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Out of 10: 'Ant Man'

An MCU Review (Continuity)

By Conor HuftonPublished 6 years ago 4 min read
One criticism; You need to add the price of magnifying glass onto however much you paid for the film. Unwatchable without one. 

A film focusing on a previously fairly obscure superhero. Anyone who can shrink and then punch through a paper bag should not be obscure. Shakespeare said that. Hey, why am I obscure then?

Specifically, Ant Man tells of ex-convict Scott Lang’s alliance with a scientist to prevent dangerous new technology. A simple plot that allows for complication. Scott’s past causes the MCU to show anti heroism from a fresh angle, without lazily resorting to making their hero walk around being unnecessarily condescending. Fun fact: Tony Stark’s original superhero name was "Walking around being unnecessarily condescending man" but then they realised his armoured suits were more central to his power. That’s not true. Don’t google it. Don’t google the Shakespeare quote, either. Scott is brilliantly characterised, Paul Rudd provides an ordinarily relatable sense of charm to a genius well intentioned thief motivated by his daughter. Scott’s skills are subtly conveyed in casual discussions or brief scenes. For example, one scene involves him successfully performing a complex break in through wit and a agility, the display of his skills never overpower other parts of his personality. An intriguing detail about Ant Man is he’s a legacy character. Scott is the second person to adopt the mantle, with mentor Hank Pym being the first.

His discovery of the super suit was pretty importANT. Oh dear.

Paul Rudd can now change size. The power to prevent aging wasn't enough, apparently.

Pym is played by Michael Douglas as a reserved and troubled genius. It was a wise choice not to venture into forcefully eccentric territory, which seems the obvious choice since he can control ants.

Evangeline Lily plays Pym’s daughter Hope and Scott’s more combat focused mentor with a "microwavable ice queen" personality. I may trademark that phrase until I find out someone else thought of it first and thus get in legal trouble.

She'll be the Wasp of the sequel.

She'll make a great wasp. Atleast I HOPE. Oh.

Michael Peña efficiently plays a surprisingly capable chatterbox ally with a hidden sense of culture. Corey Stoll’s Yellow Jacket is… currently in the dry cleaners—waaay. Stoll played a composed falsely affable CEO with delusions of peace making through destruction and was able to adjust naturally to coldly sinister or boisterous on demand.

The Grey Jacket Himself

Darren Cross. The screenwriters may have spelt 'Lex Luthor' wrong.

The humour is clever, unique, and never arbitrary. A brilliant edited scene shows one of the most textured and innovative expositional tools I’ve ever seen in a film. Then again, I’ve only seen 2 films: this and the sequel. The sequel's not out but I’ll see it when it is.

Though a comedy, there are dramatic scenes, and their impact is seriously felt. The third act has a genuinely high sense of conflict, an impressive feat since even the best Marvel films could have the tagline "There are no stakes." I’m trying to think of a Marvel film where someone’s shown eating a steak to make a bad pun but I can’t. See if you can think of one yourself and use these ingredients to make your own joke. Good joke wasn’t it? You’re welcome. The fantasy is unspeakably immersive. Uniquely hypnotising shrinking effects give a vivid sense of Ant Man’s powers, with the danger and absurdity of the idea addressed simultaneously. The smart writing and pacing of Scott’s skill growth create some genuine plausibility. A recurring sequence involving attempts to move sugar cubes is made sincerely tense. I used to hate people controlling ants to make me hot drinks but now I expect it—and cafes that don't do it get slated on TripAdvisor. There’s an extremely layered and entertaining heist thriller sequence. The film only immediately revels in the superhero genre quite late into its runtime. This isn’t a negative. They’ve had a chance to explore other styles effectively and when the superhero fight scene arrives it does not disappoint. It’s exciting inventive detailed and funny even with the looming danger.

An earlier fight scene involving Falcon is playful and an appropriate length. Even though it's incidental to the story, Falcon serves more purpose than he normally does.

(Seriously, Falcon's wings just make him impractical. Are they there so people won't notice he's basically Iron Man, if you made him less practical and took any discernible personality?)

Ant Man is well plotted, acted, & perfectly balances genre. It also brings freshness to the MCU while maintaining a lot of familiarity.

For me it’s a solid 9 out of 10. One of my favourite MCU films as well as a favourite superhero film overall. It falls short due to some unnecessary and sudden romantic flavouring. Also, a similarly powered villain leads to enjoyable scenes so is less problematic than usual. It’s still fatigued enough to slightly hinder the film, though. Another minor complaint—and one I feel filthy even mentioning since I’ve got no relationship with the Ant Man comics—is more established ties with the source material could have been made. I’m never comfortable with film adaptations inventing new characters. There are so many malleable characters in the comics books already it feels unnecessary. Giving names or subdued characteristics of existing Marvel characters to Scott’s criminal friends would have served as a subtle reminder that this a film routed in the comic book universe, and feels like a missed opportunity.

I’ve actually written 3 more paragraphs, but they’re at subatomic font size.


About the Creator

Conor Hufton

getting better at this writing thing (aka slowly learning the alphabet, learnt how to use pen). Spanning critical writing, fantasy, parody and sci-fi (ruining all of them in the process).

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