It’s not the size that counts, it’s the mirth
Just like our actual universe, the Marvel universe and subsequent film schedule continues to expand like day follows an all-nighter of reading/watching just trying to keep up with it all. Soon we will each have our own Marvel movie, or at the very least Marvel will be the dominant religion in the world, if only they only the owned the rights to Scientology eh. Give it time.
And whilst the expansion continues in sheer expansive escapades such as Guardians of the Galaxy gonzo space opera, there’s still the other metaphysical (or Marvelphysical) direction of inner/micro space to have a 3D gander at. Enter (at human size of course, or you’ll miss him) Ant-Man, packing such a punch that turns a Hulk smash into a tickle.
The moniker of Ant-Man himself has had a number of individuals donning the diminutive title and shrinking suit over the years, so there was a wide variety of directions and stories to go with, and if you’ve been following the development path of the movie itself a number of writers/directors too, primarily Edgar Wright and Ben Cornish (who rightfully still get writing credits). They left due to creative differences with Marvel, so there was always the worry that the idiosyncratic, irreverent, joyful, clever creative carnage they might be associated with would be neutered in this version. Fear not, their spirit REALLY lives on in the very capable hands of director Peyton Reed in Ant-Man (2015).
It would be a pointless excursion to go down the same roads as other Marvel movie adventures, and to their shrewd credit Marvel pro actively make genre movies (as president of Marvel Kevin Feige has said), and as such Ant-Man is a truly wonderful heist movie, even down to it’s awesome retro soundtrack.
Scott Lang (Paul Rudd being absolutely fantastic as is the norm) is ‘guided’ (ie manipulated) into the role of Ant-Man by his original creator, the aging genius that is Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas clearly having an amazing time in the role) in an attempt with the help of his daughter Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) to halt the development of a potentially dangerous technology by an embittered/damaged protégé Darren Cross (Corey Stoll in fine demented form) who effectively wants to militarise Pym’s work.
It’s not really any more complicated than that, and it’s all the better for it, and it’s SO much bloody fun! Hysterically funny (even Rudd has writing credits for his input) and is just gleeful in it’s joy and at times wanton absurdity (it’s ending won’t ever be beaten for beautiful lunacy), and has a wonderful supporting cast especially in Scott’s ex prison friend Luis (Michael Peña owning every scene he’s in) as they all bounce trying to scupper the corruption of the technology. It’s also genuinely one of the very few movies that seeing it in 3D actually enhances the experience, especially towards the end, where there are moments of sheer creative beauty floating in front of your eyes.
As a side note, the director and cast recently held a London conference to talk about the movie, and it has to be said that everyone had such an honest hilarious comic rapport with each other that I’ve only seen (to this extent) once before with the good folk of Guardians of the Galaxy. Guardians is my number one all time fav Marvel movie, and Ant-Man is my second.
Ant-Man is out 17th July.