When you look at what Ant-Man can do in Marvel’s comic universe, you end up asking yourself “how can this be transferred to the big screen?” He can shrink and talk to ants, and other than his intelligence, that’s about all he can do. It was this question that initially drew me to Ant-Man. How would they portray talking to ants? And how would everything look when he starts to change his size?
Ant-Man was originally to be directed by Edgar Wright but he ended up leaving the project in 2014. Eventually settling on Peyton Reed, Ant-Man would be released on July 17, 2015. When Wright started working on Ant-Man in 2006 it was unclear which Ant-Man they would be using as the main character and it wasn’t until the announcement of Paul Rudd as Scott Lang and Micheal Douglas as Hank Pym that we found out we would be getting two Ant-Men.
Ant-Man has a great cast and stars Evangeline Lilly as Hope van Dyne, the daughter of Micheal Douglas’ Hank Pym, Corey Stoll as Darren Cross, Hank Pym’s mentee who is obsessed with Ant-Man’s shrinking technology, and Michael Peña as Luis, a friend of Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang. Ant-Man is very much a film about fathers and their daughters. And with that as a recurring theme, it’s easy to see that Hank and Scott’s motivation throughout the film is to protect and connect with their respective daughters.
One of the things I wondered if they would touch on would be Hank Pym’s anger issues. Within the comics, Hank infamously hit his wife within Avengers #213 out of anger. This action would go on to be a major characterization for him ever since that first instance. They did find ways to subtly hint at anger management thought the film by showing him break a guy’s nose and getting frustrated and yelling at Hope.
Speaking of characterizations of film characters, Luis is meant to be a comedic character but Micheal Peña is able to make this character a lovable goof. My favorite part of this character portrayal is the way he tells Scott stories on where he gets his information.
Ant-Man, while being a heist film at its heart, is a story about fathers loving their daughters. Scott is known throughout the film as a burglar who is trying to redeem himself in the eyes of his daughter, Cassie. And Hank wants to use him to protect Hope in the course of trying to stop Darren Cross selling his shrinking tech. With Scott Lang just getting out of jail, his biggest goal is to be able to see his daughter and, through this, we get this insight into what really matters to him. His love for his family is what inevitably drives him to get a job at Baskin Robbins and that lovely line about them always finding out.
The comedy in Ant-Man is also spot on. From the gags of enlarging items that have no right to be enlarged or an iPhone mistaking what’s being said, there are plenty of laughs. Paul Rudd has been known for the longest time as a comedic actor, so his casting as Scott Lang made everyone ask how far into the comedy they would lean and if he could handle the action of the film. He goes and surprises everyone, putting in a performance that makes you believe he is more than just a comedic actor. He is able to sell the jokes and make them work and it’s easy for you to totally believe him as being Scott Lang.
When you look at Ant-Man, you can see the technical achievement it really is. The way the shrinking tech is portrayed shows how much thought and care that was put into this film. To add a whole other unit to film, the shrinking sequences and the effects that are used really put into perspective the lengths that Marvel Studios will go to not only to put out a good film but to show the respect that their properties deserve.
Ant-Man is a movie that you really wouldn’t expect to be a decent one, but it turns out to be better than you would expect. Showing the family issues that the Pyms and Langs have but to also go with the jokes that they can get to hit, it’s a good film that often gets lost in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I do recommend this film for people of all ages and not just for comic book or MCU fans. It’s a great pick for anyone that enjoys a good laugh.