figure and you will be eagerly awaiting his return in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War. Michael Douglas provides a great Hank Pym, it is nice to see the character is more established and having an older Hank helps more with the change of him to Scott as the holder of the Ant-Man costume. Evangeline Lilly surprises many with a great performance and shows she is no damsel in distress as Hope (daughter to Hank and Janet Van Dyne, the former Wasp) and can kick arse when needed. I like Corey Stoll as a villain, but he unfortunately doesn’t really get the development to become a legendary villain and falls short, though definitely not the worst villain the MCU has offered so far. The rest of the cast work well, Bobby Cannavale as Paxton is a great character who clearly is not against Scott, but is very by the book. Judy Greer gets minimal time as Maggie, though is seen to be very caring and also wants to help her former husband. Also, that Avenger is given a rather fun, if short, time to impress and build on his already established popularity. Michael Pena gets the funniest lines and his humour is just perfect, his stories about how he obtains information as well are just brilliant. But the winning performance in the supporting cast has to be Abby Ryder Fortson as Scott’s daughter Cassie as she gets some of the best lines and is just adorable throughout the movie.
Worth every penny of admission, Ant-Man provides the perfect follow-up to The Avengers and piles on the excitement for Phase Three of the MCU. Two things, be prepared to see Ant-Man (and maybe another insect related character) in the future and make sure you watch both scenes that come once the film has finished (yes, an after-credits scene as well as mid-credits is used once again!). Great film, great laughs, great cast and an overall enjoyable movie. Bring on Phase Three!
Final Rating: 8.5/10
Written by Jonjo Cosgrove