Review | Ant-Man

Review | Ant-Man

Ant-Man is about a suit that gives you the power to become as small as an..well ant! How does this film about one of Marvel’s least known heroes hold up?

Hank Pym, the creator of some incredible shrinking technology resigns from S.H.I.E.L.D. in 1989 after he finds out they are trying to recreate his invention. Pym states that the technology is too dangerous for anyone else to hold. He declares no one else shall get their hands on it as long as he lives.

Fast forward to the present day and Pym’s daughter Hope is working under Darren Cross, himself a protégée of Pym who is also trying to replicate the shrinking technology. Unfortunately his technology isn’t yet perfected but he is dangerously close and this concerns both Hank and Hope.

Whilst this is the main plotline, the film actually starts with Scott Lang, a bright intelligent man with a master’s degree in electronics but his life has turned south with a spell in prison for robbery.

Scott has a daughter from a previous marriage and he wants to be a good father to her obviously but his spell in prison means he can’t find a job, therefore he can’t afford the child maintenance payments.

Scott is staying with friends/criminals in an apartment, trying to get his life back together. His best friend Luis has a hot tip on a property that if burgled could solve all their monetary problems.

He’s adamantly refuses at first but once he runs out of options he soon changes his mind.

The robbery is a success but much to their dismay the huge safe they were tipped off about did not contain anything of value. Scott just finds what he believes to be an old motorcycle helmet and leathers.

Once back at the apartment, his curiosity becomes the better of him and he tries on the strange suit that he took as part of the robbery. The gloves contain a small button on each hand and Scott depresses one of the buttons and finds himself shrinking to the size of an ant! (Come on! What other comparison am I going to use!)

Just when Scott thinks that things can’t get any stranger, he hears the voice of Hank Pym coming through the suits communication set up. Hank let Scott steal the suit and with good reason.

I have to admit that for reason’s unknown I really couldn’t make my mind up about Ant-Man before release. Maybe this was due to the fact I knew so little about the character. Also the CGI work in the trailer just looked “off”.

The other major factor in my worriedness was the fact that this film was slated to be directed by Edgar Wright of ‘Shaun of the Dead’ and ‘Hot Fuzz’ fame. He had spent five years developing the project and even asked director Joss Whedon to keep Ant-Man out of the original Avengers line up from the smash hit film of 2012 as to not interfere with his story plans.

Then in May of 2014 Edgar and Marvel parted ways citing “creative differences”. Soon after Peyton Reed was bought on to direct the film and to be honest I wasn’t that impressed with his credentials.

The film opened to positive reviews and I thought maybe Marvel have waved their magic wand and created another great film.

Ant-Man is indeed another great notch on the Marvel’s post. Can this company do no wrong?

Paul Rudd is great as Scott and his comedic talents means that plays the cheeky rogue with ease. It’s hard to not like the guy and I challenge you to try.

It’s also worth noting at this point that the comedy levels for this film have been raised several points and this is Marvel’s funniest film to date. Don’t worry It’s still a brilliant superhero origin story. There are just more great comedic moments and this suits perfectly with the character Scott.

The bad guy of the piece is Darren Cross played by Corey Stoll. I’m familiar with Stoll only via his leading role on the vampire series, ‘The Strain’.

I liked ‘The Strain’ novels, but I find the television adaptation rather poor despite having a pretty good few opening episodes. Maybe Corey doesn’t have much to work with on that show but at least here in ‘Ant-Man’ he was better. For me, the memory of his work in ‘The Strain’ tarnished his performance.

On the opposite side of the acting spectrum was Michael Douglas who plays Dr. Hank Pym, the original ‘Ant-Man’. I never would have thought that Michael would play a role in a comic book movie but I’m glad he did, he’s simply a joy to watch.

Evangeline Lilly was also gave good performance as Hope but I really didn’t like her hair style for this film. Yeah it’s nit picky but it bugged me. (Bugged me! Ant-Man! Its funny, yes? Oh suit yourself!)

Finally, let us mention the special effects. In a word, they’re great and serve their purpose well. In fact since watching the film, I have since discovered there are scene elements which were 100% digital when I assumed there was at least some element of practical work involved. This proves how effective the visual effects are!

But just like in the trailers, for me, the CGI ant world still looks a little out of place from the rest of the film. It wasn’t too bad by the end as I had become used to it, you may not even notice it.

A massive well done must be given to Lola VFX for their work at the opening of the film. The story opens in the 1989 with Hank Pym visiting S.H.I.E.L.D. at their under construction Triskelion base to hand in his resignation.

Lola VFX worked on this scene to digitally de-age actor Michael Douglas and the effect is simply outstanding. I’ve seen this used with varying degrees of success with the likes of Benjamin Button or Tron: Legacy but this time it’s almost perfect.

Ant-Man is another great piece of entertainment from Marvel and is definitely worth making the trip out to the cinema for viewing. I’m glad I did despite my initial concerns which were soon laid to rest.

Also don’t forget to stay behind after the film ends for two teases.

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John Abbitt

About the author | John Abbitt

@UKFilmNerd | John loves the movies and he used to write for his own website, The Tydirium Hangar Bay, in the late 1990's. Whilst the web page idea became lost in the passages of time, John's love of film did not. Now he's back, writing for The Unheard Nerd.

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