Ant-Man – Review

I’ve been a bit behind on my movie reviews. Looking over recent posts will definitely confirm this. I’ve actually seen a few movies that I just haven’t had to sit down to review. I’m hoping to turn the review train around with today’s review of Ant-Man.

Ant-Man is the latest movie from the consistently excellent Marvel Studios. Think about the comic book movies you’ve liked best over the past seven years. Chances are they’re mostly Marvel Studios movies. Yes, Warner had The Dark Knight and Fox gave us X-Men: Days of Future Past, but by and large, the great superhero movies are coming from Marvel Studios.

In the comic books, Ant-Man is founding member of the Avengers, but he didn’t make it into the first two Avengers movies. It’s safe to say that Ant-Man is definitely not a household name. Unlike Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man comics have not been met with much success over the past few years (decades?). That’s why I think it’s great that Marvel Studios has taken a B-list (C-list?) superhero and made an A-list movie out of him.

Spoilers follow after the poster. You’ve been warned.

ant-man poster

Paul Rudd plays the title character in Ant-Man. Like in the comics, Rudd’s character Scott Lang is not the first to wear the Ant-Man costume. The first Ant-Man was Hank Pym, the scientist who discovered Pym particles, which allow things to be shrunk or enlarged. In the comics, Pym is a straight-up scientist turned costume adventurer. In the movie, a major change is made to his background. Pym is still a scientist, but also a secret agent of SHIELD. He’s like a tiny Winter Soldier – sent out on secret missions, with people thinking he’s nothing more than an urban legend among the military community. In the footage of Pym in action, it looks like enemy troops are being knocked out by a speck of dust, if anything at all. I like this change. It makes Pym more bad ass, and less Tony Stark Lite. And the cameo by an aging Agent Carter was fantastic.

When I first saw trailer for Ant-Man, I was tricked into believing that after Lang became Ant-Man, Pym would betray him and fight him as Yellow Jacket. But that’s not the case at all. The main antagonist in the movie is Pym’s former assistant, now current CEO of Pym Tech, Dr. Cross. There’s very little subtlety about Cross. He’s a maniacal laugh away from being a cartoon villain. Betrays his mentor? Check. Slightly (mostly?) unhinged? Check. Sells weapons to the highest bidder, even if that bidder is main Marvel Studios baddie Hydra? Triple check. Still, while borderline cartoonish, Cross definitely comes across as menacing, and makes for an excellent villain. With all the changes made to Ant-Man and the Wasp from their comic book origins to their movie iterations, there was definitely a feeling that maybe not every hero was getting out of this movie alive. That definitely helped Cross come across as a more dangerous villain.

The one issue I had with the Ant-Man movie was that it seemed like they took the spine of the movie directly from the first Iron Man movie. In Iron Man, a trusted subordinate (Stane) at a tech company (Stark Enterprises) makes a power grab and ousts the company from the owner whom the company is named after (Tony Stark). Stane wants to sell the Iron Man technology to some bad dudes, as long as the price is right. After Tony Stark becomes Iron Man, Stane fights him in a suped-up evil Iron Man armor, the Iron Monger. In Ant-Man, a trusted subordinate (Dr. Cross) at a tech company (Pym Tech) makes a power grab and ousts the company from the owner whom the company was named after (Hank Pym). Cross wants to sell the Ant-Man technology to some bad dudes, as long as the price is right. After Pym gives Lang the Ant-Man costume, Dr. Cross fights him in a suped-up Ant-Man armor, the Yellowjacket. The overt similarities in the structure to these movies is what prevents me from ranking Ant-Man too high in my list of favorite Marvel Studios movies. It’s hard to list it ahead of the original Iron Man when it borrow so much of its spine from Iron Man.

Actually, I had two issues with Ant-Man. What was up with that Evangeline Lilly’s wig?

ant-man-movie-wasp evangeline lilly

Where Ant-Man really excels is its dialogue, its humor and its special effects. The movie is seriously funny, with witty banter going back and forth between Paul Rudd, and his criminals-with-hearts-of-gold associates. Michael Pena almost steals the movie out from under Paul Rudd as Luis, Scott Lang’s very detail oriented former cellmate. My favorite parts of the movie were when Luis was giving Scott the “details” of a plan. I wonder how much of this was Edgar Wright and how much of it was his replacement Peyton Reed. I’d love to see a breakdown of who contributed what.

The special effects were top notch. They harkened back to one my favorite movies growing up, Honey I Shrunk the Kids. I loved the thought that went into Ant-Man’s surroundings when he was small. The bathtub scene made me wish I was watching the movie in 3D.


I really have to commend Marvel for keeping a tight lid on Anthony Mackie’s appearance as the Falcon in the movie. I absolutely loved the scene of Ant-Man infiltrating the Avengers new headquarters and having to fight the Falcon. Speaking of the Falcon, can we talk about the final after-credits scene of Ant-Man, where we get the set-up for Captain America: Civil War? Captain America has found Bucky/Winter Soldier and enlists the Falcon to help him sneak him into the country. Falcon says he knows a guy who can help. Clearly, he’s talking about Ant-Man shrinking Winter Soldier down to sneak him in. This has me excited that Ant-Man isn’t off in his own little corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and will be playing a role in Captain America: Civil War. I really think that Ant-Man is going to take over the Spider-Man story from the Civil War comic book, and that it will be Ant-Man, not Spider-Man, who is the hero stuck in the middle between Captain America and Iron Man in Captain America: Civil War. With Hank Pym’s obvious distrust of anyone with the last name Stark, I can see Ant-Man having a break from Pym, and initially siding with Stark. Once he has a change of heart and is hunted down by Stark, I can see Wasp coming to his rescue, and bringing him to Captain America and Pym’s hideout. Am I right? We’ll just have to wait until Captain America: Civil War.

I see Scott Lang replacing Peter Parker in this pivotal scene in Civil War.

I see Scott Lang replacing Peter Parker in this pivotal scene in Civil War.

Finally, I loved the little things thrown in for comic book fans, like the nod to comic book creator Archie Goodwin in the hotel’s name. Whenever something like that appears in a superhero movie, I smile.

This review is in memory of Antney (2015-2015). RIP.