Hats off to Marvel for taking a ridiculously silly concept (even by comic book standards) and making it work.

Ant-Man is the story of Scott Lang, a former thief who’s struggling to hold down a job with his criminal record. Desperate to pay his child support and see his little girl, he decides to break into a retired millionaire’s home to get the money. He doesn’t find any cash or jewels, but what he does find will change his life forever.

The Good

  • This movie is freaking funny (which is not surprising considering Paul Rudd plays one of the main characters)
  • Great action sequences, that are actually improved by the 3D
  • The story, while having world changing consequences, is scaled down and made more personal
  • Great performances from Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Michael Pena (he may have mostly been the idiotic sidekick, but he was hilarious), and Evangeline Lilly
  • Really nice tie-ins to the Marvel Cinematic Universe

The OK

  • Slightly weird pacing and tone in the first half of the film (the comedy and seriousness don’t always gel so well together, and there’s some story revelations that are too close together causing them to lose some of their impact)
  • Some of the characters and relationships come off as slightly underdeveloped
  • Some of the CG is not great

The Bad

  • This could go under “The OK”, but it’s starting to annoy me that Marvel is so bad at writing their villains (I’ll go into more detail on this below)

Final Thoughts

They should rename The Midas Touch to The Marvel Touch because everything that Marvel is involved in these days turns to gold.

Seriously though, if you had told me that Marvel would pull off a stand-alone film for a Z-lister like Ant-Man, I wouldn’t have believed you. A movie about a guy who shrinks and grows goes just that little bit too far, even by comic book standards, but I am here to tell you they managed to make it work.

In Ant-Man Marvel tries to create a fine balance between drama, comedy, and, of course, action. They make the story a far more serious personal affair by making it about two fathers seeking redemption for their mistakes. They also embrace the absurdity of the Ant-Man concept and use it to their advantage to deliver a steady stream of jokes. Honestly, I have never seen an audience laughing almost in unison at every single piece of humour that was thrown at them. Add in some great performances, cool action, and special effects, and you’ve got all the ingredients for a great Marvel film.

Unfortunately, the drama and comedy don’t always work perfectly together, and there’s one scene in particular that highlights the problem with pacingĀ (no spoilers, but you’ll understand what I mean when you see it). Also, some of the characters and relationships (particularly Scott’s relationship with his daughter) needed some more time to develop.

Finally, Marvel default to their generic “has-powers/personality-similar-to-good-guy-but-is-evil” template for their villain (the antagonist in Ant-Man is basically an evil Ant-Man). Other Marvel films that have done this include Iron-Man (evil Iron-Man), Iron-Man 3 (evil Tony Stark), The Incredible Hulk (evil Hulk), Captain America: Winter Soldier (evil Captain America), and The Avengers: Age of Ultron (evil Tony Stark combined with evil Iron-Man). This is not to say that their other films have great villains either. Most of their films have average or shoddy villains, with the best villain to date being Loki (I dare you to disagree with me).

Overall, Ant-Man is a really fun and funny film with some pacing issues that fits well into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, despite the idea being completely absurd. It has some other issues as well, but these are easily overshadowed by the great comedy and cool action.