By Sonny Etchell (Hertfordshire, UK)
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Ant-Man is a small-scale yet hugely fun, funny and satisfying addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Similar to 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man is a surprising and refreshing Marvel movie that intelligently blends comedy with action, while developing strong characters of which were satisfyingly portrayed by Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly and Michael Peña.

Paul Rudd plays Scott Lang, an expert thief trying to get on the mend in order to be with his daughter Cassie. But when he is recruited by Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) to be his successor as Ant-Man, he must conduct a heist in order save the world, but maybe not in the typical Marvel movie fashion you’d expect.

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Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas)

 

Ant-Man is refreshing in comparison to other Marvel movies due to its small scale, which it embraces by displaying expertly computer generated ant-perspective action sequences that take place in premises such as a bathtub and a toy train set. And even though stakes are high in this film, it doesn’t allow itself to fall to the tendency of tiresome city-destruction scenes that we see in a number of Marvel movies.

Let’s talk about those performances because after hearing the casting of Paul Rudd, an actor who has a successful career in comedy, I couldn’t help but feel slightly skeptical towards him in the role of Scott Lang/Ant-Man. However to my pleasant surprise, Paul Rudd nailed the role, making him even more of a likable actor than he already was. This movie was funny. Very funny. This is mostly due to Michael Peña’s performance. He’s hysterical throughout, and the fact that most of his stuff was improvised makes him even more appreciable. And let’s not forget about Michael Douglas whose fantastic performance made for a perfect Hank Pym. Evangeline Lilly was also great as his daughter Hope and their backstory along with the chemistry between them really added a level of depth to the movie that I think it would have suffered from without.

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Luis (Michael Peña)

 

A minor yet unfortunate flaw to the movie is its villain Darren Cross/Yellowjacket (Corey Stoll). His backstory was a bit weak and he felt unconvincing and nonthreatening as a villain. I say this is a minor problem because I’m sure it won’t bother the majority of people who watch Ant-Man. Luckily the upbeat, energetic action and humour completely outweighed any negatives in the film.

Ant-Man originally had Edgar Wright as its director before Peyton Reed took on the project. As a huge fan of Edgar’s work I can’t help but feel like he would have made a more witty, energetic and even better movie. He did however get writing credit which is nice to see. And you can see his direction greatly influenced scenes during Ant-Man. In moments the film had nice shots and cuts that I feel would have been more sustained throughout had Edgar stayed on. But Peyton Reed did a terrific job as far as taking on the project goes.

The fact that Marvel can take these more unknown characters such as Ant-Man and make movies this good just shows what they’re capable of. Ant-Man is a fun, well-acted standalone Marvel movie that successfully blends humour with small-scale action and despite a weak villain and the films potential regarding Edgar Wright, Marvel have introduced another hero to their universe that I can’t wait to see more of.

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