One of the other biggest and most anticipated films of the year, Ant-Man. Marvel’s Phase Two ends with this film, and it’s quite a promising ending and beginning to Phase Three. Perhaps some backstory on this character and property will help out.
Biophysicist and Security Operations Center expert Dr. Henry ‘Hank’ Pym decided to become a superhero after discovering a chemical substance (Pym Particles) that would allow the user to alter his size. Armed with a helmet that could control ants, Pym would shrink down to the size of an insect to become the mystery-solving Ant-Man. He soon shared his discovery with his girlfriend/wife Janet van Dyne, his crime-fighting partner who soon became the Wasp.
Scott Lang was a thief who became Ant-Man after stealing the Ant-Man suit to save his daughter Cassandra “Cassie” Lang from a heart condition. Reforming from his life of crime, Lang soon took on a full-time career as Ant-Man with the encouragement of Hank Pym. This film is about Hank (Michael Douglas) recruiting Scott (Paul Rudd) for a heist. As was said in the trailer, “I need you to break into a place and steal some stuff.”
So in the very beginning, we’re treated to a scene taking place in 1989, where they’re constructing The Triskelion (that huge S.H.I.E.L.D./Hydra building Cap took down at the end of The Winter Soldier). A younger Hank Pym/Michael Douglas is done being the Ant-Man working for S.H.I.E.L.D. – special effects aging make up looks pretty damn good in this scene, although they can’t change how old his voice is. In this scene, we see an older Howard Stark and an older Peggy Carter. Something seems to have happened to his wife, and Pym’s scientific breakthroughs are being used inappropriately, he feels, so he’s done.
Back in present day, Scott Lang is going through a goodbye ritual in prison – a fight. But it’s all in good fun.
He did some hard time for basically being Robin Hood, stealing from the rich corporation and giving to the poor. Once he’s released, the wheels are set in motion for him to eventually be linked up with Hank. And Hank Pym, who was kicked out of Pym Technologies by his daughter Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) in favor of Hank’s used-to-be-protege Darren Cross (Corey Stoll), comes back to that same building years later to hear Cross declare that he has made a major breakthrough that will allow him to create a tiny soldier the size of an insect. He calls it “Yellowjacket” and of course, Hank only sees this as being bad. So he knows he’s gotta get that suit away from Cross, and he gets Hope to be on his side, but the only way he can do it, is with Scott’s help.
Pym has Scott basically tricked into robbing his place to get the Ant-Man suit, leaving Scott disappointed and confused as to why this weird biker outfit was the only thing left behind in that giant safe. But he tries it on anyway, and the fun begins. This is really where the training portion of the film begins, that big section of any heist film where they lay out the plan and have to go over every single detail to make sure everything is absolutely air tight. And I loved it.
Hope doesn’t like Scott, particularly because she feels she could put on the suit and get this done all by herself, but her father ain’t having it. And maybe for good, definitely personal, reason. This doesn’t help Hank and Hope’s relationship, which is already a bit broken to begin with. The film does deal with the father-daughter dynamic, with both Hank and Scott, and I feel that the emotional journey Hope and Hank go on is much more satisfying. Lilly is able to deliver a pretty effective scene when information is revealed about what happened to her mother/Hank’s late wife. Performances are fine, Darren Cross is any typical villain from a Marvel movie, Stoll is fine in the role, nothing real special but he’s serviceable. He just doesn’t have the material to really do something great, because he is an amazing actor. But for a lot of people, the movie will be stolen by the comedy trio, or specifically, one member of that three stooges clan. Michael Pena.
Very much played up for laughs, his character is by far the most cartoonish out of anyone in the film, playing a character named Louise. He has two of the most zany, comedic sequences of any Marvel movie, with him retelling a story to Scott, explaining information he has gotten. I can’t and won’t say any more than that, but how it’s executed is pretty awesome. T.I. is T.I., you can still hear his accent and he’s decent, mostly making some cartoon-y faces.
But probably one of the best things about the movie is the special effects – specifically when it comes to the size-decreasing. Visually, it is unlike anything Marvel has done, and it’s also unlike anything else that has been done for quite some time, it’s incredibly unique and creative how these sequences are shot and filmed. Any scene with Scott shrinking and growing is automatically dope, just for that effect alone. With a super power like that, what’s also great are the action sequences that can come from that. There is one scene, where Scott accidentally stumbles onto an Avengers facility and runs into one of them…I won’t say who. If you’ve been paying attention to rumors, you know who it is. They meet, get into a fight, and it is spectacular.
Scott is shrinking, knocking people out, growing back to size tossing dudes over his shoulder – if only the camera was pulled back in some shots, this would have been astonishing. It’s also fun seeing Scott learn about all of the different kinds of ants and how he can use them to his advantage at any given moment, by using a device to “communicate” with them.
Peyton Reed is the director on this one, as much as we all wanted Edgar Wright. Maybe you were privy to all of that behind-the-scenes madness that went on with him exiting the project. Why would he have been a better choice to direct Ant-Man?
Watch the trailer for Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and you’ll know why immediately.
But ultimately, the film Reed made was quite good. For the most part he handled everything well, and there is a sequence in the 3rd act that is like nothing Marvel has ever done. It’s something akin to Interstellar, quite poetic and beautiful.
So in the first post-credits scene, Hank shows Hope the Wasp outfit and they pretty much confirm that we will be seeing hat soon. And in the 2nd post credit scene, Cap and Falcon find Bucky. This I found to be very interesting, because it suggests that in Civil War, Cap will have already found Bucky when the movie begins. So will he be protecting him during the movie, as there are rumors going around about maybe Black Panther or Corssbones trying to hunt him down. Also, in this film, Ant-Man had a fight against Falcon, who was guarding the Avengers facility. This was by far the best scene Falcon has ever had in any of these Marvel movies.