THE ROAD TO ‘INFINITY WAR’ – ‘Ant-Man’

This may go down as one of the MCU's most underrated films!

Review by J.T. Johnson

ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: June 29, 2015
DIRECTOR: Peyton Reed
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Russell Carpenter
WRITERS: Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish, Adam McKay, Paul Rudd
MUSIC: Christophe Beck

“Ant-Man” may very well go down as the most underrated film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This is not entirely without reason as the film is an appropriately smaller entry into the franchise. It has very few references to the larger MCU outside of a memorable fight at the Avengers headquarters and it tries to do its own thing for the most part.

In the movie, it is revealed that Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) used to work for S.H.I.E.L.D. While there, he developed a suit that uses his own Pym particles to shrink someone down to the size of an ant, allowing for the person to have an advantage on the battlefield. Hank eventually leaves S.H.I.E.L.D. to form his own company with a young scientist named Darren Cross (Corey Stoll).

In the present day, Hank has been forced out of his company by Cross and is developing his own particle after hearing rumors about Hank’s work in the past. With Hank’s daughter Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) on the inside gathering information, Hank recruits a thief named Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) to put on the Ant-Man suit and infiltrate Cross’ business in order to stop his research.

The great thing about Ant-Man is that it knows what it is. Like other films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the film decides to adopt the traits of another genre outside the superhero realm. In this case, “Ant-Man” is a funny yet action-packed heist film that features a crew of people trying to steal from a single source.

Not only does Scott have the help of Hank and Hope, he also has his own crew led by the hilarious Luis (Michael Pena). Hearing Luis talk about how he got the info for a job is poetry and I would love to hear him explain the entire history of the MCU with his unique voice. Of course, we didn’t come here to see Luis.

When Marvel cast Rudd as Scott Lang, I knew that he would be a perfect fit. Rudd knows how to play comedy exceptionally well but he also has all the qualities of the perfect leading man. This movie allows Rudd to play to both of these strengths and I honestly cannot think of anyone who would have been better for this role.

Lilly is also great as Hope, playing her as a bit of a cold character that some in the audience may not like at first. Eventually, Lilly shows us why Hope is shut off from her father and revealing her more vulnerable side along with her confident strength. Lilly also has great chemistry Rudd and I can’t wait to see them again when they officially team up in “Ant-Man and the Wasp”.

I’ve always been impressed with Marvel’s ability to cast classic actors in these films as well. We had Jeff Bridges in “Iron Man”, Tommy Lee Jones as Colonel Philip in “Captain America: The First Avenger” and the absolutely fantastic Robert Redford in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”. For “Ant-Man”, they cast Douglas as Hank Pym and like Rudd, I now can’t see anyone better suited for the role.

While the movie has all the elements of a good heist film, it also has plenty of fun action sequences as the filmmakers inventively use Lang’s miniature size to convey the bigger world around him. What may seem like an epic battle between Ant-Man and Yellow Jacket is merely a spark to the normal size humans who witness their exploits. I have to say that the action featured here is quite unique for an MCU film.

Revisiting this title, I was surprised by how much I still enjoyed the movie and it holds up very well. It has characters that I care about, good action and it is ultimately a great heist film to boot. “Ant-Man” may not be remembered as much as the bigger MCU titles such as “The Avengers” or “Captain America: Civil War”, but that doesn’t mean that it skimps on the excitement!

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