It’s time for another addition of D&D Mixed Reviews. This time we’ll be talking about Marvel Studios next opus, Ant-Man. As per the shtick, myself (Derek) and Denis will be talking about the four categories; PLOT, PERFORMANCES, PRODUCTION AND OVERALL FILM QUALITY. We’ll then end the review a score of SEE IN THEATRES, WAIT FOR RENTAL OR PASS. But before that, here’s a rundown of the plot.
Picking up after the events of Age of Ultron, Ant-Man follows Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) a down and out thief whose released from jail. While trying to get a job, Lang is brought onto a score by his friend Luis (Michael Pena) to rob a house. However, instead of finding money they find a suit.
With his curiosity getting the better of him Lang puts the suit on and finds that it shrinks him to the size of an insect. It turns out that stealing the suit was part of a plan created by Professor Hank Pym, a scientist and former S.H.I.E.L.D agent. Pym recruits Lang to steal a new piece of tech from Pym’s protégé Darren Cross (Corey Stoll). Pym along with his daughter, Hope (Evangeline Lilly), must train Lang to control the suit and ants to break into Pym headquarters and steal the new Yellowjacket suit.
With a crew, and tech on his side, Lang must become the Ant-Man to stop Cross from selling his technology to the wrong people.
This might be the simplest plot to a Marvel Film yet, with no giant beams of light, or alien armies. That being said, the films plot plays fast and louse, meaning that some of the major scenes don’t quite have the punch that they need. This is most notable during some of the dramatic scene’s near the middle of the film between Hank and his daughter. The scene comes out of nowhere and kind of lands awkwardly in the middle of a training montage. This sense of clunky storytelling carries throughout the second half of the film. That being said, there are plenty of fun moments with Lang, like you’d hope from a Marvel Film.
I’ve heard people compare the film to Iron-man in how simple and straight forward the plot is, and I kinda agree with that. It’s a simple story with it’s own style and approach that does make it distinctive in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But much of the pacing just felt a bit off and most of the best parts of the movie were just found in small moments or sequences. The Pym Tech heist, and final battle were great sequences but much of the movies steam was let out before those sequences. Also the integration of plot lines were handled really well in the beginning with a scene at an early S.H.I.E.L.D. and fumbled when we stop by the Avengers Academy.
In brief Paul Rudd is great, everyone else is ok(ish). The rest of the cast play the roles you’d expect from a film that follows the Iron Man school of comic book film. Funny guy? Check. Mentor Figure? Check. Evil businesses man who takes over control of a company while it’s head is gone? Check. Despite this, Rudd manages to put a lot of fun into what is a unimpressive cast of characters. Additionally there were a two fun roles thrown in during the opening featuring a older Peggy Carter and Howard Stark. While the appearance of Hayley Atwell isn’t a surprise, the return of John Slattery made me super happy (I wanted him to start day drinking and hang out with hippies).
I agree with Derek entirely. This movie makes we wish Hayley Atwell was in every Marvel movie, but at least I’ll get Agent Carter. It’s nice that Paul Rudd was so well cast since he will most likely be the big transfer from this film. And uhhhh, ya. Honestly their isn’t much more to say. I guess a rapper played one of the heist crew members, so….. ya.
While the shots and effects were all impressive, the film lacked something all films need, tight editing. There were several points during the film where the flow of action was broken up awkwardly by some other shot or, in the case of the training montage, too much information. There are some nice action set pieces, solid dialogue and the film even manages to throw the typical romance angle on it’s ear a bit, but it all doesn’t connect together like you’d hope. Overall, the film probably could have used another edit.
I think the editing critique that Derek laid out might have something to do with Edgar Wright not directing. While the movie was solid production wise I can’t help but to think it would have been the next Guardians of the Galaxy if Edgar Wright was directing. I mean it worked damn well for James Gunn, why would another writer-director combo not kill again? But instead we got a decent film with a great lead actor but poor editing.
Never has the Marvel film tropes felt so tired then in Ant-Man. It flows, feels and talks like Iron Man but with the substitution of Robert Downey Jr. for Paul Rudd. While Rudd is the strongest part of this film, this formula is starting to feel old. With last years Guardians of the Galaxy coming out of left field and giving us a solid cast of new characters, Ant-Man feels like it had too many cooks in the kitchen for it’s own good, and leaned to hard on old ideas. Ant-Man isn’t terrible, it’s just not great and while it makes a serious looking film like Batman V. Superman look more interesting and fresh, this film is still worth seeing for comic fans. SEE IN THEATRES
Marvel has created a genius business model in this shared universe thing because right now I can say anything about the film and we both know your still gonna see it in the theatre. The question is, will it be a slog to get through? At times yes, the first half is tedious and boring but the two tail end sequences help make the movie a fun watch. I did like the character and I look forward to seeing where he goes, but if they decide to do a sequel they really have to fine tune their pacing and make a better whole package. And continue to bring back John Slattery, and Hayley Atwell. Please. SEE IN THEATERS… cause you know you will.
Ant-Man was produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studio Motion Pictures.