I’ve been looking forward to the release of this film for a long, long time! I finally had the privilege of watching this miraculous gem so here’s my attempt at reviewing it. When I’m describing its awesomeness I’ll try and leave out my many speechless emotions and you can take my word that there will be a lot of jaw dropping parts or else there’ll just be blank spaces where you’d be required to hook up to my brain and feel the thrill for yourself. Unfortunately, this technology doesn’t exist so please note that my review will lack the rightful and indescribable credit this movie deserves. This happened when I tried to review Age of Ultron, it was such a good film that established words in the dictionary didn’t always do it justice- and the same thing has happened here!
In short, Ant-Man follows Scott Lang as he becomes the second incarnation of the shrinking legend. With a shameful past of crime on his back, he must prove to the world (more so, his family) that his actions are redeemable. With a chaotic threat on the brink of unleashing, he and his mentors, Hank Pym & daughter, Hope must pull off a heist beyond belief with the help of Scott’s crooked friends and his army of diverse ant accomplices! Prepare for a never-before-seen style of Marvel story telling as the miniature might of the Ant-Man finally comes to life.
What I thought of the story:
Being Marvel’s first attempt at a heist film, I was excited and curious as to how a superhero would be portrayed within this particular genre. It’s different in a really awesome way! The movie does well at provoking pretty much every emotion; thrill, amazement, sadness and humor- lots of lovely humor. There’s no part that falls short of anything and every scene feels important and relevant but most importantly, entertaining. The first act of the film sets the scene for Scott’s world of loss and regret as well as setting up what troubles are to come later on in the film. The way Scott obtains the shrinking suit is great and unexpected. I was itching to see him suit up and once he finally did I looked at the screen and thought, “heck yeah, here we go!”
The second and final act of the film show the Ant-Man in full throttle. There is a juicy amount of shrinking action scenes slotted in between of everything. I got excited every time there was conflict or every time he was simply stood wearing the suit. The film has an underlining sense of self worth. How bad can you mess up and still be blessed with a second chance? There is more than one character that yearns for redemption and acceptance as the whole film tackles numerous family issues within both the Lang and Pym households. It’s not all about Ant-Man saving the world.
There is a lot of scenes that reassure us that this is screwed in tightly within the MCU and it never feels forced or for the sake of it. It effectively establishes Hank and Pym Industries and effortlessly assures us that all of this newly seen lore has been around since the first Iron-Man film and before which is important. The story does an amazing job at expanding the universe and brings something new to the table which is welcomed with open arms. It shows that a shrinking and growing hero is perfectly plausible within a film series that features out of this world gods and creatures, super soldiers and… Hulks. As a whole, the story is fun, fresh and ridiculous in a GOOD way! In such a good way, I can’t stress that enough. Its unique style helps the film stand on its own perfectly. All I can say is- be ready to have your minds blown.
What I thought of the characters:
This movie has a surprising abundance of diverse characters. There’s much more in between the leading protagonist and the antagonist. Each character shines with their own rays of personal lights powered by their unique performances. Scott Lang of course is the hero in this tale. Yes, yes, “hero” equals good guy going above and beyond the call of duty for the sake of the greater good right? Hmm, debatable at first! This guy was a crook dammit! Why on Earth should we vouch for him? Well, because he’s trying his hardest to make things right. He’s been the bad guy but now he’s seen the error of his ways. I’d take that over most other heroes. An anti-hero is always much more interesting for me because it’s not as common and provokes alternate questions like, “can this person be trusted?”, “do they actually deserve this second chance?” It turns out Scott is more of a clumsy Robin Hood in ways but always puts his family first, rather than a ‘bad’ guy. He’s down to Earth which is good and always has something funny to say or something snark to insert at the end of an important sentence. It sets the character up to look well and truly hopeless which makes you want him to succeed even more. We can all relate to him, we’ve all done stupid things in our lives, we all want an opportunity to redeem ourselves and this is Scott’s exact motifs which makes him the perfect Ant-Man.
The second character to mention is Hank Pym, the original ant master, the man that made everything possible. Unfortunately, the birth of his unique inventions had repercussions and protecting them from the world led to bigger and more personal repercussions. You can feel the heavy regret he bares and the awkward shame there is between him and characters he was once close with. He doesn’t come across as a mad scientist, instead he’s portrayed as a clever and dominant mastermind who watches over everybody else. I was interested to see how Scott and Hank would team up seeing as though one is a thief and the other is a well-respected genius (who is always dressed incredibly well may I add!) It’s always fun seeing them both on screen at the same time annoying one another.
