Directed by: Peyton Reed
Written by: Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish, Adam McKay, Paul Rudd
Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Bobby Cannavale, Michael Peña, Judy Greer, Tip "TI" Harris, Wood Harris, Jordi Molla, Michael Douglas
Runtime: 115 min
Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) brings Ant-Man to the big screen for the first time, to end Phase Two. Armed with the extraordinary ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, master thief Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) must embrace his inner-hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), protect the secret behind his sensational Ant-Man suit from a new generation of towering threats.
Against seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Pym and Lang must plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.
Casting and characters. These are two things that Marvel never does wrong. Every character in the MCU is somehow perfectly portrayed by their respective actor or actress. I rarely (not to say never) look at a performance from this franchise and think "maybe he/she was not the right person for this role." Once again, they nailed the casting and the character's scripts.
Paul Rudd is terrific as Scott Lang / Ant-Man. He is astonishingly charismatic and puts a lot of his humorous expressions into his display. Lang is a highly captivating character with a compelling past which causes him to struggle in the present. People judge him by something he did and not by why he did it. He keeps fighting that unfair discrimination back, but injustice seems to prevail. The writers do a wonderful job of making the audience care for him without it feeling forced. Phenomenal work on creating a new superhero with a great backstory and heartfelt motivations.
Two other exceptional castings are Evangeline Lilly as Hope and Michael Douglas as Dr. Hank Pym. Both share an emotional attachment, and they are connected to the most interesting and touching subplot of the entire film. For a generic origin movie, having such a remarkable yet predictable side-story is a plus since it helps the film's flow by providing more enjoyable scenes.
Hope is an outstanding character, and Lilly grants her this badass personality which I honestly love. She can get herself deep into her role and seamlessly impersonate Hope's feelings, delivering some really emotional moments. Michael Douglas is a legend, and he proves that he still has a lot to give. Excellent portrayal of Hank and fabulous chemistry with Lilly and Rudd. Michael Peña is also very funny as Luis, and he is the main source of the trademark Marvel comedy, spread throughout the movie.
The action is undeniably unique. Watching what would be a regular action sequence in a small-scale is awkwardly exciting, fun and extremely entertaining. I love how Peyton Reed approaches these sequences as well as Ant-Man's training. The CGI is top-notch, and the fights choreography is pretty good. I have to praise the editing of these set pieces because it definitely improves them by transmitting to the spectator a comprehensive view of what is happening.
I don't really have what I usually call flaws. I mean, this is an origin film, so I was not expecting a masterpiece. I never do with this sort of movies. The goal of these films is to introduce a new superhero to the MCU and do it right. Do it in a way that the audience can understand where the protagonist is coming from, what are his motivations and naturally create an interesting and entertaining story that can supplement that character development. As far as origin movies go, this is yet another success for Marvel.
The only thing I might complain about is the villain. Corey Stoll is fine but his character, Darren Cross, is just another guy who wants to make money out of potentially dangerous equipment. There is an intriguing part of his past that he shares with Hank and I wish they could have explored that a bit more. It would have surely given a whole other layer to an otherwise cliche villain.
Besides that, everything is at least good. The screenplay is good. It is nothing mind-blowing or ground-breaking, it is just a generic superhero origin story, but Reed makes good use of it. The comedy is good. It delivers some chuckles, but it does not leave me laughing like crazy. Even the action, while it is undoubtedly unparalleled, is a hair above good. It is not absolutely awesome like Winter Soldier or Civil War. It is a good origin film, that is it.
Ant-Man is another successful MCU's superhero origin movie. Once again, the casting is perfect. I can't see anyone else portraying Scott Lang besides the hilarious Paul Rudd. I feel the same way with Evangeline Lilly as Hope. Both deliver some excellent performances, as well as Michael Douglas. The original action set pieces reduced to an ant-scale, are super fun and exciting. It is a good origin film, and that is it. No mind-blowing story, no incredible villain, no jaw-dropping action, no epic score. It is just good, and I had the right amount of fun watching it. Primary mission accomplished: fantastic casting for a significantly developed superhero and his future sidekick.