Ant-Man is the latest film from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, starring Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas and Evangeline Lilly. It opened in UK cinemas last Friday (17th) and I went to see it with Mark and the boys.
I’ll put my hands up and say that until I saw the trailer for this film, I had never heard of Ant-Man. And to be honest, I didn’t have any great expectations for the film – I mean, Ant-Man? He sounds like a slightly itchy relative of Aquaman. But the boys and I have really got into watching the MCU films at the cinema as soon as they are released, and the trailer looked kind of funny.
Just a quick word here about Cineworld Telford, which is where we went to see the film. It’s a fantastic venue, with very comfortable seats and lots of leg room. When I am going to be sitting in front of the screen for 2.5 hours, that’s pretty important to me!
So without giving away too many spoilers, the film opens back in 1989 when Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) has discovered the Pym Particle, which allows the distance between atoms to be shrunk without any reduction in power or strength. He refuses to sell his research to Howard Stark, fearing that it will be used to create a horrific weapon, leaves his job and buries his research.
Fast forward to the current day, and Pym has been ousted from his own company by his daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly) and his slightly-insane protege Darren Cross (Corey Stoll). Realising that his worst fear is about to come true, he enlists ex-con Scott Lang to be trained as Ant-Man, using Pym’s suit to shrink in size and control an army of ants. Scott will need to use his new skills to defeat Cross and prevent him from using the Pym Particle as a weapon for evil.
This film had the potential to be a huge flop, given that Ant-man is definitely on the fringe of comic-book heros as far as the general public is concerned. The lead character of the film is not as well known as Batman or Superman, and he isn’t a hunky heart-throb like Captain America or Thor (sorry, Paul Rudd, but it’s true!).
But what the character does have is the technological wizardry and the sharp humour of Iron Man. In fact, some of the lines sounded like they could easily have been said by Tony Stark. Paul Rudd carries off the humour brilliantly, he has a very easy, natural delivery and brings a touch of the ‘everyman’ to a superhero character. He is also backed up well by the rest of the cast, including Michael Peña who totally steals his scenes with very funny, fast-paced monologues.
Corey Stoll plays the standard Marvel Universe villain well – yes, he’s tall, thin and sharply dressed like most villains but I do think that they could have done more with this character. Michael Douglas is pretty fab as Hank Pym, especially as the straight man for Paul Rudd to bounce off. I really hope that he is going to turn up in future MCU films.
And there is a fabulous, strong female character in the film – hurrah!! Hope van Dyne (Pym’s daughter, played by the wonderful Evangeline Lilly) is easily capable of taking on the role that Scott Lang plays. She is feisty, sharp-witted, an excellent fighter, and actually doesn’t swoon over Scott/Ant-Man like some female characters might. She is just too valuable for Pym to risk losing. I spent much of the film wondering if we’d get to see more of Hope in the future, and that looks pretty likely.
We saw the film in 2D because 3D tends to give me a headache, but if you can, I would definitely recommend seeing it in 3D. The scenes where Scott Lang shrinks to the size of an ant will look amazing in 3D. And there is a scene very near the end of the film (I can’t say more without giving away spoilers) which was stunning in 2D, a beautiful visualisation that will be even better in 3D.
Ant-man is basically a heist comedy with a hefty dose of superhero thrown in for good measure. If you have seen some of the other MCU films, there will be enough references to keep you happy. If this is your first film from the franchise, you shouldn’t be too confused by the storyline or the references to other films.