Peyton Reed’s Ant-Man with the exception of James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy, is perhaps Marvel’s most risky property to be made into a feature length film. Ant-Man however is not a new character in the comics. Unlike the Guardians of the Galaxy which debuted in 2008, Ant-Man has been around since 1962. This character was not one of Marvel’s most well-known or talked about so it was a bit surprising when it was announced that an Ant-Man movie would be in development. Edgar Wright was the initial director even before the first Iron-Man film kicked off this cinematic universe.
With everything the film has been through, it’s safe to say that Ant-Man is most definitely a worthy addition to not just the cinematic universe, but also as a great comic book movie in its own right. Like Guardians of the Galaxy before it, Ant-Man is yet another reason why we should never doubt Marvel’s creativity. Every comic book character they have had their hands on has been employed well and so far nothing has slowed them down.
After now seeing both Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man, it should be safe to say that this fan base should have Marvel’s trust by now. If there are still doubters to the direction Marvel is setting up, then quite frankly I don’t know what else to say to those fans. Marvel has earned my trust 100% and I’d like to share with you my “5 BIG Reasons Why Ant-Man Succeeds as a Worthy Addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.”
#5. The Ants are Utilized Well
You can’t think of Batman without thinking of bats. You can’t think of Spider-Man without thinking of spiders. The same here goes for Ant-Man. As corny as it may sound, Ant-Man has the ability to control ants and use them to his advantage. Going into this film you may wonder how Reed may be able to pull off a feat such as this. Well rest assured because Marvel could not have utilized the ants better.
Without going into complete spoiler territory, the ants do play a huge role in this film. There are big moments when Scott Lang needs some assistance from his six-legged friends such as breaking out of prison, obtaining the Yellowjacket suit from Cross, or stealing something from a certain building that may or may not belong to the Avengers. The ants are definitely one of the highlights of this film and are put to good use by both Scott Lang and his mentor Hank Pym.
Another reason to enjoy these insects is that there are SO MANY. Like the world we live in, there are many species of ants and each type of ant is used for different purposes. Pym teaches Lang in the story how best to use these creatures and what ants he will need in certain situations. Once again this film does not fall into that corny territory and major props must go to the director of this film for pulling it off.
#4. The Microphotography
It is quite clear that if this film would have been made ten years ago when Edgar Wright was cast as the director, that the special effects may not have looked as good as it does today. That can pretty much go for any film especially superhero films nowadays. However Ant-Man is a prime example as to how far our technology has come and it shows with tremendous results. Ant-Man may not be the first film to use microphotography but man did they do a great job on the effects. The film may have been shot for just a few months but when you see all of the detail going into this of Lang constantly shrinking and growing back to normal one cannot help but think how long this process may have taken.
Sure the budget for this film was not as crazy as say the Avengers films, but every dollar spent was put to good use. There was not a moment in this film where I thought they may have cut a few corners. Every angle we see Scott small, we begin to feel like we as an audience are also shrunk down to the size of an insect. The effects work with no scene appearing unfinished. It must have taken these editors time after time hours upon hours to get everything precise exactly how they wanted it. I cannot be more thrilled after watching the finished product. Marvel again has showed us that they have the best special effects team on this planet.
#3. It is NOT an Action Movie (It’s a Heist Movie at Heart)
Coming of off the big budget action extravaganza that was Avengers: Age of Ultron, you might be disappointed with this film as far as action is concerned. Sure there is plenty of action to feast your eyes on but that is not the strength of this film. The film is far more character driven (which I will touch on in my next point) with a fantastic story to go along with it. Ant-Man is a much smaller film (no pun intended) when comparing to some of the previous Marvel films. The scope here is not as big (once again no pun intended) but that does not mean Ant-Man doesn’t succeed on all levels.
For all intents and purposes, this film goes back to the basics. The film tells the story of a man who created this suit and invented a unique formula called the “Pym Particles” when in the wrong hands could be used as a detriment to society. Thanks in part to S.H.I.E.L.D., the formula was taken from him and eventually reconstructed by Pym’s former mentee Darron Cross. Hank now must find someone who he believes can get the job done and succeed at stealing back his formula. This may sound like a basic plot and that’s because it is.
This film at its heart is a heist film and a damn good one at that. Yes, Peyton Reed is known more for doing comedy films such as Yes Man and The Break-Up but what he showed us in Ant-Man is that you can take a compelling character like Ant-Man and sprinkle some comical elements throughout. Reed was clearly the man for the job and I am very happy with the directors choice of making this a heist film.
