Neither game-changing nor mind-blowing, but at least it's a fun small portion
(WARNING: Minor spoilers in this review. If you mind, just skip to the bottom summary and avoid the meme after the rating.)
Finally, the original founding members of the Avengers (in the comics) are featured in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Directed by Peyton Reed whose best work was teen comedy Bring It On (2000), the story follows Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), an electronic engineering degree holder who took a wrong path in his life and became a thief in hopes of supporting his family. In his desperate attempt to get quick cash to reunite with his little daughter, he's got fixed into stealing the Ant-Man suit from Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), an ageing former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and the original Ant-Man who was secretly fighting in wars in the past and is now searching for a successor. Offered a chance for redemption in life, Scott accepts Hank's job to save the world as the new Ant-Man who can shrink himself, enlarge things and communicate with insects (not cockroaches, thankfully) by using Hank's inventions.
There were some uproar from the fans when it was announced that writer-director Edgar Wright (The World's End, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Hot Fuzz) has left this project, not to mention about the controversy of the script by him and Joe Cornish (Attack the Block) that was then re-written by Adam McKay (Sleeping with Other People, Get Hard) and the Ant-Man himself, Paul Rudd (They Came Together, I Love You, Man). Would we have a better film if Wright stayed and the script wasn't rewritten? Probably, but this isn't bad either, and it links very well to the MCU. In fact, despite the cheesy script and cliches, it's entertaining enough despite being quite a small scale production compared to all the other MCU films.
It's cool that Marvel isn't ignoring that Hank Pym was the first Ant-Man and we get to see flashbacks of Hank as Ant-Man in the past and also a brief scene of the Wasp as well. The character and relationship development are a bit rushed, no doubt, with the amount of events that the film has to cram up with, and therefore it sacrificed any sort of emotional engagement that they meant to have. The film is also partially a heist film, with the good guys execute a plan to steal the antagonist, Darren Cross' Yellowjacket (Corey Stoll), which most of us already know they'd fail as we can see Ant-Man fighting Yellowjacket in the trailers. We also get to see Ant-Man at the new base of the Avengers, trying to steal something and Falcon (Anthony Mackie) makes a cameo fighting the titular hero.
Perhaps the biggest disappointment is the villain, Darren Cross, who's so cliched and underdeveloped that it's almost like he's in the movie just to give the protagonist a bad guy to battle against. He's practically the same villain as the one in the first Iron Man film (2008). Darren Cross/ Obadiah Stane overtakes Hank Pym/Tony Stark's company and intends to steal the technology, make his own suit and sell it.
The performances of the actors are good, especially Michael Pena (Fury, American Hustle, End of Watch) as Luis for the effective comic relief in the film. The humour isn't hilarious but Paul Rudd does well as the more comedic and less commanding superhero, whose going to be a perfect fit to the Avengers now. The action sequences, although not as impressive or serious as Captain America: Winter Soldier (2014), are fun to watch. The CGI of the characters when in tiny form are not the most convincing but more than good enough. The insects are pretty cute too, although they're being used and sacrificed like animals without rights. The music by Christophe Beck also work very well with the action scenes. As a comic book movie and nothing more, Marvel have delivered again, and as a movie about shrinking characters, I think it had potential to fully surpass the 1989 Disney classic, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.
Did you know? In the comics back in the 60s, it was Hank Pym/Ant-Man who suggested the Marvel heroes to fight together against Loki and it was his wife Janet van Dyne/Wasp who came up with the name Avengers for the group while also staying as the leader for quite a long time (source: Wikipedia).
What I would've named the film: "Honey, I Used the Ants!"
To watch in 3D? Watched it in IMAX 3D. Although the depth is very noticeable, it wasn't thoroughly impactful for my viewing experience. Therefore, I would say it's not necessary to watch it in 3D.
Malaysia censorship: Watched it at a public screening and noticed a very obvious jump at the beginning and another one in a later scene. It might be the dialogues.
Second opinion: My girlfriend liked it as well and thought that it probably deserved higher scores on Rotten Tomatoes.
Verdict: Not within the top 5 best MCU films but still entertaining despite the smaller scale of everything, literally.
Rating: 3 / 5
Based on: "Ant-Man" Marvel comics by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber and Jack Kirby
Genre: Superhero, action comedy
Running Time: 117 minutes
Director: Peyton Reed
Screenwriter: Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish, Adam McKay, Paul Rudd
Cast: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll
Malaysia Release Date: 16 July 2015
Local Distributor: (no info)
Production: Marvel Studios
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