A while back, I heard that Marvel Studios was considering making a film that I wanted to see. It was supposed to be about the Avenger member Black Panther. I was very excited about that because he was one of my favorite characters when I read comic books. Then the announcement came that they were actually going to make Ant-Man. “Lame” I thought. I had read a few Ant-Man comics, but didn’t care too much for them, and wondered who would want to see a movie about that? Then I saw the trailer for the film and thought that it didn’t look too bad and decided to give it a look.
So, this afternoon, Diane, Chrissy and I headed to the theater to see what it was all about and I am here to say that I very much liked this film.
The film opens in 1989 with Dr. Hank Pym (the original Ant-Man) resigning from S.H.I.E.L.D. because they were apparently attempting to replicate his shrinking technology Pym tells the S.H.I.E.L.D. leaders that he will hide what he knows until the day he dies and walks out.
In the present day, Pym’s former protégé, Darren Cross,along with Pym’s estranged daughter, Hope, have forced Pym out of control of his company. Working on what he has learned from Pym, Cross is getting very close to perfecting the shrinking technology. Cross has built a shrinking suit that he calls the Yellowjacket, and continues to test methods to make it work.
Meanwhile, a former thief, Scott Lang, is being released from prison. He moves in with his former cell mate Luis and tries to secure gainful employment (no easy task for an ex convict) so he can begin to help support his daughter and be a part of her life. When Scott goes to his daughter’s birthday party, he is told that he may not have visitation rights until he has an apartment, a job, and begins providing support. Dejected at not finding work and not begin able to see his daughter decides to perform a burglary that is suggested by Luis.
Scott, Luis, along with two others go to a house, disable the alarms, and crack a safe. There isn’t much in the safe except what Scott thinks is an old motorcycle suit, which he takes back to Luis’ apartment. Later, he tries on the suit and to his surprise, when he presses one of the buttons, he is reduced to the size of an insect which takes him on a journey that terrifies him. All the while, Scott hears Pym’s voice as he goes on his adventure. Scott decides to break into the house again to return the suit. Upon exiting the house, Scott is arrested.
Posing as his lawyer, Pym smuggles the suit into Scott’s cell, with the help of some ants, and helps Scott escape from Jail.
Scott and Pym meet face to face where Scott learns that he has been manipulated into becoming Ant-Man to help Pym stop Cross from completing development of the Yellowjacket suit by stealing it. Scott reluctantly agrees and is trained how to fight and control ants by Hope.
Scott’s first task is to go to Avengers’ headquarters and steal a small device. But what should have been an easy task gets a little harder when Sam Wilson (Falcon) enters the picture. Scott and Sam fight, but Scott finally gets the upper hand when he shrinks down and gets into the workings of the Falcon’s wings.
We learn next that the reason for Hope’s estrangement is that Pym has never told her the complete truth about her mother’s, Janet’s death. Finally, Pym tells him how her mother and he were on a mission to stop a nuclear missile from striking the United States. Janet (Wasp) shrunk herself to get inside the workings of the missile, but to do this she had to enter the Subatomic Quantum Realm, so after she managed to stop the weapon, she continued to shrink and was lost to this world. Pym also warns Scott that the same could happen to him if he improperly makes adjustments to the Ant-Man suit.
So, Cross finally perfects the Yellowjacket suit, and invites Pym to it’s unveiling. At the same time, Scott, Luis, and their crew break into the building with the intention of stealing the Yellowjacket suit, but Cross is one step ahead and traps Scott and tells everyone present that he intends to sell HYDRA both the Ant-Man and Yellowjacket suits. Scott manages to break free though, and dispatches most of the HYDRA agents, but one gets away with a vial of material used in the shrinking suit technology. Meanwhile, Cross escapes, explosives planted in the building detonate and is vaporized.
Cross puts on the Yellowjacket suit, he and Scott fight but it is cut short when Scott is once again arrested. When a call comes over the radio that there is trouble at the home where Scott’s daughter lives. When he arrives, he finds that Cross has taken his daughter hostage. Scott and Cross fight again, but this time, Scott enters the Quantum Realm, get’s inside of the Yellowjacket suit, and destroys it and cross. As Scott continues to shrink, he realizes that he can manipulate the workings of the suit and manages to return to the normal realm
Later, Scott is told that Sam Wilson is looking for him.
In the first of two Easter Eggs, Pym shows Hope a Wasp suit that will be hers when completed. In the second scene, Sam Wilson and Steve Rogers are holding Bucky Barnes in custody.
At the end of the credits, it is announced that “Ant-Man Will Return.”
I thought the main characters for the most part were well written. Hank Pym was awesome as played by Michael Douglas who looks to be in great shape and ready for a return in the sequel. His performance alone was worth the price of admission. The same can also be said for Paul Rudd as Scott/Ant-Man. He was someone that I found myself caring about and felt invested in seeing him be successful. I didn’t like the Cross character, but we aren’t supposed to, because he is the bad guy. His part was understated somewhat, and also underdeveloped and I didn’t get the feeling that I knew exactly why i didn’t like him, beyond the fact that he was the bad guy. One area that Marvel has been catching a lot of heat on is the handling of their female characters, or lack of handling, as in the case of this film. I didn’t feel any sympathy at all for Hope or her plight. She was a very one dimensional character and the highpoint of her part in the plot was in teaching Scott how to fight. I think that Marvel has to do a better job with their female roles, or they are going to lose the market to comic book fans.
One of the best aspects of Ant-Man was the incorporation of humor throughout the movie. It was always appropriate to the plot and worked well, adding to the story. And what a story. While we get an origin/reboot of the Ant-Man character, we also get a comedic heist kind of film where everything goes wrong, despite the best efforts of the crooks, who are really nice guys who are just a little bad. The plot was very engaging for the most part, but I did get the feeling at times that the exposition of the film was just a bit draggy, which turned around as soon as Scott donned the Ant-Man suit.
Also impressive were the action sequences in the film. In some of the Marvel films, I have thought that the action was too fast, and often filmed too close to get the full effect of the fight scenes. That was not the case here. I don’t feel like I have to go and see the movie again to get a better look at the action, which I appreciate.
One of my favorite parts of the film was the scenery that was used from San Francisco! Those were some great shots and I wish they had put more of those to use in the film.
Overall, I would have to say that Ant-Man isn’t a great film when comparing to the scope of other Marvel films such as Avengers, but it is a solid piece of entertainment that was fun to watch. It was mostly well acted, well directed, beautifully filmed and edited. Well worth the price of a matinee admission. It’s just a good popcorn movie.
Well, there it is…