(NOTE: This is not an overly drafted, academic film review)
Well at the weekend I had a choice to make. I had already decided to ignore the summer super-hype focused on Jurrasic World and instead go for one of the more geek or nerd genre targeting movies. It came down to either Terminator Genisys or the latest new Marvel flick, Ant-Man.
I had seen and read about both of these movies having very troubled productions. Ant-Man had been languishing in some kind of sluggish development for around seven years, as Shaun of the Dead Brit director Edgar Wright put out his own films, but continued tinkering and teasing with news about the script. He was suddenly booted off the film only months into the final making of it for vague reasons.
The next problematic and super-confusing movie added to the Terminator series was announced and a few months back we saw the first head-scratching WTF trailers. Just what was going on? It seemed like a remake of Terminator Judgement Day with different actors, and then some new added time-travel parts thrown in just to keep it all enigmatic.
Both these films were recieving mixed reviews in the days after their release. Was Ant-Man a great new step for Marvel, as their movies were possibly becoming to too predictable, familiar and dated?
Was this new Terminator movie a terrible low in the series, a questionable cheap cash-in, desperate move for Schwarzenegger, far too old and was it embarassing and mocking the classic first two films in the series?
Only some of these questions would be answered as I went ahead and got a ticket for Ant-Man.
So I knew that the original version of this film could possibly have been very ‘wacky’ and off-beat, many clever jokes and meta or post-modern scenes related to Marvel, comics, superheroes but that unique and fun director of Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead was gone. So what woud be left of his original ideas for the movie, his style and direction?
This was also the next film up in the continuing Marvel cinematic world. After the huge event that was Age of Ultron a couple of months ago, would this just simply be a let down? After being in production for longer than possibly many of the other Marvel films, it surely deserved to succeed.
Some of the main actors involved were annouced quite late as the film seemed to move closer to the release date. Things were looking uneasy, like Marvel decided if many fans of Edgar Wright and Marvel might be very skeptical after the long and troublesome production, a few big name random Hollywood actors would still pull us all into cinemas.
As we have seen movies including IRON MAN, THOR and recently Guardians of the Galaxy, we come to expect a certain standard and quality from Marvel studios at this point. These films all connect up, with their end credits scenes and in-film references to themselves and other Marvel characters. Would Ant-Man fit in among this increasingly packed hero world well?
In only minutes, I could see that it at least had the look down, similar to Avengers or Iron Man with some of the locations, editing and thankfully dialogue. Oh yes, the dialogue.
This was a funny movie. The main character Scottt Lang,cat burglar played by Paul Rudd as a sarcastic loser, out of jail with no real hopes but needs to get back on track for his daughter. His old friends offer him new criminal work, but he passes until he finally has to just say yes.
This guy is more sarcastic and dead-pan than Tony Stark, but with a level of tragic loss and desperation in his life, which is played in a new way for Marvel. He is tricked into helping retired scientist Hank Pym, Played by Michael Douglas and soon we get a fairly extended portion of the movie seeing Scott bungle his way trough learning to use the special shrinking Ant-Man suit, work with ants and learn to be the best for the job. Hank Pym worked with and inspired a younger scientist called Cross who develops his own shrinking suit, but aims to use it for military purposes and he is just a little psycho-nuts about doing this.
For a Marvel film, it does have a different pace, it has a few jokes and lines of dialogue which possibly should have been cut, some scenes might have been edited down more but it is probably a good film to help expand the Marvel world in other ways.
This superhero may not be a super muscle-bound might man like Captain America or Thor, he may not be the mega rich ladies man that Tony Stark can be, but that is just fine.
I might even go as far as suggesting that at times, this film is very much more exciting and adventurous than Avengers: Age of Ultron. Really, the last half hour or more of Ant-Man is one wild, crazy spectacle ride.