Marvel Studios’ worst release since ‘The Incredible Hulk’ (08) and presumably directly suffering from the project’s departure of the person who founded it, Edgar Wright, shortly before production began in earnest. Wright had been working on an Ant-Man screenplay for many, many years (along with his writing partner Joe Cornish) and had finally been given the go-ahead from Marvel but, citing creative differences, he left the project (although given they both worked on the screenplay for ‘Tintin‘ I’m not wholly convinced this was a bad thing). Taking his place to alter and finish the script were Adam McKay (‘Step Brothers’ 08, ‘The Other Guys’ 10) and Paul Rudd, the latter of whom plays the titular superhero himself, and it is the story that really lets the film down. Peyton Reed (‘Yes Man’ 08, ‘The Break-Up’ 06) also filled Wright’s shoes as director.
We can predict exactly what will happen, how it will happen, when it will happen, and what all of the details concerned will be. Even for a superhero film this is remarkably two dimensional, and again for the genre it’s also really difficult to suspend our disbelief enough to get behind it fully. Rudd plays ex-con Scott Lang who is just out of jail and determined to help support his young daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson), whose stepfather is a cop of course, but finds getting a normal job with his record next to impossible. Opting to do another heist with his mates, played by Michael Peña, T.I. and David Dastmalchian (who seems to have gone to great lengths to disguise his identity as the Joker’s patsy in ‘The Dark Knight’ 08), he enters into the world of tech genius Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and his daughter Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly – almost unrecognisable with a new bobbed jet black hair style); all of which sees him don a suit which can shrink a human to the size of an ant and back again at will, but he must use it to steal a competitor’s prototype before they can use it for nefarious purpose (there’s a very dubious ownership element regarding the powers, much like the screenplay, which is part of the movie’s problem).
As such, it is pretty much the same story as ‘Iron Man’ (08) with two pillars of the same company fighting each other for control of the same invention, leading to the inevitable punch-up at the end. An attempt at comedy has been made but it’s all far too simple and usually revolves around the same constantly regurgitated joke. The effects and the acting are fine but it just gets really, really dull, although it should certainly keep a younger audience fully entertained. There is both a mid-credits scene and a post credits one as well, the latter apparently taken from the next Captain America film no less (‘Ant-Man’ marks the end of ‘Phase Two’ in Marvel’s cinematic universe – ‘Captain America : Civil War’ will start ‘Phase Three’ sometime next year). Also with Corey Stoll as the villain (also bald like in Iron Man, coincidence?) as well as Judy Greer and Bobby Cannavale in support.