Review by Justin Waldman for Mr. Will Wong
Last May when Edgar Wright announced he no longer would be directing the hotly-anticipated adaptation of Ant-Man, a cloud of uncertainty clouded the Project… despite production having not yet begun. However Peyton Reed manages to do what most people thought was impossible, and that is making this Film another successful entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As far as first installments go, Ant-Man is right up there with what started the Marvel Feature phenomenon, Iron Man.
The Film starts off with a flashback to a much younger Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) as he walks into a board meeting where the hottest scientific breakthrough in history is being discussed, the Pym Particle. The Pym Particle is a minute portion of matter that allows the separation between atoms to be exploited, something that is highly volatile and powers the Ant-Man costume. Fast-forward to modern day, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is just released from prison and his long time friend and partner in crime Luis (Michael Pena) is there to pick him up. Scott believes he can reintegrate himself back into society, however with a criminal record that seems to prove futile. Continuing his search for a job, Scott caves-in and decides to break into Hank’s house with his crew of Luis, Kurt (David Dastmalchain) and Dave (T.I) as they manage to successfully break into Hank’s house and steal some stuff. On the other end of the Story though, we see Hank and his daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly) distanced from one another as she now works for his former Protégée (who kicked him out of his own company), Darren Cross (Corey Stoll). Cross is a dangerous man who is willing to stop at nothing to recreate the Pym Particle and embrace the Yellowjacket suit. The question that lingers though is Scott’s ability to control the Ant-Man suit and stop Cross from endangering the planet.
When talking about Superhero Films, it is hard not to separate them from their Predecessors and how they stand up to one another. In terms of the Marvel Universe, there have been five staple Films that started different Franchises, Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Incredible Hulk and Guardians of The Galaxy. Everyone ranks these Films in different orders, but its safe to say that Iron Man is usually considered a great starting block to the Universe. Stepping into a new Character yet again, Peyton Reed’s direction along with Edgar Wright, Adam McKay, Joe Cornish and Paul Rudd’s Script, Ant-Man rates right in the top ranks of some of the best starting points to a Marvel Franchise. Not only is the Film solid in terms of Storytelling and establishing Characters, it is also quite humorous and filled with little tidbits of Marvel goodness – such as Stoll’s remark about Tales To Astonish.
The performances in Ant-Man are really what make the Film stand-out from the now overcrowded field of Superhero Films. Paul Rudd manages to play the lovable Hero that manages to grow (pardon the pun) progressively on the Audience and we become invested in Scott. Michael Douglas who plays the stubborn and uncompromising Hank Pym is also great in the role that pays homage to the Ant-Man legacy as he was the original Ant-Man and the one that initially created Ultron – this does very ambiguously get explained in the Film.
Evangeline Lilly (without spoiling too much) plays the daughter of Hank Pym and right-hand woman to Darren Cross does an excellent job and perfecting her complex role. Lastly, Corey Stoll who has proven his range of acting abilities since season one of House of Cards manages to channel his inner demons as he plays the villainous Darren Cross perfectly. The entire Cast succeeds and delivers their absolute best to create such a synchronized, highly enjoyable Film. Ant-Man may be a small Hero, but will make a big impact at the Box Office.
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Canada release Ant-Man in theatres Friday, July 17, 2015.