Sunday, July 19, 2015

Movie Review: Ant-Man

Miraculously, it looks we're wrapping up Phase 2 on a positive note. After the departure of Edgar Wright, a lot of us were ready to write this one off. But, despite studio interference and script rewrites, the movie delivered a solid, entertaining experience. It was a fun, humorous superhero heist movie.

The movie wasn't perfect by a long stretch. First, it was the wrong movie. Even the filmmakers seemed to acknowledge that a Wasp movie would have made more sense, particularly given the back-story they went with. They redeem this as well as could be expected, short of changing the premise: Evangeline Lilly's Hope Van Dyne is a fantastic character, and the brief allusions and connections to her legacy are among the film's best moments. Rudd does a fine job as Lang, but his character is clearly the least interesting of the three leads.

In addition, the film could have used a bit more style. It plays like a comedy/adventure, and if there was ever an opportunity to deliver an Ocean's Eleven style heist movie, this was it. But it's hard to be too bothered by the missed opportunity when they delivered a solidly entertaining product.

I'm unsure whether to applaud or criticize the film's formula. It plays out almost beat-for-beat like the first Iron Man. Laziness or loving homage: it's all in the eye of the beholder.

Less ambiguous was the choice of Michael Douglass as an aged Hank Pym (and while we're on the subject, kudos to the effects team for delivering a near-perfect not-so-aged Pym in the opening scene). This certainly wasn't any version of Pym I know from the comics, but I thought the revision worked beautifully.

In the scheme of Phase 2, this was nowhere near as good as Guardians of the Galaxy or Winter Soldier, but I found it a more satisfying experience than The Dark World, Iron Man 3, or Age of Ultron. That's not to say there weren't elements of those movies that were superior to this, but - taken as a whole - I think this one works better.

This isn't the best of the summer, and it's not going to top fan's favorite Marvel movies lists, but as an installment in the series, it left me entertained and eager for more stories with these characters.