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Directed by: Peyton Reed
Starring: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Corey Stoll and Evangeline Lilly
Phase 3 of the Marvel cinematic universe begins with the smallest hero of them all; Ant Man. As his name suggests his “superpower” is that he’s able to shrink down to the size of an ant, with some advances to his strength, skills and agility. Not the best of powers I know but he was one of the founder members of the Avengers, so he’s got some history on his side. When the film was announced it was originally going to be directed by Edgar Wright, the genius behind the masterpiece that is Shaun of the Dead. Overtime and due to “creative differences” he was replaced with Journeyman director Peyton Reed.
Admittedly, I haven’t read an Ant-Man comic so my knowledge on the character is minimal. As I said at the start, this is the beginning of the franchise’s phase 3 and this is expected to lay down the groundwork leading into Civil War and beyond.
So who is Ant Man? Well, there are two guys behind the shrinking suit. The original, and the one I’m more familiar with, is Dr Hank Pym (Douglas). In 1989 he resigns from S.H.I.E.L.D after discovering they were duplicating his shrinking technology, believing that it’s dangerous and could cause great destruction should it fall into the wrong hands. Dr Pym ends up being forced out of his own company by his protégé Darren Cross (Stoll), Dr Pym handpicks a modern day Robin Hood and skilled cat bugler Scott Lang (Rudd) to become the new Ant Man. Lang must use his new skills to prevent Darren Cross from preventing his version of Hank’s technology (which is known as Yellowjacket) and using it for evil purposes.
Ant Man isn’t a bad film but it’s a very familiar one using the paint by numbers approach. Paul Rudd excels in comedy. Watch Anchorman and you’ll see what I mean. Here he doesn’t get the chance of showcase any of that, and when he does it’s very brief. You want to see him flex his comedy muscles, not his six-pack. Also disappointed with Judy Greer’s involvement. Completely and utterly wasted if you ask me. It’s easy to see that this has been catered the 3D technology and I can imagine that it be pleasing on the eye too. If you’ve seen the trailer then you would remember that battle scene between Ant-Man and Yellowjacket on the train-set (with a special appearance by Thomas the Tank Engine), for its DVD release please have Ringo Starr providing commentary for it. I would pay mega bucks for that feature alone!
Special appearance by a certain Avenger member (and another one in the post credit scene) and the progression towards the next Marvel film is there.
Marvel plans to dish out films until 2028 (shit, I’ll be 42 by then) so the bigwigs feel there’s more than enough room for the little guy, but if this is going to be a template for what phase 3 is going to look like then that date is beginning to look extremely optimistic.
Rating: *** (Aye, it’s canny like)