I was so looking forward to this film for a long time, so you may find it strange that I’m late to the review. Well, I was really looking forward to it when Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) was attached and was writing and directing. Then it was announced that he’d left due to ‘creative differences’ with the studio and my heart sank. Wright is an amazing writer / director so what could these differences be? And what would the movie turn out like?
Joe Cornish (Attack The Block, Tintin) picked up the script along with Adam McKay (Step Brothers, Anchorman) with Paul Rudd (who wrote Role Models) adding something too. I’ve no great insight into what was left or changed from Wright’s script but he does still have a credit on the screenplay. In the director’s chair we got Peyton Reed which is an interesting choice given his last film was Yes Man back in 2008.
The story follows cat burglar Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) as he gets out of jail. He’s desperate to go on the straight and narrow and see his daughter again, the mother of whom is now with a police-man. Meanwhile scientist Hank Pym, an intense Michael Douglas, has been ousted from his company by Darren Cross, played by Corey Stoll (The Bourne Legacy, Non-Stop), for hiding his ant-suit discovery. So Stoll creates his own with the help initially of Pym’s estranged daughter Hope van Dyne (I think I missed why she has a different name from her father), played by Evangeline Lilly (Real Steel, The Hurt Locker), until she realises how dangerous things are and becomes a mole for her father.
Pym gives Lang the Ant-Man suit that means he can shrink in size yet increase in power, in order to steal the new suit Cross has created, and the fun begins.
The effects are absolutely brilliant, Rudd plays the character with his usual charm and self-effacing way, Douglas reminds us why he’s a damn fine actor and makes you wonder why he’s not in more stuff and Lilly is slightly underused but plays her part well and, you sense, is lined up for a larger role in the sequel.
The laughs aren’t as subtle as, say, the first Iron Man movie. They almost have a feel of the Pixar movies with the ‘funny’ characters along for the ride. In Ant-Man they take the form of Lang’s former cellmate Luis, played by Michael Pena (Fury, End of Watch), Kurt, played by David Dastmalchian (The Dark Knight, Prisoners) and Dave, played by T.I. (who I think is a singer? Was also in Entourage & Get Hard). They do have some very funny moments, the film definitely doesn’t take itself too seriously, which is, from what I hear, the reason Wright left. I understand he wanted it to be a little more serious than it has turned out.
The Avengers are mentioned a lot in this film, you’re in no doubt as to which universe you’re in. Falcon, played by Anthony Mackie, also makes an appearance along with some Avengers buildings and technology. For me though that raises more questions than perhaps it’s supposed to. Why would the Avengers let anyone create this sort of technology? Surely they’d be watching and know about it? Be all over it? Particularly as Cross wants, actually does, sell his suit to Hydra.
Perhaps I’m reading way more into that then I’m supposed to. Ant-Man is a fine film and we already have a sequel lined up in Ant-Man and the Wasp, set for 2018. I guess, for me, I just can’t help wondering what an Edgar Wright Ant-Man movie would have turned out like. We’ll never know, instead we wait till 2017 for his next movie, Baby Driver.