PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):
In 1989, scientist Hank Pym resigns from S.H.I.E.L.D. after discovering that they attempted to replicate his Ant-Man shrinking technology. Believing the technology is dangerous, Pym vows to hide it as long as he lives. In the present day, Pym’s estranged daughter, Hope van Dyne, and former protégé, Darren Cross, have forced him out of his own company. Cross is close to perfecting a shrinking suit of his own, the Yellowjacket, which horrifies Pym.
Upon his release from prison, well-meaning thief Scott Lang moves in with his old cellmate, Luis. Lang’s ex-wife, Maggie—engaged to policeman Paxton—agrees to let Lang see his daughter Cassie if he provides child support. Unable to hold a job due to his criminal record, Lang agrees to join Luis’ crew and commit a burglary for money. Lang breaks into a house and cracks its safe, but only finds what he believes to be an old motorcycle suit, which he takes home. After trying the suit on, Lang accidentally shrinks himself to the size of an insect. Terrified by the experience, he returns the suit to the house, but is arrested on the way out. Pym, the homeowner, visits Lang in jail and smuggles the suit into his cell to help him break out.
At his home, Pym, who manipulated Lang through Luis into stealing the suit as a test, wants Lang to become the new Ant-Man to steal the Yellowjacket from Cross. Van Dyne, who has been spying on Cross for Pym despite her strained relationship with her father, helps Pym train Lang to fight and to control ants. They send him to steal a device from the Avengers’ headquarters, where he briefly fights Sam Wilson. While van Dyne still shows anger towards Pym about her mother Janet’s death, he reveals that Janet, known as the Wasp, disappeared into a subatomic quantum realm to disable a Soviet nuclear missile. Pym warns Lang that he could suffer a similar fate if he overrides his suit’s safeguards.
Cross perfects the Yellowjacket and invites Pym to the unveiling ceremony. Lang, along with his crew and a swarm of flying ants, infiltrates the building during the event, sabotages the servers, and plants explosives. When he attempts to steal the Yellowjacket, he is trapped by Cross, who intends to sell both the Yellowjacket and Ant-Man suits to Hydra, led by Mitchell Carson. Lang breaks free and defeats most of the Hydra agents, though Carson is able to flee with a vial of Cross’ particles. Lang pursues Cross as he escapes, while the explosives detonate, vaporizing the building.
Cross dons the Yellowjacket and fights Lang before Lang is arrested by Paxton. His mind addled by the imperfect shrinking technology, Cross holds Cassie hostage to lure Lang into another fight; this time, Lang shrinks to subatomic size to penetrate Cross’ suit and sabotage it to shrink uncontrollably, killing Cross. Lang disappears into the quantum realm but manages to reverse the suit’s mechanism and return to the real world. In gratitude for Lang’s heroism, Paxton covers for Lang to keep him out of prison. Seeing that Lang survived and returned from the quantum realm, Pym wonders if his wife is alive as well. Later, Lang meets up with Luis, who tells him that Wilson is looking for him.
In a mid-credits scene, Pym shows van Dyne a new Wasp prototype suit and offers it to her. In a post-credits scene, Wilson and Steve Rogers have Bucky Barnes in their custody. Unable to contact Tony Stark due to “the accords”, Wilson mentions that he “know[s] a guy”.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is ending phase II with Ant-Man. A bit of an unusual choice to end a “chapter”, but given the importance of this character, it makes sense. I wonder, given how little people know about this guy, how audiences will react and if they will embrace him in the way they have taken to the other Avengers we have so far. If not, then I fear we will witness Marvel’s first flop.
What is this about?
Fresh out of prison and looking for a new start, master thief Scott Lang is approached by Dr. Pym, creator of a technology that can shrink a man to insect size and boost strength. Together the duo must protect the discovery while saving the world.
What did I like?
Action and effects. If there was one thing this film couldn’t afford to do, it was be boring and/or cheesy. Thankfully, it doesn’t fall into that trap. The action scenes are amazing. Watching Rudd’s Ant-Man shrink and grow while punching bad guys is like watching finely tuned dancer. The effects are really what sells his powers. Truthfully, I think the ants could have looked better, rather than descendants from the movie Them!, but they fit with the tone of the film, so no complaints.
Theme. It seems as if Marvel cannot get a memorable them for their superheroes. The lone exception is Captain America, which they swiftly took away in favor of something more generic in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I tip my hat to Christophe Beck. His percussive theme for this film not only is memorable, but it also has the heist film feel that the picture has.
Bring the funny. Marvel films have become known for the different, lighter tone compared to their DC counterparts. Some have complained and others, like me, truly appreciate and enjoy it. This is being called the funniest of the Marvel films. I won’t go that far, but I will say that the jokes were quite humorous and helped make a film that really should not have worked this well.
What didn’t I like?
Step away from the blueprint. We are a few years into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I don’t there has been a more successful series of films, but I’m starting to see a pattern. Hero is on top of the world, gets knocked down to the bottom of the food chain, fights his way up, encounters arch-nemesis (who turns out to be someone they now), giant fight, set-up for the next film. It is a formula that has worked, no doubt, but I think we are hitting the point that the formula needs a bit of spice. As it stands right now, this is very similar to Iron Man. That isn’t a bad thing, but a change is needed.
Cops and robbers. Knowing that the Scott Lang version of Ant-Man is a thief, it makes sense that the cops are involved. What doesn’t make sense is how the cop/robber angle was used. It wasn’t even a secondary plot, but rather something very throwaway. I felt as if something more should have been done with it. True, in the later half of the film, the cops remember they are cops and actually do some police work, but it is a case of too little, too late, if you ask me.
Weak villain. Yellowjacket should be a villain that instills fear into the audience. Look at him, for goodness sakes! Unfortunately, he comes off as just a carbon copy of Ant-Man with some spider-like stingers on his back. His alter ego, Darrin Cross isn’t much better. Just being a spoiled, disgruntled employee who was allegedly wronged by Michael Douglas’ Hank Pym just doesn’t seem to be enough motivation. There has to be something more to the story that would flesh him out a bit.
Ant-Man introduces audiences to a new character, Ant-Man. This film is a mix of action, comedy, drama, suspense, and it had a good bit of heart in it, as well. Will audiences fall in love with Ant-Man? That remains to be seen. I know that I personally would like to see more of Michael Douglas’ version, but that’s a personal thing. I am not a fan of being forced to watch this in 3D. MY thoughts on this overrated, overpriced way ti drain moviegoers pockets aside, I just don’t think it was necessary or used to it fullest capabilities, similar to those last couple of Spider- Man films. My biggest complaint about this film, though, is that is starts off so slow before picking up. Had they fixed that, I think this film would receive a much better rating. Still, this is very enjoyable flick and I highly enjoyed it! Don’t walk, run and go check it out!
4 out of 5 stars