#2. The Character’s Relationships
Yes, Ant-Man has a STRONG cast with Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, and Michael Douglas leading the way. But it’s not just the cast that makes this film great, but the chemistry involved with each of the characters. The best part of the film in my honest opinion is the relationship we see between Hank Pym and his daughter Hope. When you learn about the tragedy that happened to Pym’s wife Janet, you immediately understand the struggles that Hank Pym has been facing all his life. We are also given a bit of backstory to the “Pym Particles” and how they can take a toll on one’s life if over used.
Without going to much into detail about the entire relationship between father and daughter, we learn that Hope wishes to be the next successor to helm the Ant-Man costume. She believes that she is the rightful heir to the suit and is the right person for the job. However because of the backstory that is given to us we learn that Pym does not want to lose his daughter like he did with his wife. This is the main reason why he needs someone else who is qualified for the job.
In one of my favorite scenes of the movie, Scott goes outside to talk with Hope as to why he was chosen for this role. He convinces her to understand that her father is choosing someone who is “expendable” and cares deeply for his daughter. In one of the best lines of the film, Scott says to Hope, “He’d rather lose this battle, then lose YOU.” This shows how much Pym cares for his family or at least the only person he has left. Scott also understands Pym’s side of the story knowing that all he has left is his daughter after having a divorce. Both of these characters have something in common and can relate to each other which helps drives the story even further.
Sure Michael Pena and his pals were clearly the comic relief, but the main characters help make us feel that there’s more to being a hero than just putting on a suit. With the exception to Peter Parker, Scott Lang is going through real world struggles including finding a steady job and taking care of the people he loves. This makes the character of Ant-Man feel all the more real which was most definitely a high point of this film.
#1. How it’s Connected to this Cinematic Universe
Just to give you all heads up I will be going into SPOILER territory for my final point.
Going into this film I wasn’t quite sure how Ant-Man would fit into this current Marvel cinematic universe. After all, Avengers: Age of Ultron appeared to close out Phase II nicely with Captain America forming his new team of heroes. In comes Ant-Man and we as a fan base go in wondering how Marvel will be able to weave Hank Pym’s entire back story along with introducing us to the current man who wears the suit. Well, we learn right from the get-go that Hank has been in this universe from nearly the beginning albeit not very happy. We learn that S.H.I.E.L.D. wants to replicate Pym’s technology and wish to use it for their own studies. This pisses him off as he storms away threatening that he will keep it locked away as a secret for as long as he lives.
Jump to present day and Pym is searching for someone to take up the mantle that is the Ant-Man. One of the stand-out scenes takes place at what was once a building that was owned and run by Hank Pym. Lang was sent here to retrieve a special device that was kept at the lab. After watching from a flying ant perspective that the once Pym building is now the new headquarters for the Avengers, Lang bumps into Sam Wilson aka the Falcon. The two have a bit of a skirmish with Scott eventually escaping.
This scene was an important one for two reasons: One reason being that it shows the absence of Falcon from Avengers: Age of Ultron. Sure he had a small cameo when he was at the Avengers tower but we never really knew where he headed off to after missing out on all of the robot fighting spectacular. Well, now we know. Falcon was asked to watch over the headquarters while the Avengers do their thing. Clearly this film takes place AFTER Avengers: Age of Ultron. How do we know this? Because when Scott Lang asks Pym why we don’t simply call the Avengers to help out with the mission, Pym responds mentioning that the Avengers are to busy preventing cities from floating in the sky.
You can make an argument and say other reasons why Falcon was absent from all of the robot massacre but from what I see, he is the one responsible for guarding the new Avengers headquarters. This was also a way for his character to “make-up” for his missed screen-time in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
The second and most important reason Falcon had to be in this film was to help bring Ant-Man into this cinematic universe. Marvel wants everyone to understand that Ant-Man is part of this universe and will soon make his second appearance in next years Captain America: Civil War. How Ant-Man will be utilized in the upcoming film is debatable. However, the film does a great job explaining to us that Ant-Man is crucial moving forward and that the Avengers will need him to be a part of their team (as we learn from the final post-credits sequence).
We don’t really know what the future holds for this new character addition to this universe. At this time there are no planned Ant-Man sequels in the works so all we know is that Lang will reprise his role as the new Ant-Man in next summer’s Captain America: Civil War. I am really looking forward to see what the Russo brothers will bring to the table this time around after crafting arguably the greatest Marvel film to date: Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
If you’re still on the fence on seeing this film do yourself a favor and go see it! I cannot be more blunt with anyone. Marvel has once again showed us that they can take either an unknown character(s) or one who is not as well known such as Ant-Man and make the character memorable. If you’ve liked nearly all of the Marvel films, then you are in for a real treat. This film is unique in its own way and simply does not disappoint. Like Guardians of the Galaxy before it, Ant-Man is a pleasant surprise and one that will not soon be missed.
Did YOU agree with my list? What other reasons did you enjoy most about Marvel’s tiniest hero? Please share your thoughts and comment below!