By now, you may have seen how both Ryan and Watson weighed in on spoiler-free reviews for Ant-Man. Well, they aren’t the only folks who work here, and they aren’t the only folks who have seen it. Tom lives in another state. Jenny wasn’t invited on their playdate to see the movie, possibly due to Ryan and Watson’s longstanding membership in the He-Man Woman Haterz Club.
However, this is Gabbing Geek, and not the All Ant-Man Report, so Tom and Jenny are sharing their thoughts on the movie in a single post. See it behind the cut. May be SPOILERS. You’ve been warned.
For the most part, I was pleasantly surprised by the movie. I wasn’t expecting much. I’m a big fan of Edgar Wright, and after seeing the barroom brawl in The World’s End, I was really psyched to see what he could do with Ant-Man. Then he left the project, some of the original cast went too, and what were we left with? Consequently, I went in with very low expectations.
After a slow start, Paul Rudd put on the suit and shrank for the first time. And the more he wore the suit and shrank, the more fun the movie got. There was some really inventive scenes here involving growing and shrinking. Here we have a Marvel Movie where the fate of the world really isn’t at stake. Well, arguably it was if Cross sold the suit to the men who came to buy it, but not really. But the movie used small stakes, befitting a hero who actually shrank to do his thing.
Not that the movie was perfect. Corey Stoll’s Cross is a very weak element. Marvel Films has struggled to find a really compelling villain that isn’t Loki, and no one is going to see that in Cross. I can’t help but wonder if Patrick Wilson, who was originally cast as Cross, could have done better, but the part seemed underwritten as it is. Villain casting may be the one field Fox’s X-Films are beating out Marvel Films. I didn’t even get the same sort of non-presense I felt off the Dark Elves in Thor: The Dark World. The movie also seemed to start slow.
But there was a lot to like. Michael Pena’s motormouth stole every scene he was in. There was a good cameo by the Falcon. Rudd made a decent hero, and the physical comedy of the movie worked very well. Plus, there was some highly inventive shrinking going on.
Due to the slow start and the meh villain, I’m giving this one seven out of ten crazy ants.
Major Spoilers ahead – you’ve been double warned at this point.
I’m serious – we’re totally spoiling some major stuff below.
Read at your own risk.
I know what some of you are already thinking; Jenny loves everything Marvel – she wouldn’t criticize it one way or another. And you’d be right if you were talking about me 5 years ago. But truth be told, going into this movie I had really low expectations (obviously hoping for the best, because I’m an optimist, not because I’m clueless) because Age of Ultron was such a let down to me. But man was I surprised!
- The heist element & storyline. Despite what some nay-sayers may lead you to believe, the plot of the movie worked. It’s a comic movie for crying out loud. I liked the story of Scott Lang as a washed up “burglar” looking to do better so that he could be part of his daughter’s life. The moments that lead up to Scott choosing to keep and proceed with this kind of lifestyle were humorous but truthful (it ain’t easy for an ex-con with a heart of gold.) Needless to say – the fact that we had a professional thief leading a group of grunts from one task to the next was believable. He didn’t have to be super smart – Hank Pym was the brains. All Scott had to do was execute, which he did. And I loved it. And – what’s better is that once we get into the action, it never stops. This movie is fast paced and action packed.
- The cast interaction & humor element. The movie was funny and clever! That’s hard to do, especially coming off the success of Guardians of the Galaxy because the bar has been raised since that movie. But Ant-Man pulled it off, and so did the cast. Paul Rudd was his adorable lovable self, and the interactions between him and Michael Pena totally worked on camera. Not to mention that the rest of the cast was able to keep in step when “funny” was needed as well as when “serious” was next on deck. I also appreciated how the ants were used as comedic relief, particularly the scene with them adding sugar cubes into the tea cup, it was subtle, but it worked.
- The Ant-Man suit & interaction with ants. This movie isn’t Ant-Man with out the suit or the ants, and I loved seeing the scenes with all of this combined. Ant-Man shrinking and growing – ants coming and going, it was great! We needed to see how everyone was going to work together, we wanted to see (even though the idea is absurd) how the ants could be an integral part to the success of the heist, and the silly-yet-necessary “ant introduction” montage helped us all realize just how much Scott Lang would need to rely on the ants vs. his own set of burglary skills.
- Acknowledging the loose ends. The movie did a very simple thing that I appreciated, and that’s acknowledge the loose ends of theMCU we all usually question in our heads, and hope we get an answer (but usually never do). The explanations may have been a simple one liner, but at least the script had the balls to tackle these issues, so that the audience wasn’t left questioning the following. They were all answered, and as a fan of the franchise as a whole, I appreciated the continuity:
- Why the Avengers are not here to help?
- Where the hell Janet Van Dyne?
- Why didn’t Hank Pam wear the suit himself?
- Why didn’t the Wasp appear to help Ant-Man?
- How is this going to tie in with Giant Man?
What Didn’t Work:
- Cross wasn’t villainy enough for me. Cross was made to be the central villain, but to me they didn’t give him enough of a back story of “evil” to warrant why he acted the way he did. They didn’t do a bad job of exposing him for a selfish prick, hungry for money, fame, and HUGE ego boost, but I was left wanting a little bit more from his character.
- Falcon Fight Scene. As much as it was cool to see Falcon, I thought the whole scene was a little unnecessary. It was really cool to see the new Avenger’s base, and it was also cool to see Falcon. But the fighting and flying, and searching through the grass seemed to drag on forever. I would have rather used that time to better explain why Cross was so…. well… cross.
And that about wraps it up for me! Hope you enjoyed my little overview. And truly – give the movie a chance. At the very least, it’s a really fun movie for the whole family. The kids will love it, and you’ll enjoy a lot of the humor and self contained storyline that makes for a fun summer flick.