Disco Dan’s Review of “Ant-Man”
I did an informal poll around my office here in Scottsdale, Arizona. I asked everyone I could whether or not they were planning on seeing Ant-Man, and when that viewing might take place. With one or two exceptions, every single person said that they were going to wait for it to hit video. This obviously is an unscientific poll, yet it shows how uninteresting the concept of a superhero that shrinks is to everyone.
For those who aren’t aware of the history of the film’s production, it was originally going to be directed by Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead, Scott Pilgrim Vs The World), but he left because the studio had some of their writers rewrite his script that made Ant-Man part of the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe. Wright stated that these modifications completely changed the characters that he had been developing, to the point that they were almost unrecognizable. Most film nerds consider the day that this happened to be a very dark day; Wright is a top-tier filmmaker and had been working on this script since 2003. This episode will likely be remembered many years to come as a terrible example of studio meddling.
Despite this production travesty, I tried to go into this screening with a fairly open mind: the trailers looked promising and I love the cast. I can safely say that I wasn’t disappointed, and was even surprised at how much fun I had.
I read one review saying that this was Marvel’s funniest film. While I will never go that far (I mean, have you SEEN Guardians of the Galaxy?), I will say that this movie is VERY funny. Paul Rudd and particularly Michael Pena give such fantastic comedic performances. Pena steals every scene he is in. There also is a bit involving one of the Avengers that is SO funny.
The third act is so much fun. I can’t emphasize enough how much fun the set pieces at the end are. Director Peyton Reed put his heart into this movie, and it really shows.
Although Edgar Wright departed the project, it still has his fingerprints all over it. It has a lot of snappy dialogue and clever plot devices.
It’s also a refreshingly small film, both in the size of the superhero and in the size of its cast. Overall I was disappointed in Avengers: Age of Ultron, mostly because of the amount of events and characters stuffed into a two and half hour movie. This film really is the opposite: its ensemble is very small and it is a welcome respite from the bloated nature of Marvel’s previous undertaking.
However, it’s also easy to notice how if this film were directed by Wright, it wouldn’t have the problems that it has.
The first act is pretty clunky. It doesn’t flow like it could and sends mixed signals.
The 3D was pretty bad, so I would really recommend against seeing it in that format. The illusion breaks in a lot of the flying scenes because the 3D is done so poorly. Although, it should be noted that I despise 3D normally, so take what I say about it with a grain of salt.
A lot of folks will try to compare this to Guardians of the Galaxy, and I suppose they should. The films have a lot of similarities: both are off-beat action comedies starring Marvel superheroes. However, they are different in one significant way. Both films are big gambles, yet where Guardians puts everything on the table Ant-Man feels much more cautious. You can feel that Kevin Feige didn’t have faith in Wright’s vision, and the controlling nature of the studio can be felt throughout the movie.
Ant Man was a lot of fun. Although the first act was a bit clunky, the fun ride of that the second and third act provide make up for its weaknesses. Currently, it’s my favorite movie of the summer outside of Mad Max: Fury Road.