Hanks daughter, Hope has some serious daddy issues! She is strong and aggressive. I’m happy every time new main female roles are added to the roster to help even out the gender playing field a little at a time. Seeing her and her fathers awkward relationship makes you feel for both of them. They both need a big hug! She’s never given the opportunity to prove herself to her father which is evident in the film because of his stubbornness. She mistakes his protectiveness for selfishness. This is something I love about this film- there is this personal aspect between characters that is amazingly fleshed out. You could say that this is something you don’t see heavily in the other films. I ‘hope’ to see more of her in the future because she’s certainly a worthy character.
Scott’s dodgy accomplices, Luis, Kurt and Dave are a hilarious trio. Each offer a useful aspect to their line of work which makes them different to one another. I smiled every time one of them showed up on screen, let alone all three at the same time. It shows that you don’t need a team of super-powered heroes to get the job done, even criminals can do their part! They come as a comedy package deal, bouncing off of one another. If they return for future films, they better all be accounted for!
Lastly, Darren Cross, the YellowJacket maniac! He isn’t as fleshed out as the others but that’s okay because there’s plenty of exposition which provides us with everything we need to know. It’s clear from the beginning that there’s this sort of unnerving insanity bubbling away in his mind. All though he looks like he keeps a level head you can tell it’d just take the tiniest issue (no pun intended) to make him explode with rage. The way he comes across, it’s sort of possessive and desperate because he tries too hard to please his mentor, Hank. He strives for victory which deludes and eradicates any morals he once had. He’s set on one thing which sends him down a deep villainous hole that gets dug deeper with every wrong choice. In a way, you have to feel sorry for him a little because all he wants is success but then you remember, “oh yeah, he’s evil!” Overall, YellowJacket is a favorable villain with a cool piece of tech for sure!
What I thought of the visuals:
I’ve been typing away at this review, dying to get to the visuals section! My word, the visuals are on another level. This film was a treat in 3D. It was so immersive being shrunk down with Scott and it felt believable which is… unbelievable! You here transported to a completely different world where the backdrop would be insignificant in any other scene and the foreground would be something minuscule to the human eye which would be transformed into something detailed up close. Huge action scenes set in such a small space didn’t feel tiny once you were brought to their level. There’d be a lot of slow motion to let you sit back and enjoy the exploding mess of debris that flew around the screen. The use of Macro Photography is outstanding and down right genius. They could have simply made everything on a computer screen but they went the extra mile and I’m so glad they did. I can’t wait to see this method carried on in any future film he has the privilege of featuring in.
The colors and lighting played a pretty big part in the story telling. Scott’s world was made to be cold and bleak with a lot of dark and dull tones. This would be emphasized by comparing it with Cross and Pym Industries- the big white pure facility, full of opportunity and riches. It is the eye opening clash of two very different environments that the film jumps back and forth from. Because the film takes matters closer to home it is much more gritty- kind of like in Daredevil. Scott’s initial environment was definitely not fit for someone soon to be labelled a superhero and we see the metamorphosis he undergoes as he proves himself and things get more colorful and happier.
The Ants are a real charm and get my seal of approval in the believable-ness department! Face it, it’s going to be a huge challenge to make ants such a much larger and more important aspect of a film. Seeing Scott fight along side them and fly on the back of their thorax (new word I learnt from the film) didn’t feel silly- it was still crazy don’t get me wrong, but it wasn’t silly, it was amazing. The ant scenes were one of my favorite parts of the film! As for the shrinking suits (Pym’s and Cross’) it was clear there was this feeling of good verses evil, yin and yang. The dominant colors of Ant-Man being red, and YellowJackets being, well… yellow obviously. It reminded me of Tron- rivals sporting alternate vibrant colors. It worked really well. I loved all of the fighting scenes where both suits could be seen in all of their glory. Two people in crazy shrinking clothes, it’s mad but it’s awesome!
My final thoughts:
I’m super happy that this film was a success, I had no doubts! To be fair, I’m a huge Marvel fan so I would have gave this film a thumbs up even if it just consisted of an ant spinning around in a circle for two hours- rest assured, that’s not the case, I have legitimate reasons as to why this film is amazing which I’ve stated! As a whole, Ant-Man is a superhero game changer, offering something we haven’t seen within the MCU microcosm or the superhero genre as a whole. All of the movies do well at resonating their unique feel and style and it’s safe to say that this film is incredibly unique and stylish. It could be argued that the shrinking sequences are just as much a work of art as they are movie scenes.
Ant-Man relentlessly shows that it means business on a technological standpoint which perfectly closes Phase 2 and excites me for Phase 3 and it’s possibilities. I’ve always had trouble deciding who my favorite hero is because they’re all fantastic but I’ve finally decided on a winner, and that winner is Ant-Man! Congratulations to everyone who made this film happen, I’m so grateful it exists!
P.S- I’ve gained a great amount of respect for anything smaller than a pin. In particular, ants!